Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thursday in Iowa

7:30. Breakfast in the main building: scrambled eggs, granola, oatmeal, fruit from local orchards, potatoes with fiery hot sauce, orange juice and milk.

8:30. Half the SK kids went to US History class to discuss the Amana Colonies; the other half went to World History to look at the influence of the British Empire on the spread of the English language.

9:30. Six of the kids went into the pottery studio for a hands-on tutorial with Shunpei Yamaki, an exhibiting ceramic artist. The rest went on a guided prairie walk to explore the sweeping land east of the farm.

10:45. The kids were divided amongst four math-science classes: Chemistry in the lab; Geometry in the art building, designing pallet houses; Physics in the art building, where SK kids designed a series of linked pulleys to open a curtain; Ag Research, which took place over on the farm.

12:15. Lunch in the main building: spaghetti with marinara sauce, with vegetarian, beef, or pork-and-beef options, a massive salad bar, garlic bread, roast parsnips, much of the food, again, from the farm.

12:45. Work crews, SK students scattered about Scattergood assisting with half a dozen different groups--in the kitchen, on the farm, in the central square, and elsewhere.

1:45. Collection in the 1890 Hickory Meeting House. Most days, collection, a shared silent meditation that we have adapted at Summers-Knoll, lasts about ten minutes. On Thursday, it is a forty-five minute gathering.

2:30. The late-afternoon classes, which on Thursdays are in the humanities: Prairie Lights, Lost in Translation, Myths Retold, and Logic. We sent Matthew and Lee to Logic and four students to each of the others.

4:30. Everyone either played soccer or pitched in on the farm. The footballers held their own while the farmhands moved the sheep-pen fence, picked watermelons, and washed potatoes in a fabulous Rube Goldberg student-built barrel-washer. There was also some cuddling of piglets.

6:15. Dinner in the main building: this time Irving and the sous-chefs fixed up a bigger feast--brisket from the farm, potatoes and parsnip from the farm, three kinds of fresh-baked bread, that prairie-sized salad bar again, apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah.

7:00. While the Scattergood students hunkered down to study, we got on our bus and headed to the Pink Pony ice cream parlor in West Branch. Brenda remembered us, and pointed out the thank-you note we wrote in 2012, posted with other cards on the bathroom wall.

8:00. Another round of Hay Bale Tag over on the farm north of the academic campus--this one in darkness. We also held collection for awhile so we could look at the uncountable stars.

8:30. Returning, we once again colonized the art building, where we had gathered Wednesday evening. Joanna is reading from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as I write this, while the kids are sketching out four maps of the day's trajectories, activities, and discoveries.

10:00. Back to our respective domiciles--the boys with Karl to the Berquist Guest House, Joanna and the girls to the Webers' spacious home between campus and farm--to chat about the day for a few minutes before collapsing into bed.

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