• A new kind of school year!

    Posted by Megan Sutton on 9/14/2020 9:15:00 AM

    We are underway as a hybrid district and I would say, so far, so good! There's no question that students are thrilled to be here, and as teachers and staff, we are adjusting to the new health guidelines and the demands of teaching in a variety of ways, using a variety of platforms, all at the same time!  It's a bit overwhelming to be sure, but as I look out at the new tents on the school grounds, and hear the happy voices of outside play, I recognize that our efforts are bearing fruit. 


    I have taken down the read-alouds that I did in the spring, and I will find another book to add to this blog.  I really enjoy taking the time to do that - it reminds me of why I love my work.  I'll keep you posted!

    Comments (-1)
  • Friday!

    Posted by Megan Sutton on 6/5/2020 10:00:00 PM

    Today was a busy day, working in anticipation of the virtual visit from the IB evaluators.  I spent the whole morning crafting a short video that tells the story of the work I do.  It's always good to reflect on what we do, but the time constraints and the digital setting make it hard. When I got home, I brought Bear down to the garden as I'd promised yesterday.


    Bear and the beans


    Bear was really interested in the beans - you can see one coming up in the bottom right corner of the picture.  It was fun to head down there with him.  I can see that I'll have lots of weeding to do soon, but everything is coming along!  I read a bit from Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer and found myself getting lost in the story as I was reading aloud.  I remember this happening when I would read to our kids - I would just begin to get lost in the words!  It's rather delightful, but not good for a read aloud!  Enjoy tonight's reading!

    Comments (-1)
  • Taking a break ...

    Posted by Megan Sutton on 6/4/2020 9:25:00 PM

    Well, Bear is totally exasperated with me.  I have been working all day and am still working and have not had time to take a picture or to read. I am working on the videos for the IB Verification Visit, which starts on Monday.  I have finished the Weybridge video and I'm going to start working on the Salisbury video as soon as the clips finish uploading.  It's not a totally smooth process, but you want to know what is smooth?  The donkeys that arrived on Monday - Minnie and Tulip - spent some time in the barn today!  If only our politicians could figure out their differences as quickly as our barnyard of diverse animals, the world would be a different place.  So, my plan is to do a bunch of reading tomorrow, Bear and I will visit the garden and maybe the woods, and we'll catch up a bit!  Sleep tight!

    Comments (-1)
  • Really busy day!

    Posted by Megan Sutton on 6/3/2020 9:50:00 PM

    Today felt almost like a normal work day!  I arrived at Weybridge Elementary School at 8:00 to meet with the principal and the 6th grade teacher to participate in planning for tomorrow's graduation.  They have designed a plan for a safe in-person graduation ceremony, so we needed to put planning in place for where students can walk, and where they'll stand to make their presentations.  After we finished, I went into the library, and my assistant, Linda Smith, stopped by to clean up some of the gardens.  It was so nice to see her in person!  We wore our masks and kept a safe distance, but we could hear each other's voices and no one was freezing, the way it happens in video conferences!  When I got home, Bear looked quite despondent sitting in the rocking chair.


    Bear in the chair

    I haven't been spending much time with him.  I'm sure he feels left out.  All of the excitement is in the barn.  The donkeys have folded into the barnyard quite smoothly, although we're not sure whether or not they're "allowed" in the barn at night.  We're hoping the animals will come up with a plan all by themselves!  In the meantime, I'll continue to entertain myself by reading from Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer!

    Comments (-1)
  • Of videos and beans ...

    Posted by Megan Sutton on 6/2/2020 10:00:00 PM

    Another short post today - it has been a full day!  The teachers are all working on videos for the upcoming IB visit and my job is to put them all together - I think it will be fun, and a bit time consuming.  Why did I put “beans” in my title to today’s post?  Because they keep coming up, so to speak, in the book Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, and they are coming up in my garden too! In the reading I’m posting here, I read off a quiz that Sophie takes to see if she is qualified to learn about chickens.  I’m not sure how this translates as a read aloud.  I looked to see if it’s online, and I found an excerpt in Google Books.  I simply “Googled” Redwood Farm Supply Quiz. I think it’s funny, but that might just be me.  Remember, we’re the ones who just adopted donkeys!


