Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Spending Another Morning With Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Before I start this post, I need to digress about the weather. Here in the greater DC-Baltimore area we've been inundated with a July blast of intense heat & humidity. Temperatures all week were mid-upper 90° with the heat index much higher. Steamy, sweaty, grimy & gross are the only words for it--especially for the 4th of July. All difficult for this teacher who has been trying to maximize her summer by getting outdoors as much as possible, especially when I write. Thank heavens for the back yard poolWell, this morning, I walked outside to a delightful, lovely, low humidity, breezy, sunny, glorious day. Pure & utter bliss!!   (written 7/7/18)

OK.... Now that I've got that out of my system... back to your regularly scheduled post!

Any teacher knows that summers are made not only for restoration & relaxation, but also catching catch up or getting ahead of things the normal school year schedule doesn't always allow for. Reading a slew of books. Binge-watching shows. Attending doctor appointments. Planning the new curricular unit for fall.

In our house, it also includes getting a jump on the service hours necessary for the year ahead for my high schooler.

At the end of June, we got in a few of those hours, shaking shells with Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF). Well we were back at it last Friday, this time in a seemingly unlikely CBF location, with no Bay in sight. We headed to Clagett Farm to get a few more hours under our belt, doing some more volunteering with CBF. This time, the kids took their cousin with them.

As the four of us traveled to various parts of the farm, we learned that the 285 acre farm was acquired by CBF in 1982. There, they raise organic crops sustainably, along with grass-fed cattle for both CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and the Capital Area Food Bank to help lower income families nutrient rich foods at a lower cost. Lots of program details are available on the Clagett Farm webpage.

Our tasks for the day: harvest cucumbers and squash as well as straw-mulch tomato plants.  We discovered early on, there were no Future Farmers of America in our group!

Additionally, we discovered...

  • Muscles we didn't even know we had. Different ones, of course, than those that were achy last week. 
  • 3 hours of farming leaves you pretty darn dirty, especially on a hot, sticky day.
  • That water and hydration are a beautiful, wonderful thing!
  • That cucumber plants (and the surrounding plants around them) could be a little prickly. Pants would have been a good idea for this kid, whose legs were a tad torn up and itchy all over the place. But they cleaned up well and serve as a good badge of doing something outside myself--and outdoors!
  • That hay can also be a tad itchy, and you come home with it everywhere!
  • That hard work and a bit of dirt and sweat can feel really productive. (Okay, that might have been more me than the kids, but I still stand by it.) The showers and the pool felt really good as a follow up.
  • Perspective is a really good thing. These experiences both with shell shaking and being in the fields not only have given us a broader picture to what is around us, but it also what it feels like to literally walk in someone else's shoes. Not only might that make our own environment look a little bit more inviting, but it also opens our eyes to a rich diversity that surrounds us out in the world!

Thank you Carrie, CBF Vegetable Production Manager, for spending the morning with us showing us the ropes and enduring our city-slickerness! For locals, check out the CBF volunteering page if you are inspired to go out, get a little dirty, and do something for others! You can also check out Clagett Farm's blog for updates on their CSA and more.

All pictures from my camera from our day at Clagett Farm.

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