Outdoor Classroom

The elementary school attended by the older kids has a new “outdoor classroom” this year. While there’s probably some Gaia worship and being Environmentally Correct involved, it boils down to teaching kids about gardening. Sort of a miniature vo-ag program. They are learning about composting, for instance, which may be environmentalism, but it’s not extremism, and was something done when I was a kid and before, like, forever.

It occured to me that this is timely. If things crash to that degree, they could use the knowledge toward growing food. I like practical education. That is, if there’s time enough before it crashes, and of it doesn’t crash too hard even for that to matter. I’ve had a potentially lengthy post brewing in my mind about just what a crash might look like, and how socio-infrastructure inelasticity would have to affect it. (I love coining terms. Makes me feel like the Bernanke of phrasing, only not dangerous.)

Chances are that a crash won’t be so great as to mean mass death and destruction, unless there is a coup, which I started thinking about as a possibility a while back. Didn’t want to mention it aloud, since I remember how insane people sounded when they were frantic that Bush was going to cancel the election and stay in office. That would never have happened, since for all his faults, he is honorable and not that level of power hungry. Then I started seeing others mention it, including one detailed analysis of how it might go if Obama tried it. Right, Google exists! I think I read this one, which still sounded like it might be a bit over the top. Remembering that it said “Barack Obama is, unfortunately for America, a profoundly stupid man” made it easier to find with a search.

Anyway, I was a vo-ag student in high school, and I grew up about as close to farming as is possible without growing up on a farm. It makes me happy to have my kids learning something about one of my first strong interests/career aspirations. We had chickens. When I was very young we had ducks. I spread tons of manure from cows, horses and chickens. I helped plant, weed, and harvest vegetables. There was always a compost pile, if not any as intently managed and harvested as is possible. We did dig fresh soil from the the fully composted parts, but mostly it was a place to dispose of garbage and yard waste. It’s sad to live in a yard that, apart from being not ours, has no space for that. The closest I’ve come is pulling weeds from the flower bed in the front and leaving them to die and disintegrate as a sort of mulch on a bare area of my tiny adjacent herb garden.

I should take a cue from the school and my worries, and make even greater efforts to teach the kids the practical. Not just as a side note, like showing them how to build a fire when we were camping, and explaining the need for air flow. Or telling my son in passing yesterday how starting a fire by rubbing sticks together really works, since he picked that notion up somewhere. When my oldest was very young, as young as 3-4, I would give her pointers on what to do if she was trapped out in the cold, or lost. I sometimes have shown them what they can or cannot eat from “the wild.” They need more of that, alongside things like handling money, and the instilling of ideals. But I digress.

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