Has anyone heard the Native American folktale about the Three Sisters? It’s a wonderful story to share during the months of the autumn harvest as it celebrates the important roles played by three essential crops: corn, beans, and squash. Today in the Garden Sprouts we talked about, touched, explored and search for all different kinds of seeds–from those cultivated in the garden to those blowing wildly in the meadow breeze.
The children arrived to find the terrace tables covered in all sorts of interesting things. There were pumpkins and squash of various shapes and sizes. There were acorns and beechnut husks and horse chestnuts both in and out of their prickly casings.There was colorful Indian corn and bowls of all different kinds of seeds. We started our day talking about all of these different kinds of vegetables and seeds–where they come from, who they feed, and why each is important.
In honor of one of these harvest crops, the day’s baking project was to prepare a pan of cornbread for the morning snack. We touched the cornmeal and learned how it was made, mixed in some fresh eggs from the farm and some other ingredients and popped it in the oven before heading out for the day’s hike.
Today we would be hunting for seeds. We hiked out along the orchard path to a meadow at the edge of the woods. There the children discovered seeds hiding everywhere they looked. They searched in the tall grasses and unearthed the green cases of fallen black walnuts and sniffed at their strong scent when we cracked them open, revealing tiny white worms.They found plantain weed seeds, and apple seeds and, much to their delight, some pods of fairy-like milkweed seeds that were carried away by the wind. We talked about the way that seeds can travel–on the breeze, by sticking to animals’ fur–to find a home and grow someplace else.
We returned to hear the tale of the three sisters and make some fabulous cedar-disk three sisters medallion necklaces. The caregivers took special interest in the craft today and all of the grown ups wanted to make their own bean, corn & squash mosaic jewelery!
After a read-aloud and some songs and rhymes about seeds, squirrels and harvest time, we headed back to the terrace to gobble cornbread and drink some cold cider. Much fun was had by all!