We recently took a spontaneous field trip to a close friend’s family farm. Fifty acres of pure beautiful nature which included a chestnut grove, apple orchard, pear orchard, and three ponds. I was in nature heaven. Oh, and so were the kids.
In fact, the chestnut part was a bit of a surprise for us all. We had just planned to go apple picking and see where things went from there. I had been told we could harvest some chestnuts, but I had no idea what that meant. Let the fun begin!
Did you know that the American Chestnut is endangered? In 1905 a vast majority of chestnut trees became infected with fungus this condition is called Chestnut Blight. By 1950, all the mature trees had been wiped out. Today I felt blessed that my children and I were able to experience this rarity together. You can read more about the endangered American Chestnut here.
My dear friend’s Uncles were harvesting the Chestnuts and her children were also playfully helping. My own children jumped right in searching and harvesting them as well. Her uncles created hand made tools that they use to remove the spiked green casing around the brown chestnut.
It was so sweet, my youngest (2.5 yrs old) wanted to be more efficient in harvesting and started asking me for one of the tools. I told him, “Go ahead and ask buddy.” He seemed a little hesistant at first and wanted me to go ask for him. I encouraged him, “You can do it buddy.” He walked up to the men that were harvesting and said, “s’muse me, can I have a stick?”
I think the men were both pleasantly surprised to hear a request from such a little person because they both chuckled. Then, they gave him some homemade harvesting tools for both kids (Added bonus-they shared their donuts). 😉
I believe we all enjoyed searching around looking for these little nutty treasures. Before we had the tools I started to notice the natural sensory aspect of this experience. The casing of the chestnut is rather spikey. The children were curious and interacted with them by running their finger tips over the spikes causing a bristling sensation over their finger tips.Then they only gathered the split chestnuts and carefully moved between the spikey casing to remove the nut. Which of course didn’t last long as it was a slow process.
We visited the apple orchard while we were there too. Both children engaged in climbing the apple trees and helping pick apples. I will confess, I climbed too, probably the most. We had a lovely discussion about the Life cycle of the apple tree. Which prompted me to go home and create a printable for my very visual learner. You can down load your free Apple Tree Life Cycle printable here.
As I said before this was spontaneous so I didn’t know what to bring. I grabbed what I thought would be most fitting. We read Johnny Appleseed By Eva Moore and Oxcart Man by Donald Hall. You can preview them below:
This has spread over several days because my dear friend sent us home with all of our harvested treasures. The afternoon after we roasted chestnuts for the first time together.
If your interested in roasting chestnuts you can download the free Roasted Chestnut Recipe Printable here.
Then the next night my daughter wanted so badly to surprise my husband (me too) with an Apple Pie. My oldest is very particular about what she will eat, so my prayer is that interacting naturally with fruits, vegetables, and nuts in nature and cooking will encourage her to try something new.
I wanted to share briefly with you a spiritual moment that I experienced on this field trip. For awhile my friend had been inviting me to her families farm. I declined mainly because I thought it was a far distance. She would tell me stories of her family farm in such a reflective and loving manner. She often mentioned a statue of Jesus that they had on the property. The pictures do not do it justice but I will share so you can get an idea of what I mean.
It has a special meaning, her grandparents had this made with an inscription on it.
“Dedicated to the sacred heart of Jesus in thanksgiving for the safe return of all our boys in World War Two.”
Call me sentimental but I cried, I tried not to but it just made it worse. I really just felt the Holy Spirit and I wished that I had brought our bible- can you gather we are going back?
On another note, this later brought up a World War Two discussion with my oldest. Which means I’m on the hunt for new living books. Maybe, my husband really really likes to be the history teacher. 😉
That concludes this Charlotte Mason Inspired Lesson. Please like and share this article, and keep watch for more “Charlotte Mason Inspired Lessons” to come.