Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pickle Making

We've been spending some time up at the community center this week where there's a freeplay-type camp going on, but also open-gym time for families. I've been the only parent there, though, with twenty-or-so kids and then my two. We've played basketball, learned a couple of other kids' names, kicked a soccer ball around, rolled around on these flat scooter things, and gotten chastised for using the jump ropes in a way that was against the rules. It's like Friday P.E. all over again, but with the knowledge that we can leave if it stops being fun!

But yesterday I learned that three days a week there was a city-sponsored community gardening program in the early mornings at the garden at the edge of the community center property, and that today was going to be refrigerator pickle-making. That sounded way fun. Woody was looking forward to it all morning as we got dressed and ready.

When we got there, Fox wasn't that into it, so he and I played on the playground down the hill while Woody attended the session all on his own. I popped up only twice, to snap a couple of pictures. There were four adults for maybe nine or ten kids--a really nice ratio--and there were all kinds of tasks to choose from: harvesting, washing, chopping, making brine, sterilizing jars, packing the jars, making labels, etc. The adults were kind. They listened to the kids and had real conversations. The tasks were real. Woody even sprinted down the hill mid-way through to be sure I'd be OK with him using a real, sharp knife to cut his cucumbers with.

I may be wrong, but I think this was Woody's first (mostly) solo structured group-learning. He was really happy. He told me that his garlic pickles would be ready to eat in two days, 48 hours, because the flavors had to soak into the cucumbers.