Hooray, hooray, the first of May!

May 4, 2007

“Hooray, hooray, the first of May! I used to challenge my senior students to provide the second line of that old English rhyme. Got a few laughs the next day after they had Googled it. It was good to have a group of teenagers around today. Linda Ross brought her outdoor education class from Athens District High School for an afternoon of tree planting. Science department head Jim Wilson showed great generosity with their time because I needed some black cherry seedlings planted immediately before they leafed. The kids had classes to 11:40, at which point they jumped onto the bus and arrived at the farm at 12:05. The bus had to leave at 1:45 to get back for its regular route, so the pressure was on. My introductory speech and tree-planting lesson lasted about one minute, and then they were down to work, crawling through the brush to find the orange spots of paint I had sprayed there in a leg-spavining burst of energy that morning. Then they had to muscle the shovel through the brush, roots and stones to make a hole for the seedling, carefully slide it in, fill the hole and stamp the daylights out of the earth. Though they may not have planted trees before, these kids by and large know how a shovel works, and show an amazing ability to balance on a bouncing trailer. I figured they must be farm kids. Who else learns from infancy how to stand on a lurching platform without any handholds? The pair I asked said that, yes, they live on farms. That might explain their strength, endurance, and work ethic, as well.

I had left the third bag of 100 seedlings in the barn for safekeeping, but they had made short work of the two previous ones, so they sent me bouncing off in the golf cart for it. They must have found my driving antics amusing, because it wasnt long before they complained that they needed more water for the seedlings. Off I went again, this time with a slightly-stressed bus driver riding shotgun. Maybe he doesnt get to be a passenger much… Anyway, we muscled a barrel with enough water to do the job into the EZ-Gos trailer, tied it down securely, and booted it back to the work crew. Turned out no one really needed the water. I think they were just keeping me busy. But the trees were almost all in the ground. As the pails ran empty, the students congregated around the golf cart, or rather the cooler in the trailer, and they tanked up on bottled water. Nice kids. They like simple things like golf carts and woodlots and being outdoors on a beautiful May afternoon.


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