September 26, 2023


Farming is a complex and challenging profession.  When you visit a small farm, such as Avalon’s Birdsfoot, you see the results of yearlong planning and hours of physical labor.  For each flower that blooms, someone planted it.  For each vegetable harvested, someone’s hands groomed the soil, watered and cared for the plant.  At the helm of Birdsfoot are two amazing women, Annalee, farm manager and her assistant, Lauren.  So, when you step back and look at all that has been cultivated your mind has to wonder how do they do it all?  

I thought it would be helpful for my 7th graders to visit the farm and lend a helping hand.  A date was set for the kids at the farm and Annalee set up a few chores for us to do.  Nothing complicated, pulling some spent sunflowers and planting cover crop. 

“This will be so good for the kids”, I thought.  

Once all eight kids were there, Annalee explained our plan of attack.  The kids were excited to get started.  All was good!!  They put their gloves on and started pulling. I could hear lively conversation in the background and felt their growing pride as they pulled the stems and roots from the earth.  Yes, it was happening! Until it wasn’t.  Suddenly, I saw a frenzy of activity. Kids screaming and running.  Our friendly bees were disturbed and decided to remind the kids who was boss.  

Getting stung is startling and painful.  It is a pain that doesn’t subside quickly.  Annalee and I gathered everyone in a safe place and tried to restore calm.  Three kids were stung, along with me.  I immediately went into first aid mode.  Then breathe……

I looked at Annalee and we both knew it was time to change direction so she turned to the small shed where the new baby chicks were keeping warm.  Lovely.  It was good again.  Some animal therapy.

Once our time was finished there, Annalee, Noa (a student) and I returned to the scene of the crime and pulled the rest of the sunflowers.  So, half the job was completed.  Perhaps we will return to complete our job another day.

It’s funny how sometimes things take a twisted turn, we adapt and then move forward.  Real life lessons for the kids at the farm.  

Here’s a recent article about Birdsfoot Farm. Come visit the farmstand.