Our “Champion of England” peas will grow too tall to support themselves (we hope), so providing a trellis will keep them off of the ground where they would be more susceptible to pests and disease. A trellis will also save square footage in a garden and add some vertical aesthetic interest. Even if students can’t reach the top of the trellis they can help string it by winding the twine around the bottom pole and then passing it to someone taller. Once again getting students to think about why we do things can make even the simplest task an important part of their education.
Since it is now officially winter it seems reasonable to show a few pictures of our winter garden.
Winter is a great time to be in the garden at OJA. Gone is the glare of summer. The sun is hanging low in the southern sky and casts a gentler light on our plants. This blurs the line between edibles and ornamentals. Everything is more beautiful. A hay bale turns into a park bench. Thinking seems more like day dreaming and working in this softer sunshine seems more like play. Toil without sweat is a welcome change for students who tend to wilt a bit in the heat of August and September. If you’ve ever slogged through a tropical summer you know what golden days these are. It’s no “winter wonderland” but we’ll make do.
Yup, they’re up!
This year we’ve had a surplus of celery seedlings. It’s a little crazy how many seeds come in a packet. This surplus makes for a great fundraising opportunity and no, it’s not one of those awkward, uncomfortable, “can you do us a favor?” kind of fundraisers. Here we have a great product for a great price. Our students recognize this and take pride in participating. It’s fun to watch a first grader try their hand at sales and feel the excitement of “closing the deal”. They get it. Sometimes the “click” is almost audible.
Consider the mustard seed. Though mentioned only a handful of times in the Bible, this seed has become for many the definitive symbol for the mystery of faith. When studying the references Jesus made to this tiny wonder, students in our sixth grade reading class discussed two conditional statements: “because of” and “even though”. “Because of” leads to logical conclusions, things that are expected in life. We live in a world where we associate input directly with output so we make “because of” statements like: “You get what you pay for”, “no pain, no gain” and “what comes around, goes around”. We live by these truisms and for the most part they’re pretty easy to swallow. It’s when “even though” shows up that we struggle and choke a little. “Even though” represents the things in life we don’t expect, the ironies (painful and pleasant) that make us look to heaven for some explanation. Mustard is ironic. Who is anticipating that these sprinkle-sized seeds will sprout into monsters that will quickly overtake the other winter crops. (The cabbages have a two month head start but don’t stand a chance.) Mustard is definitely an “even though” crop. By referring to a mustard seed when discussing faith it could be that Jesus was pointing to faith’s irony. It’s value, by weight, is worth a lot more than the disciples expected and it can accomplish much more than we anticipate. When mountains are moved “because of” our muscular efforts, the sweat of our brow will be measured in oceans, but when mountains are moved “even though” we have nothing but trowels our faith will be measured in mustard seeds.