The First "Official" Field Trip of the Year

The children enjoyed a special treat - sleeping in ... even Mom enjoyed extra sleep on this unique morning! School had been canceled for the day and a field trip was waiting to be enjoyed. It was the first official field trip of the new school year!

Everyone had jobs to do to prepare for the exciting day. Breakfast needed to be made, dishes then washed and a little brother to make sure was dressed in warm clothes. Abbey jumped to the task of assembling sandwiches for the picnic lunch in the hallow. Zak picked up his cars; and James cleaned out the van. The day was before us like an adventure just waiting to be enjoyed!

The old picnic basket was loaded with plates, glasses, sandwiches and cookies. A table cloth was brought for the tables in the hallow. Extra care was made ensure they did not forget the pillow cases for the pumpkin hunt! There was no fruit to be packed: as they were all eager to eat as much fruit as they wanted from the heavy bending branches ready to be picked from their ripe and ready bounty.With map in hand, bathroom break officially taken -( a prerequisite before entering the van) - buckles were secured and the engine started. Everyone was ready for the drive through the country. It was the first official field trip of the year - a trip to the orchard!

Oh, the beauty that surrounded them as they rode through the country. There were gardens that had been harvested from their summer crops - leaving only a few last crops in them finishing up the fall bounty. There were cows - and then more cows grazing upon the pastures - -green lush fall growth. They also noticed brown earth had been up heaved - after crops had been cleared. The thick brown dirt was being readied for the cold winter soon to be approaching. It seemed to reminded them of their hearts - needing so to be stirred over and over again - so truth would be able to sink in deep within - just like the earth needed the rain and moisture to settle deep beneath it's surface and supply the seeds with nutrients in the spring.
At last the orchard came into view! There was much talk of who was there, what they would see and where the long awaited "hallow" was. There was much anticipation of the hallow for none of the children had ever actually seen a hallow; and today they would not only see a hallow but would be eating their very own lunch right within it's clearing

The children meet their tour guide for the day. She looked like a retired teacher, and had a kind and friendly face about her. She hiked with them to the hallow. The hallow's official name was "Hawthorn Hallow". The kids thought that the name sounded spooky and the thrill of the adventure grew within them as they followed to the long anticipated picnic spot.

The hollow was surrounded by leaves, trees and hawthorn bushes. The guide told about the prickly hawthorn vines and showed how they could entangle and snag at little children's clothing as they passed by. Mom's hair even got tangled within the thieving branches - and she had to put it back up in it's place as the guide explained the schedule for the afternoon.

It was a small clearing; but perfect place for a picnic lunch. Peanut butter sandwiches, chips, and cookies filled the plates. The cool air seemed to be warming and the surrounding trees - kept the children sheltered from the breeze making the picnic most enjoyable.

After lunch the hike began through the orchard. Trees upon trees lined the acres of fields that they hiked through. Some trees were so full of fruit that their branches bent with the weight of the the luscious apples. Other trees were bare and empty and their branches stood up straight. Their work for the summer was done - their fruit harvested - and their winter rest ready to begin. The guide- who held Zak's hand through most of the tour - explained the need for crab apple trees ever so often placed amongst the apple trees. Cross pollination and the need for different pollen to produce good fruit was an interesting topic for the children to consider as they walked through the rows of apple trees.

An old man was filling an old pickup with buckets of fresh picked apples. His canine companion had made the trip with him and ran to greet the children as they walked through the orchard. Oh how happy he was to see the children! He jumped and ran around them - exerting more energy than he probably had in years. He looked to be an old dog - and not too obedient; for the old man with the long white beard had to call him several times before he obeyed and got into the loaded down truck.

The children learned how to pick an apple. They were also instructed why they needed to be careful around the precious trees. Apples were lying under the trees. The guide told the children that many of those apples were on the ground because people had not used care when picking apples there or walking by. She then explained the correct way to pick and apple. "Lift and twist... lift and twist...." The children got to practice several times in the air before they went to the trees to pick their very own apple! "Lift and twist... she continued to say - not really talking to anyone in particular; but more to remind them of their new found knowledge as they picked.

Baby trees that were 2 years old were visited in the nursery. They were young and little just like babies learning to walk. They needed extra care and help of a big metal stick planted beside them - to keep the standing upright. The children saw soap hanging around the small little tree. They found out that soap was there to keep the deer away from the delicate tree. Deer love apple trees! Clothes pins also kept the branches separated to allow the rain and sunshine to get to the branches. The children laughed that there was soap and clothes pins there on the little tree. It was like doing the laundry outside - but all on the tree instead!

The hike continued to the big barn where the sorting and refrigeration process were explained. The children learned how apples breath through the pores of their skin and need humidity to stay healthy. The guide asked what humidity was - and Zak - who surprised everyone said, "liquid air..." Even the guide was surprised!

At the end of the tour - the children were allowed to sample and taste different apples. Oh how sweet and crunchy the apples were! The juice from the apple ran down the chins; and smiles surrounded the chewing lips of all the children. Fresh apples were delicious!

The last of the tour was a trip to the pumpkin patch. Pumpkins were able to be chosen, weighed and purchased. It took awhile for the children to pick just the right pumpkin. A walk through the entire patch was done before any pumpkin was chosen. Finally the choices were made and lovingly pumpkins were chosen and adopted. Abbey chose hers first - and was glad to give Mom a great big smile along side her pumpkin. James found he had a big problem; because he had a big pumpkin. Too big for him to carry! Help was given and the pumpkin cared overhead of a bigger boy- with James trailing behind, smiling and laughing. He was so pleased with his choice of the day! Zak sat and watched the pumpkin picking. He was unable to get a pumpkin - for the money brought along to spend on his pumpkin went to pay for a jar of jam that he disobediently touched and broke in the process. Zak learned a lot about obedience; and was able to enjoy watching Abbey and James with their great finds.

There was much excitement over the weight of the pumpkins - especially James' BIG one! Everyone was surprised to find out that it was only a $5.00 pumpkin. Mom was also relieved to find out the price of the pumpkin - because it really was a big pumpkin. Abbey's pumpkin fell right at the $3.00 mark. It was fun operating and old farm scale out in the country.

When pumpkins were weighed - Mom went in and purchased a half a bushel of apples, the big pumpkins and a special treat for all - Carmel apples! Oh how delicious the apples were with Carmel and sprinkles covering them. Everyone got to enjoy a dessert picnic on the grass outside the barn - because Mom did not want the sticky apples brought into the van!

How special the trip to the orchard. How yummy the apple sauce will be when Mom and the girls fix it later this weekend. What beautiful memories - - on the first official field trip of the year. A trip to the Orchard!


Anonymous said...

Dear Mom,

I really did enjoy the trip to the Orchard. It was great fun

I love you,


Anonymous said...

Dear Jane,

Oh, how I wish I had been able to go! I saw Ellen in one of your shots. Was Cheryl there, too? Diana? Virginia? It sounds like such a wonderful field trip! I am soooo glad that you got to go!


Becky K. said...

Great Post! You took a lot of time to share all of that. The pics are great and I really enjoyed the trip along with you.

I must relax and get some field trips in. I am struggling with that because my middle son works in the afternoons so I feel the pressure to get the bookwork in every morning and ...oh...this sounds so silly, given that we have homeschooled for 9 years. Just that every year is new and different.

Becky K.