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A Moment in Time of the Artful Science of Gardening Philosophy
by Leah Sellers
2017-06-22 10:09:51
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“Cheyenne, I thought that was your truck.  We’re getting ready to eat dinner up at the house.  Would you like to join us,”  Mrs. Reichardt asked.
Cheyenne stopped shoveling aerated horse manure onto the large tarp in the bed of her Ford pick-up.  Smiling, she leaned on her shovel and gave Mrs. Reichardt her full attention.  “Thank you, but, no ma’am.  It’s going to be dark soon, and I need to get as much of this manure as I can for the Garden Project my class is working on.”
gard01_400“Do you enjoy teaching the Troubled Youth at the Middle School you work at ?”
“Yes ma’am.  They are making some real strides in their Behaviors, and they love the Equine Therapy Program out here.”
“Do you have the time to tell me something about your Garden Project ?,”  Mrs. Reichardt requested.
“Yes Ma’am, always,”  Cheyenne laughed.  “I got permission from the school to put a Garden on some of their back property, close to my classroom portable.  And then my students used a little Geometry to plot out a large rectangular plot for the veggies an fruits they voted on to plant.”
“Each student has already been assigned to what will be their long row.”
“Then I went to Home Depot and bought a few shovels, hoes, rakes, spades, hammers, fencing nails, manual post-hole diggers, gloves, rolls of chicken wire, a few bags of cement and a wheel barrow.”
“I had just finished clearing my own property.  So, I saved some of the cedar tree trunks and large limbs, and trimmed them clean for us to use as fence posts.”
“Then my students had to use Geometry and Measurement Math to figure out how many poles we would need for the rectangular parameter we had mathematically finalized, and staked out, including the Gate into the Garden.”
“Then we all went out with the manual post hole diggers, shovels and hoes, and got the cedar posts into the ground.”
“We figured out the amounts of water needed to create the best cement mixture consistency, and whipped it up in the wheel barrow.  Then we poured the wet cement into the fence post holes to give the poles extra support.”
“Then we all used the tacking nails and hammers to get the rolls of chicken wire up, and create the Swinging Gate and its latch.”
“Why did you use chicken wire, Cheyenne ?”
“Well, chicken wire is better at limiting the critters who want to get into the Garden, from getting in,”  Cheyenne chuckled.
“We’ve got a heavily forested City Park across the street, and some free forested land and streams at the back of the school that my students, assistants and I have explored.”
“In fact, that’s where we got the Wild Onions from for one of our Cooking Projects a little while ago.”
“Wild Onions !”  Mrs. Reichardt exclaimed.
“Yes ma’am.  And wild Dew Berries, as well.  I taught my students how to make Wild Onion Soup, that we ate with their Homemade French Bread, and Homemade Dew Berry cobbler, a little later on.”
“I made arrangements with the Home Economics Teacher for permission and times to use the school’s kitchen facilities for special Cooking Projects each week.  And we would invite her and her assistants, and whatever class she was teaching at that time to join us.”
“Most of my students are Boys, and they have all become pretty Good Cooks.  It’s a Life Skill that will serve them well throughout their lives.”
“Why a Garden, Cheyenne ?  It sounds like an awful lot of work,”  Mrs. Reichardt laughed.
“Well, during our Garden Project my students experience and learn some things about Earth Science, Math, Weights and Measurements, Life Skills and Artful Basic Chemistry.”
“After all, that’s all we Human Beings are.  We’re all just Electro-magnetic Energy and liquid, gaseous and solid Chemicals.”
“In my Life Experiences I have found Art in Science and Science in Art.”
“I want my students to Experience, Recognize and Analyze the Simple Complexities and Complex Simplicities of Life and Everything around them.”
“I want my students to See how all of the Subjects they are studying at school work and function within every day Life in the Real World.
“Even History is not a dead stone tablet.  On very many levels it makes us Who we are.  With every step we take in Life, individually and collectively, we are always simultaneously Our Past, Our Present and Our Future.  We are always creating various forms of Memory, of Life Stories, of History.”
