It’s the end of the garden season here in Iowa. A couple of nights ago we had our first hint of frost instead of morning dew and last weekend my husband and I began in earnest to prepare the garden for winter. I still have a few peppers on the bushes and the zinnias remain cheerful and bright, but the end is near. Most of the produce has been put up, the pantry shelves are full, and the freezer stuffed. Winter looms.
As I stood shelling dry beans and talking with my husband about what did well and changes we might consider for next year, I was thinking about how miraculous gardening is. You put a few seeds in the ground, make sure they get enough water and sunlight, and in a few months you have a bounty of sweet peppers and carrots and zucchini and all sorts of other lovely things for your table and pantry. And come January, when the skies are leaden and the wind is sharp, a jar of homemade pickles for a sandwich or cheerfully red canned tomatoes for a hearty stew will bring a touch of summer to a snowy day.
Teaching is kind of like planting a garden, except you are planing it for someone else. Every day we plant ideas in fertile minds. We nurture our charges, making sure they get not sunlight and water, but love, kindness, perspective, a safe place, and so much more. Then one day, usually many years after they have left our classrooms, these wonderful “gardens” bear fruit for themselves, our communities, and our world.
As teachers, it is good to be reminded that the work we do each day will bear fruit. The ideas that we plant will eventually push their heads through the soil and grow into a wonderful cornucopia. Some will become delicate tomatoes that give pleasure to all they nourish, others will become spicy radishes that add interest and surprise to life, still others will become the potatoes and beans that are the staples that we all rely on, and a few will push above the rest and become towering sunflowers as they share their happy yellow glow.
While we may never see the individual results of the “gardening” we do in our classrooms each and every day, remember you are planting for the future harvest.
And really, what more can you give to the world.
This Week’s Featured Product
A great way to celebrate Halloween in your Literature class, this unit has students look at what makes an array of short stories suspenseful and has students then compose their own. For more details or to download this product, click here!
This Week’s Journal Questions
For the teacher: What is the hardest every day part of your job? What makes it particularly difficult? How do you overcome this challenge?
For the student: What is one thing in your future you are looking forward to? Why?
A Recipe from My Kitchen:
Super Simple Applesauce
- as many as you want; a half-bushel of apples makes approximately nine quarts of sauce
- The redder the peel, the pinker your applesauce will be!
- Cinnamon and sugar (optional)
- Quarter and core your apples.
- In a pot place apples and enough water to cover the bottom of the pot an inch or two deep to prevent scorching.
- Cook, covered, on medium-low to medium heat until apples are soft, stirring every 5 or so minutes.
- Once apples are soft, run them through a food mill to remove peels and make sauce.
- Voilà! Applesauce!
- If you don’t have a food mill, just peel the apples when you core them. You won’t get the pretty pink color from red apples, but after they cook you can just mash them with a potato masher, and you are ready to eat!
- Serve hot or cold. Optionally, top with cinnamon-sugar.
- To can applesauce for later: Return milled applesauce to pot (add cinnamon, sugar, or other spices if so desired), bring to a low boil, put in scalded pint or quart jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace, place lids on, and process for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath.