Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summer Land School Community Days

First Community Day of the Summer:
This Saturday, June 1st. Arrive between 9 and 10 am. Bring a potluck and dress for the weather. We'll have lunch after a couple hours of projects, and then there will be time to explore the land and look for morels.

Now is a good time to plan your summer connections to the Land School.

Do you or your children simply love coming to LCS rural campus?

Do you find yourself with an entire summer ahead of you and need ideas about what to do with the family?

Have you ever wondered what you have to do in order to get a special family day at the Land School?

Does giving back to the land appeal to you?

When can I go out to the Land School!?!

Do you miss Llarry the llama sometimes and just want to go see him?

Here is how it works:

We have set aside several Saturdays and Thursdays throughout the summer and fall as "Land School Community Days." You can come out on those days and be part of a group of people working on and enjoying the land. Or you can check to see if we are available to host on another day that fits your schedule.

In the past we have asked community garden members to come out at least twice during the summer and fall to help with the garden work. The visits are scheduled on either Saturdays or Thursdays. The Thursday visits are harvest days and the Saturday visits are general work days. 

This year we are still asking the garden members to choose work days, but we are also encouraging everyone in the larger Lake Country School community to come out for these days (this means you) and we are calling them Community Days. On any given day, we will have some work projects in the garden and some work on other Land School projects. That will be in the morning, followed by a potluck lunch. Then there will be time for socializing and exploring the Land School. 

Many families choose to either come early or stay late for the work days. In fact, we often have people come the night before and camp or stay in the Homestead (confirming availability with us beforehand). Alternately, folks come on a Saturday and stay til Sunday. For some families, the Land School is a perfect "first camping" experience. There is running water,  an established fire circle, a cooking area, and the children are already familiar with the place and the people. There are places nearby to go swimming, and other local activities too.

The fun part is when many families come out on the same day and make it into a summer land party. This year we have actually scheduled fewer Saturday work days, in hopes of concentrating our energy and getting people together. This is a great way for new families to get integrated into the LCS community. It is also a fun way to share the rural campus with your extended family and family friends. Everyone is welcome, and if a person has physical limitations and can't work in the garden, there is no push. The work is there as an opportunity. 

You can just show up on one of our Community Days, but it is helpful for us to know when you are coming so we can plan projects. Also, if you plan to come early or stay late, for sure communicate with the Land School staff to coordinate arrival, departure, and protocols. 

Below is a list of our scheduled Community Days for summer and fall 2013. If you would like to come another time, it might be possible. There is a lot of work to do out here and we enjoy the company. If we are around, we can usually support your visit. Please contact us ahead of time to see if a given day works.

Please note: the Garlic Festival and Harvest Festival do count as Community Days and we do need your help. In both cases, there is also fun work to do in order to make the events happen. 

1 Season Kick-off & Planting Day
22 Garden Workday

6 Garden Workday
20 Garlic Festival
25 Harvest & Market

1 Harvest & Market
3 Garden Workday
8 Harvest & Market
15 Harvest & Market
17 Garden Workday
22 Harvest & Market
29 Harvest & Market

5 Harvest & Market
12 Harvest & Market
19 Harvest & Market
26 Harvest & Market

3 Harvest & Market
5 Harvest Festival
10 Harvest & Market
17 Harvest & Market
19 Halloween Event
24 Harvest & Market 
31 Harvest & Market

7 Last Harvest & Market

A Very Full Day

by Andy

Today was our second day with Armatage Montessori's 5th Grade Classes. They leave tomorrow morning.

It is a big responsibility to be the "camp" that these young people get to go to. I remember in 6th grade my own class went to an environmental learning center. I looked forward to it for a long time, and while it was happening, events had a sort of magic to them. I was in awe of the counselors. Then afterwards there was a green place in my heart for that experience. I can still remember the thrill of the chase during our capture the flag game and the excitement of learning things about nature. I remember the anticipation of the bus ride and the musty smell of the bunkhouse. As a whole it might be one of the defining trips of my youth.

So we plan and execute these visits with reverence and respect for the possibility of such a key experience. Because I am here every day, most things don't seem especially magical. I have to look for the new and unique things in the environment for me to get that sense of awe. This week it was a meal of foraged fiddlehead ferns and morel mushrooms. I have also been in daily wonder at the amazing display of blossoms on our apple trees. When the wind blows, it seems like big puffy flakes of snow are falling. Only for really one day in the year can I experience the petal-snow, and not every year. For these students though, it must be sensory overload. Everything is new and exciting. Sheep shearing! Feeding llamas! Orienteering! Pond Study! Checking for Chicken Eggs! I Saw a Snake! Campfire! S'mores! Planting! Fire-starting! Scary Stories! Ticks! Worms! A Robin Sitting on a Nest! A Killdeer Sitting on a Nest! Basketball in the Barn! The Treehouse! Eating wild plants! Pippa! Sleeping in a tent! Spiders! Rain! Clean-up Crew! I don't know how they do it. It is one novel experience after another.

This week I led a planting activity with the Armatage students. I have been working on a story to go with planting the three sisters garden. I haven't got it quite right, but it is designed to instill a sense of connection between us and the first people to domesticate corn, beans and squash. It is thrilling to realize that plants produce living seeds, and those living seeds produce living plants, which produce living seeds, and it goes on and on in an unbroken chain of life that reaches from the bean seeds in my hands all the way back to the first people who collected wild bean seeds and deliberately planted them. I also like to to have the students imagine a time before those people started agriculture. According to current estimates, humans existed in our current species for over 200,000 years before we developed agriculture about 13,000 years ago. As we hold these bean seeds in our hands, I ask them to consider the implications of agriculture. The growth of towns and cities. The end of egalitarian hunter-gatherer groups. The beginning of what we know as culture. Then we go and plant something and get our hands dirty. We are truly connected through time and space with those first agriculturalists, as well as the hunter gatherers who came before them. It is good to remember this in a physical way.

My one regret with Armatage is that these students only come for one visit. Next year it will be a whole new group. I do hope that we have carved a green place in the hearts of many of these children.