Monday, September 17, 2007

Apple Orchard Field Trip

As an extension of our CoOp last Wednesday, Mrs. Melissa organized a field trip out to Henrietta Creek Orchard, a local apple orchard.

Reese & I arrived a little late. Reese went with me for an 8:15 blood donation appointment (for me, not him!), and I thought that would leave plenty of time for our 9:30 field tip. Well, apparently my veins are small (who knew?) and it took a little longer to get me all set up. Something about poking through my vein the first time...oh was fun. did get finished and we headed quickly out to the Orchard. We missed the first 15 minutes of discussion in the pavilion. But that was probably a good thing, because Reese isn't one to sit and listen for very long.

When we arrived, we met Johnny Appleseed & got to hear his story about planting apple seeds.
Next, Mrs. Sue took over. She's one of the owners of the orchard & a really neat lady. She took time to explain all sorts of appley things. Here, she's demonstrating how they use this old press to make apple cider.

We learned all about bees on the farm & why they're necessary. Mrs. Sue put on her bee keeper outfit & we all pretended to smoke out the bees. When we went inside the Apple House, Mrs. Sue even showed us a real bee hive. It had plexiglass walls on three sides, so we could see all the inner workings of the hive itself. We all practiced our waggle dance & learned about how bees communicate without words. Reese thought it was neat that the bees dance to tell each other things like where food is located.

Also inside the Apple House, Mrs. Sue had a big apple washing machine. When Reese watched this he said "I wish I were an apple so I could ride that!"

After the Apple House, we headed outside to see the various gardens. Wow! What a special treat. Our first stop was the cotton patch & a demonstration on a spinning wheel. When we walked over to the lady spinning, her first question was "What is this?" and Reese piped up right away "It's a spinning wheel!" He's sometimes so shy, so it always surprises me when he wants to talk in a big group. But I think part of that has to do with wanting to be first & the "winner". He's definitely got Jeff's competitive streak in him!
We got to watch the lady spin cotton into thread. Did you know it took almost 90 hours for the pioneers to make one shirt? That's sure a lot of work! Tonight at dinner, when Reese and I were looking back over these pictures on my camera, we talked about his shirt he had on and how it started out as a little puff of cotton on a plant. He went through the whole process with me as if he were telling the Story Of His Shirt. I'm glad he learned so much about how clothes are made!
I liked that there was actually cotton growing for the kids to see. We learned that a child's job would have been to pull the cotton puffs out of the pod & pick all the little, tiny seeds out. And that you always saved the seeds for Father to plant again!
So then we ventured through an awesome butterfly garden with hundreds upon hundreds of butterfly-friendly blooms. There were so many pretty butterflies everywhere! It really inspired me to do something like that on the Farm someday.

We also learned about a cucumber beetle, which looks almost exactly like an orange ladybug, but is very harmful in the garden. Mrs. Sue had some loofah plants growing (a vine plant that looks a lot like a cucumber, but it's inedible) and the cucumber beetles were eating holes in all the flowers and leaves.

At the end of the butterfly garden was the Worm Tunnel! Everyone got to "dig" through pretending they were worms. At the end of the tunnel, Mrs. Sue had a big bin full of dirt & kitchen/garden scraps. What would we find inside?

Worms doing their work! She explained how they helped loosen up the soil & help plant roots. We also saw how they turned kitchen scraps like lettuce leaves and potato peels into fertile soil. Reese was always front and center!

After the Worm Tunnel, we got to check out the garden with all sorts of goodies growing like pumpkins, tomatoes, squash, oregano. Yummy! We also saw an okra plant, & Mommy learned something new! I though okra grew on a vine, and hung down. Wrong! The okra comes from the base of the leaves/stem part and grows up, like a shoot off the plant. The only way I like to eat okra is pickled or looked so easy to grow I think we'll need some of that at the Farm too so I can pickle some!

So after the gardens, we headed to the chicken coop. Oh, I was in heaven. Reese and I can't wait for the day we get our laying hens. Reese got his finger pecked by a hen, which he didn't like much. But the baby chicks were really cute!

After the chicken coop, we finally headed to the orchard for apple picking! Reese was really looking forward to this most of all. Reese found a tasty apple for himself & dug right in. Just as the last time we visited this orchard, an apple right off the tree and warm from the sun tastes like no other apple on Earth!

One of the nice orchard ladies gave Reese an extra apple as we were leaving. So we stopped next to the scarecrow to eat some more before we headed back to the car!

Reese has been on this kick where he wants to take Mommy on "a date", which always means a trip to Rainforest Cafe. We had a nice date tonight, & even snuck in some learning :) Reese loves the Macaroni & Cheese there (big, fat elbow noodles with thick cheesy sauce!), so he figured out the beginning sound /m/ and then he found the word that began with the letter M. Next, he wanted to circle "salad" for Mommy. It wasn't on his menu, and since we were only working with first letter sounds in a word, Mommy played along. Reese figured out that salad started with /s/ sound, and circled the menu item on his menu that started with the letter S. It was "shrimpkens", but since we were only working on first letters, it didn't matter what the rest said :)


The Chance Family said...

And I thought you guys were just going to pick apples! This looks so awesome!! I'm so sad that we missed it. Reese seemed to have a great time. Glad you all had fun!

aisling said...

We are doing this field trip in a couple weeks with the group we belong to, I can't wait especially after seeing photos. Found you through the homeschool carnival, i'll be reading :)