This past weekend our Kids Klub event couldn’t have asked for a better classroom for our mud walk through the farm. Everyone got full use out of their rain boots. Everyone trudged out through the Christmas tree field in search of all the different types of mud and boy did they find it.
I remember as a kid, the farm was an endless playground for me. I seem to remember lots of mud when I was a kid. The Branford River that runs through the property often flooded and came over the banks making for some really slick mud. I often would climbing down the riverbank, fishing pole in hand, trying to get just a little closer. If I just get over there, I will catch all the fish! Then whoosh! Down I would go, a huge mud stain on my knees or my butt. In the back right-hand side of the property where the river bends to the right, under a canopy of trees, was the best fishing hole, or I thought so anyway? I walked out in a patch of dark, almost black mud to make it to the river. Halfway across, I sunk down right up to my knee. Standing there barely being able to move my legs, I asked myself the age-old question, keep going or head back? I must get to those fish! I made it 2 more difficult steps and when I lifted my knee, my boot didn’t come with my foot. The boot stayed way down deep in the mud leaving me to have to dig it out by hand while trying to balance on my other foot that was also stuck deep down in the mud. I had to basically crawl out of there leaving me completely covered head to toe in stinky mud. Thinking of a way I could get out of my sticky situation, I remember my Grandma Joan told me that Indians made waterproof shoes out of skunk cabbage. So, I tried to make shoes from the newly emerging skunk cabbage and fishing string from my tackle box. Let’s just say that did not go well and I just added another stench to my already ripe mud cologne.
I know this did not make laundry very easy for my parents, a bet they wish they could just hose me down sometimes, it would have been much easier. Lucky for the parents of our Kids Klub kids, no shoes were harmed in our mud walk this past weekend.
Ryan Van Wilgen
We are no strangers to amazing wildlife at the garden center, we have several ospreys that catch fish in the river all day, coyotes that play on our freshly screened topsoil pile, snapping turtles in our pond that more resembles a boulder than a turtle shell, and even a Blue Herron that we’ve had up and close personal encounter with INSIDE our greenhouse. That is a story within itself! We recently had the coolest visitor ever; a bald eagle! That is the first time I have ever seen one on the property and it was so close for everyone to get a good look! For 10-15 minutes the eagle calmly perched at the top of the big weeping beech tree, it seemed like it was watching over us. Our cousin Harry has brought me up around Lake Gaillard, he taps the maple trees to make syrup and in the summer he checks on the health of the trees. While we were checking the trees we saw a Bald Eagle flying, but it very pretty far away. Having seen our visiting eagle up close, it is amazing how big and majestic they really are. It is not every day or even in a lifetime you get to see something like that, we are interpreting the visiting eagle as a good omen and a sign of great things to come, hopefully, it means spring will start soon and it will be a good growing season for us all! Maybe our Eagle will keep visiting us, we’ll keep an eye out.
Ryan Van Wilgen