Sunny skies were predicted for Wednesday, April 10, the opening date for our spring session of Barnyard Tales. But in typical April-in-Oregon fashion, the weather can turn on a dime. By the night before, the forecast had changed and rain was headed our way, due to arrive about 10 a.m. that day. But Henrietta and I chose some good stories, tuned the autoharp, grabbed our raincoats and headed out to Luscher Farm. Running late, I rushed into a nursery on the way to buy some radish seeds, part of the day's fun. Laid the seeds on the counter to get my wallet out and looked up to see my seeds in the hands of the customer beside me. What? "Those are mine!" I said, like an indignant preschooler!! The clerk had to quickly intervene. Seems the other customer (another Lynn!) had also bought radish seeds, which she thought he'd forgotten to bag. What a comedy of errors. Lots of laughter ensued and we left good friends!!
I was delighted to have about eight preschoolers show up, a record number for an opening session on such a chilly, wet day. My count isn't too exact because there was lots of movement; late arrivals, early departures, wandering about the room, etc. The toys on the shelves in the classroom were a distraction for some. I finally incorporated them into our final song of the day, but Dawn and I agreed some changes to those shelves are in order. And we plan to move the story time into the comfy, cozy farm house living room in the future except on days when there is a conflict with a class.
Spring was the theme for the day. After a spirited singing of our welcome song, with everyone calling out their names loud and strong, we began with Spring Song by Barbara Seuling, a story in which animals wake up, explore, help farmers loosen the earth, build nests and start families in the warmth of the season. Henrietta reminded us that it wasn't all that warm yet and led us in a song with stomping thunder, pitter-pattering rain, and wet feathers! Wiggles out, we settled in for Bluebirds Seven, a sweet story about a pair of bluebirds and the joys and challenges they faced raising five babies. It's beautifully illustrated with paintings by noted bird artist R. Bruce Horsfall. Now rare, Western Bluebirds were once common in the Willamette Valley and surrounding foothills and probably lived at or around Luscher Farm. (Out of print now, the Clackamas Co. library system has one copy and used copies are available on the internet.)
With the purchase of a tractor identical to the one Rudy Luscher owned, it seemed fitting to learn a song from the book Driving My Tractor by Jan Dobbins & David Sim. The children did a great job of singing the chorus, "Chug, chug, toot toot toot....." and bouncing along on a bumpy road (or their mom's laps)!! The book, complete with a CD of the song, is available at the Lake Oswego library. Then we read the old favorite The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss. Being a gardener requires lots of careful tending and lots of waiting. The children each got a tiny packet of radish seeds to take home to plant and tend and watch and wait, just like the little boy in the story.
We braved the weather and headed out to the chickens. Smart girls, they were all in the hen house staying dry. But carrot tops and oatmeal brought them out in a hurry. Don't think they've had many visitors lately and, boy, were they excited to see us. And us, them!! A quick tour of the garden with Children's Garden coordinator Dawn gave the kids a chance to see what's in store this season. Things are really growing there. But no digging this morning. Too muddy. And no tractor play either. Too rainy. So back to the classroom for one last song and story, Mama, Is It Summer Yet? by Nikki McClure. Summer? We wondered if it was even spring yet???? Maybe next week?