When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Monday, September 24, 2012

School field trip (and a dancing tractor video)

When you grow up in a more northern Ontario place like Sault Ste. Marie, school field trips of the outdoor variety involve going out into the woods and learning skills that will either help you to get around in six feet of snow, or to manage should you ever find yourself lost among the gazillion-and-three trees that surround your city.  As a middle-school aged child, I remember learning to snowshoe, to use a compass properly, and to identify the footprints and know the eating habits of various wild animals (so we would understand which ones to stay clear of if we didn't want to be eaten ourselves).  One year, we even completed an entire winter survival unit, in which we were taught how to build a quinzhee (basically a glorified snow fort), and then we actually went out into the forest as a class, built said quinzhees, and slept in them overnight.  (I am not making this up.)

Photo credit:  M. M. Felts
I have never heard of students in Noah and Will's school going on these kinds of field trips, probably because the outdoor educational opportunities in a more southern city surrounded by farms are quite different than those in a northern city surrounded by lakes and woods. (Or maybe because these days, it is frowned upon to send children out into the forest to sleep in a hollowed-out snow pile with the wolves.  I don't know.)  This past week, though, I had the opportunity to join Will and his class on a different (and equally exciting) field trip to the International Plowing Match in Roseville.
We never actually saw any of the plowing matches (they were off in another area from where we were), but we did spend several hours walking around the enormous collection of tents and displays about rural life, and everyone had a great time.   We were entertained by a dog show filled with exciting tricks, got up close to real live horses, cows, sheep, and cute little piglets, checked out rows and rows of antique farm equipment, and watched bees busy making honey.  There was mud (oh, the mud -- it had poured rain the day before and the entire site was like a real live pig wallow), and Will, who is not too fond of squishy things, kept making gagging noises as he tried to tiptoe through the muck with his most disgusted face on, and decided that most likely he will not be a farmer.  
He did reconsider once he got to sit on some tractors, though.
One of the highlights of the trip was the dancing tractor demonstration, and I thought I'd share a little video of it here to add a bit of lightheartedness to your Monday.  I dare you not to smile as you watch it.
It's interesting to me that my happy childhood memories of forest adventure field trips (yes, even the one involving quinzhee building!) are so different from the wonderful memories the boys are making as they visit pumpkin farms and apple cider mills and watch barn raising demonstrations.  I'm glad I have the opportunity to share some of these new experiences with Will and Noah; in some ways, it's like getting to be a kid all over again.


  1. OMG, that tractor dance was AWESOME! That will stay in my brain for the rest of my life... so awesome! My toes are still tapping!

    Wonder how you become part of the tractor dance squad.....

    julie nowell

  2. It really was fun! Watching them was a great way to spend part of a sunny fall day with a group of children.

    I'm glad you stopped by, Julie -- nice to meet you! :)