Welcome to Wood Nymph Way! I have created this blog with two intentions: (A) keeping our family and friends, many of whom live in lands Far Far Away, up to date with what we've been doing, and (B) as a tool to document and learn from our journey as a Waldorf homeschooling family. Enjoy! And don't forget to check out my resource pages on the right!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Bushel and a Peck

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
        ~from After Apple Picking by Robert Frost

F finds his perfect apple
What a way to spend the last weekend of summer!  A textbook New England late summer day, warm sun, cool air, and the smell of ripe apples all around.  After eating our Baked French Toast (the very same one mentioned in my previous post), we took a trip up to our new favorite orchard, Quonquont Farm in Whately MA.  Just a little plug for them here:  it is the most beautiful little orchard I have ever been to.  After driving by the amazingly restored farm house, you're right in the middle of a well organized orchard of apples, pears, peaches and berries.  The apples looked fake they were so gorgeous!  Seriously.  Perfectly round and red on all sides.  Like someone went around airbrushing them for a magazine photo shoot.  S called them "Snow White apples" because they appeared to be something right out of a fairy tale.

After trekking up and down the rows and amassing large quantities of perfect apples of at least five varieties, we decided not to get too carried away and we called it quits for the day.  We left with a bushel and a peck (heehee, just like that song) of apples to be eaten as is and transformed into a number of tasty desserts. 

seven quarts of apple sauce
and many more to come!
Picking apples, while very enjoyable, can be a bit much for some kids.  There's a lot of walking, heavy bags to carry, and you can't always reach the apple you want.  But S and F were troopers.  They lugged those bags the whole time without one complaint.  In fact, they wouldn't relenquish them to us until we paid for them and brought them to the car.  There was some hard work in picking so many apples, but they were rewarded, as they usually are, by all their efforts.

Sometimes, when my husband asks the kids about what they did during the day, they tell him about the housework they did, or the yard work, or what we cooked together.  He laughingly commented the other day, "You're not homeschooling them, you're running a sweat shop!"

I think that so many people underestimate the value of work as a child's play.  Children learn through imitation, especially for the first seven years.  How wonderful for them to learn that there can be joy in the simple and necessary tasks of every day life!  Children want to do what we're doing.  They want their little and important lives to be filled with purpose just like ours are.  So many people at dinner time usher their kids out of the kitchen and plop them in front of the TV so they can "get [whatever] done."  While I acknowledge that toward the end of the day, patience is running thinner and the task of meal preperation can be a bit of a chore, I try to see this time as an opportunity for togetherness and learning.

Now I am admittedly what many people would consider a "Type A" personality.  You know the ones.  Neat freaks, lists of things to do, organized closets, and dust-free bookshelves.  It has taken my having children to loosen me up a bit.  Don't get me wrong, I still have to do lists (that actually get done), organized closets, and dust-free bookshelves, as well as a small business I'm trying to keep afloat, but I can slow myself down when I need to so I can include my kids in whatever I'm doing.  Taking the time to find the fun in work has given me a whole new perspective on how I spend my days.  I'm reminded of the opening to that Mary Poppins song, A Spoonful of Sugar

In ev'ry job that must be done
There is an element of fun
you find the fun and snap!
The job's a game

planting bulbs
This time of year is so full of opportunities for meaningful and fun work.  Planting bulbs, baking, canning, preparations for upcoming holidays.  All of these can be so joyful for children to participate in.  So go now and do something useful with your kids.  Unless you're reading this while they're in bed.  In that case, let them sleep or you'll be sorry in the morning.  :) 

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