Spring Kite Farm: A bean-stomping, hard-working, manatee-baseball-playing great trip!

Last month, I volunteered to chaperone Hadley’s three-day class camping trip to Spring Kite Farm in Fort Collins, Colo. The conditions were idyllic, juxtaposed against their visit to the farm last spring where a torrential downpour was unleashed on them.

I wasn’t too sad about missing out on that one.

Both sets of my grandparents were farmers and weekends and summers were spent on my Grandpa Wilde’s farm. I was a city girl who had little/no interest in farming. Even today, though I love beautiful, lush gardens, my thumb is more black than green. I’ve left the gardening to Jamie and the kids.

But staying on Spring Kite Farms ignited something within me that maybe, just maybe, I could get into this. The couple who lease the land–Meagan and Michael–aren’t what you’d envision as farmers. Hip, young and good-looking, they are passionate about their biodynamic and organic styleompanion planting techniques. Spring Kite is a CSA (Community Supporting Agriculture) where members buy a share before the start of the growing season. Mike and Meagan also sell to area farmer’s markets. We found the whole thing fascinating.

I really love Waldorf schools’ experiential model of teaching so this wasn’t a leisurely field trip. For three days, they worked hard picking potatoes, tomatoes, beets, watermelon, squash and doing farm chores like feeding the pigs, turkeys and alpacas. Every kid should work on a farm for a few days to learn what real work looks like and the amount of sacrifice it takes to provide sustenance to survive.We ate like royalty every day. I should know.  I was one of two parents who cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner for all 30 of us. It was exhausting but so delicious as we were able to pop over to the gardens when we needed another ingredient. One night, I grilled potatoes with leeks, onions and olive oil and fresh herbs. Another night, we made fresh vegetable chili. And we setup chopping stations for the kids to make their own salsa.

Fortunately, we didn’t have any trips to the hospital so I’ll count that one as a win.

We learned about sustainability and the fertility cycles in the most surreal of settings.

And there was still plenty of time to combine work and play. This bean stomp turned into one big party.

What do you do when you don’t have any sporting equipment? You take Ryan’s stuffed manatee Herbert and invent Manatee Baseball!

Note: Hadley’s seal Zoe was used as the ball. No stuffed marine animals were injured in the process.

Hadley’s favorite part was playing with Tomato, the farm’s dog.

I enjoyed the fireside chats, readings, s’mores and banjo jams.
Most of the kids were really great. Best of all was Hadley and I really bonded and her friends fell in love with me calling me “mom.”When I stopped for Slurpees on the drive home, I got several adoption requests.

It doesn’t take much with these girls.

As for the boys, they were a hoot. Things you never thought you’d say to 10-yr-old boys: “Hey dudes, let’s not body slam the porta-potty when your buddy is in it, OK?”

At one point, Dell (one of my fellow chaperones) left to get some medicine. I was hanging out in our cooking area with one of the boys, J.D., when he smelled something burning and added, “it smells like my grandparent’s house.” I’m sure they’d be thrilled to hear that.

We discovered that Dell had left a dutch oven of blueberry muffin mix cooking on the camp stove. I immediately removed it and was able to salvage it except for the very bottom, which was burned. When the kids came back for a mid-day snack, they were delighted to eat it but these boys took it one step further: they devoured the charred remains.

I think Wyatt’s face says it all.

My fave moment was when Hadley was packing up and discovered her brother (who had used the sleeping bag a couple of months ago) had left his dirty underwear and PJs at the bottom.

Not surprisingly, it was her least favorite moment.

We were excited to return home and shower but I’m not sure our boys were very happy to see us as evidenced by the phone conversation I had with Jamie on day two.

Husband: Bode was early to school today.

Me: Why?

Him: We went and got doughnuts.

Me: Doughnuts today, Chuck E. Cheese last night. He’s not going to want me to come home.

Him: It has its advantages.

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