Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Down on the Farm

So that I could surprise the girls after school today (SCHOOL!!! SCHOOL!!!! SCHOOOOOOL!!!!!), I finished up some little laminated cut-outs that I've been thinking about and figuring out for the last couple of days. The theme?
The farm, of course. We've got a nice big barn, a farmer, a horse and cow, a fat little pig, a duck and a chick and a nest. I drew the templates on template plastic and then cut them out double-sided, with scrapbook paper on one side and this really awesome vintage wood-grain printed paper on the other side (I found the paper at the Goodwill Outlet Store, as part of a book of samples for some Japanese company that printed laminate? Anyway, FULL of paper with faux wood grain and marble and cork and stuff). I did it a really stupid way that made it take forever, however--next time, I will spraymount the papers together, then cut them all as one piece, instead of cutting out each side individually and then fussing them together interminably.

Laminated, they're nice and sturdy, and their simple forms and two-dimensionality is actually really engaging--I've already seen the girls use that in some interesting ways in their play this afternoon, and when Sydney spilled her chocolate soymilk all over the farmer and her barn, I was extra-stoked about the laminating. It's as easy to make two of something as it is to make one, by the way, so I have a second farm play set up in my pumpkinbear etsy shop today.

It seems, yes, that for my girl Willow, the farm, unlike her other passions of outer space, the ocean, earthworms, the Nutcracker, rollerblading, and all the other billion things she loves and forgets about and then loves again later in a slightly different way, farming is no passing, here-and-there fancy.

Willow loves farms like she loves dinosaurs.

I totally get this, by the way. Although Sydney and her dear daddy are generalists, interested in billions of things but not to the exclusion of billions of other things, Willow and I are obsessives. She loves dinosaurs and farms the way I love handicraft, say, or medieval literature, or 1980s pop culture.

The fun thing, though, is the way Will gets us all passionate about her passions. Sydney, at almost two years younger, is always a willing follower (and growing to be sometimes a leader, that big girl), but I wouldn't have told you this time last year, a brown yard languishing out the window, that this time this year I'd have a little garden--A lasagna garden, to be exact, and today I harvested cranberry beans, orange tomatoes, husk cherries, and jalepeno peppers. Tomorrow I plan to cut some kale.

I also couldn't have told you that during our trip to California, in between all the beaches and aquariums and hands-on museums we could handle, I would research and discover a wonderful little farm for us to tour one day. Ardenwood had enough baby goats for Sydney to get over her goat-phobia slightly, and a lovely docent for me to once again obnoxiously out-docent (I can't help myself--she tells me that farm women had to hang all their clothes to dry, and I talk about the benefits of shade-drying versus sun-bleaching. She shows me the one-piece clothespins they used, and I tell her how to make clothespin dolls. She tells me that blue jeans take forever to dry on the line, and did I know that they were invented in California, and I tell her that the adoption of the clothing of poor workmen into mainstream society is a metaphor for Americanization, etc.) It also had some handy tips for my own at-home gardening and someday farm dreaming:Most importantly, however, it had, as have the best tourist farms we've visited, several working fields of crops to examine. Upon seeing them, my future farm girl stooped to examine a few plants up close, then immediately took off down the rows:
Trying to envision just where to put the big barn with the baby chickens and the baby kittens and the stall for every horse, I bet.


cake said...

love that faux wood paper!

that green thing, in the husk, in the photo? that is a tomatillo, right? not a husk cherry?

also, i think i noticed syd choosing a pepper plant from the neighborhood plant exchange. it was one of the peppers that i started. i wonder if that pepper pictured here is one of those? if so, if you leave it on the vine a bit longer, it will turn a deep, gorgeous red. if it is largish, it is a sweet pepper. if it is smallish, it may be a very hot one.

i'm excited for you and your first garden! growing stuff is almost as fun as making stuff.

julie said...

Yep, tomatillo. I will try leaving your peppers on longer, although with the small bounty of my very first small garden, I am having a VERY hard time waiting for things to be fully ripe before I pick them. I keep picking the tomatoes, for instance, even though they may be supposed to go through another color change, and I keep picking the cranberry beans before they're fully and completely cranberried.

But it's just so fun!