“Every Human Being is a Moving and Communicating Ripple Effect meeting and greeting other Ripple Effects, and effecting and being effected by those Ripple Effects, and so on and so on.”
“Everything, even when we’re Quiet and Still is always in perpetual Motion of one kind or another.”
“So, you’re a Philosopher Gardener,”  Mrs, Reichardt pronounced brightly.
“Actually, in my Book, the Garden is the Philosophy,”  Cheyenne answered with a big grin.
“Well, I’d better get back to slinging manure, Mrs. Reichardt.  The sun’s almost gone.  You, and your family, have a good evening.  And thank you for everything you do for my students.”
The following day, the BEST students, Cheyenne, and her classroom assistants were outside shoveling horse manure from the tarp in the back of her truck, and slinging it over their well measured cedar-posted, chicken wire Fence. 
Suddenly, one of her students threw his shovel down onto the ground yelling, “I’m not gonna’ shovel anymore horse sh-- !  And I am not digging up anymore dirt !  And you can’t make me !  I am not a slave !  And I am not gonna’ work out here like some nigger !”
Cheyenne, handed her shovel to one of her assistants, and walked over to the agitated seventh grader.  She picked up his shovel and tossed it over toward her truck.  “Well, Jeff, you just lost 25 points for cussing and 100 points for using that last racially derogatory word, young man.”
“My Mama told me that I did not have to do this !  I’m too good to be doing this !”
“Too good for this ?  You mean, too good to Work with your Hands and Mind for the food you are going to eat later on ?”
“I’m not going to eat any of this stuff !”
“You didn’t say that about the Dew Berry Cobbler we all made and ate together a little while ago.”
“That was different !  That was easy !  We just walked into the Woods and picked a few berries, and followed the directions on the Recipes you gave us.  This is different !  I’m not doing this work !  None of you guys have to do this work,”  Jeff shouted more loudly as he looked angrily toward the rest of the class.
“If you want to make the good grade you are fully capable of making on this Earth Science and Life Skills assignment you do, Jeff.  And please, remember that you are losing Level points with every moment that you are off task, sir.”
“The rest of you Boys, please, continue working on your Garden.  Please, do not allow Jeff’s Poor Behaviors to influence yours and your grades.  Y’all are all doing very well with your Garden Project.  You have a lot to be proud of thus far,”  Cheyenne said earnestly.  Turning her attention back to Jeff, she said, “And so do you, thus far, Jeff.”
“Jeff, I need to get back to work with everyone else.  Why don’t you go sit under the shade of that tree with Ms. Walker, and think about making some better Choices regarding your Behaviors and Grades.”
“I’ll check back in with you in about ten minutes, and you can discuss your decisions with me.  Then we’ll take things from there,”  Cheyenne said calmly and firmly.
“You’re a woman, Ms. Livingston !  You are not supposed to be doing Man’s Work !”
“Well, Jeff,”  Cheyenne said, trying hard not to laugh, “I am a Country-City Girl.  I’ve worked the Land and Gardened my whole Life.  I don’t see manual labor as a Man-thing or a Woman-Shouldn’t-Do-thing or a pretentious I’m-too-Good-to-Work-with-My-Hands-thing.  I enjoy Making and Creating things of all kinds for myself and Others.”
“Also, my Grandpa always taught me that Good Leaders never ask from Others what they are not Willing to Do themselves.  And my Grandpa was a Wise Man.”
“And, Jeff, I’m going to call your Mom and Dad this evening, after school, and schedule a conference with them to explain why we are doing what we’re doing with the Garden.  And what all of us are learning about ourselves and one another, and Earth Science and Life Skills as a result of our projects.”
“Good !  My Mother is going to put you in your place !  She loves me, and she never makes me do things I do not want to do !  She’ll have your job !  Just wait and see !”
Two days later, Jeff quietly dug at his Garden Row with the other students, Mrs. Livingston and her two classroom assistants, Ms. Walker and Mrs. Brown.
The Whole Class was busily involved within one of the many lessons of the Artful Science of Gardening Philosophy.


Check Leah Seller's EBOOK
A Young Boy/Man's Rage, and A Knife He Wanted to Be a Gun
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