Guest post by Christina, a mother of three with a new blog “Laughing and Losing It.”  She writes humorous and heart-warming posts from the perspective of a mom who grew up as the youngest of 17 children.  You can visit her blog at laughingandlosingit.net or support her blog by going to https://www.facebook.com/laughingandlosingit and liking her page.

A Green Carnival

I accompanied my daughter and her 1st grade class, in Gainesville Florida, to a little place called “Roger’s Farm” (also known as “The Pumpkin Patch”).  The unmistakable smell of the large rubber tires shouldering the weight of the glorious golden school bus and the squeaky sound of hydraulic breaks zipped me back to my kindergarten trip in Michigan when we visited the Apple Orchard in autumn.   I stood for a moment, feeling blessed that my daughter was making similar memories, and I was right beside her.

Autumn has always been my favorite season–a time of anticipation for the holidays, when cozy food warms the belly, and a feeling that there is not a moment to waste.  Every bit of mild sunshine must be enjoyed before the weather turns.  This cheerful spirit was in abundance at The Pumpkin Patch, with a dozen elementary school classes running from one event to the next.  I love how children don’t need to think about feeling happy, it is part of their being; and this day was no exception.

Unfortunately the active rainy season flooded the fields and the pumpkin seeds didn’t take.   So Roger’s Farm shipped in their pumpkins—and they chose an Amish farm in Pennsylvania.  While shipping produce from out-of-state is not ideal, they chose the Amish—known for their low-energy (or no energy!) farming practices.  The rest of the year Roger’s Farm grows and sells local produce to the community.

The choice to use an Amish farm was not an accident, because nearly every carnival attraction used sustainable or low-energy sources.  There was a merry-go-round pulled by ponies, a playground with large refurbished industrial pipes (for slides), and old tires served as swings.   Five tall bails of rolled hay provided a climbing obstacle especially popular with the boys.  They also had a rubber ducky race.  At this event, the children pumped water into a cross-sectioned PVC pipe to make the duck slide to the other end where the water and duck fell into a horse trough.  There were six ducky “slides” between two horse-troughs, and water was pumped from one trough to the other using an old-fashioned, manual well pump.  There was a finite amount of water that was moved without a single motor.

My favorite Green carnival attraction was the tractor-pulled cow train.  This was cleverly fashioned from welded metal frames, tires, heavy rope, and reused water barrels—cut and painted to look like dairy cows.  Seats inside the “Cows” were made from reused school chairs and large buckets cut to hold the shape of little bottoms.  Here are some of my daughter’s classmates enjoying the cow train.

Cow train

 

It was refreshing for an afternoon to go backward in time.  There were no screens, or game consuls, no iPads or computers.  The children simply used their bodies and played outside.  There was not a single complaint or whine, the wide open spaces of nature filled every cranny of boredom, and filled the air with an electric buzz of excitement.

through the corn

 

Christina is a mother of three with a new blog “Laughing and Losing It.”  She writes humorous and heart-warming posts from the perspective of a mom who grew up as the youngest of 17 children.  You can visit her blog at laughingandlosingit.net or support her blog by going to https://www.facebook.com/laughingandlosingit and liking her page.

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