    Bear with linens

    I was a bit stumped for an idea for a picture of Bear , so I decided to have him take a look at the linens I ironed.  He has a lot of questions about these linens and I do too.  Remember me mentioning the items I think were a trousseau?  I washed a bunch of them and I don’t even know what they’re all for.  It’s kind of fun! Enjoy the read aloud!


    Comments (-1)
  • New arrivals!

    Posted by Megan Sutton on 6/1/2020 9:30:00 PM

    The donkeys came today - that’s a big day on our small farm.  We haven’t had new arrivals for years and it’s pretty exciting.  I won’t say that they’ve made friends with the other animals yet, but they’re fine.  We think the goats are afraid of the donkeys and that may be okay.  We were kind of worried about Caesar - he has serious horns! 

    For some reason, reading Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer makes me smile and think of all the adventures we’ve had with our animals.  We haven’t experienced anything like the chickens that Sophie is writing about!  I totally forgot to take a picture with Bear today, so I’m inserting a picture of a letter in the book from Agnes. After listening to the reading,who do you think Agnes is?


    Agnes's letter


    Comments (-1)
  • The trousseau ...

    Posted by Megan Sutton on 5/28/2020 9:45:00 PM

    Today was a day filled with more heat (argh!) and a few discoveries.  In particular, I spent some time this evening cleaning the room where we had our chicks.  For those of you who have also raised chicks this spring, you know they are messy!  The whole room was coated with a fine layer of dust from their food.  So, it was quite nice to take the time to vacuum and go through some of the things that ended up in that room. One of the things in that room was a plastic bin filled with linens that we "discovered" when we cleaned out the garage. Remember that project? I wrote about it earlier in this blog. Those linens came from a cedar chest I brought home from northern Ontario, Canada, after my great aunt died in 1986 - that's 34 years ago!  Whoa! Believe it or not, in those 34 years, I've not taken the time to look at those linens - we were building our home and then we began having children.  The linens are beautiful and I'm wondering if they are the remains of a trousseau from my aunt, or her mother, my great grandmother.  A trousseau is a collection of household items (historically, that would be linens) that a new bride would collect and/or make in anticipation of her marriage.  Very old-fashioned! Maybe tomorrow I'll take some pictures, but for tonight, Bear really wanted to hang out with some beautiful geranium blossoms I cut off of an overgrown geranium - so pretty.


    Bear by the geraniums


    Actually, thinking about stuff is a good connection to Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer. I love stuff!  Not sure what that's about, but it's a fact.  I guess I'm kind of like Great-Uncle Jim!


    Comments (-1)
  • Still hot!

    Posted by Megan Sutton on 5/27/2020 9:05:00 PM

    Yes, it's still hot! I'm going to keep my writing to a minimum so I can read, take a shower and go to bed!!  I did realize something today when I was at Weybridge School, and I've had the same feeling when I'm at Salisbury. A school building without students doesn't really feel like a school.  It's you, the students, that bring a space to life, with new learning, laughter, and play. As we adults have spoken about plans for next year, we all recognize that we love working with all of you.  Pretty neat!  Bear wasn't interested in anything today - he was just too hot.  He simply hung out by the fan!


    Bear getting cooled off


    I have to say, I'm pretty excited to continue reading from Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer.  I have taken pictures of a few more illustrations that are in the part of the book I'm reading.  I have asked for permission to share this book with all of you and I'll have to take it off-line after school gets out, so I'll try to finish the book by June 10th!  Here are the pictures and I'll post the recording below.


    The little house

    The little house behind the barn.


    The lists

    The to-do lists.


    Angry chicken

    Angry chicken!


    Chicken in the little house

    Angry chicken in the little house.


    Comments (-1)
  • It's hot!

    Posted by Megan Sutton on 5/26/2020 9:45:00 PM

    I think many of us had a chance to catch our breath this weekend, enjoy the beautiful weather, and maybe take a small chance by visiting with family.  That's what we did - we had a socially distant lunch and then a very funny game of croquet.  It was lovely.  I did forget to bring Bear, but he got over that today when he got to help Wesley fix a lawnmower.


    Bear with the lawnmower


    I have been wondering what to read now that I've finished The Cricket in Times Square.  I've landed on Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, by Kelly Jones, published by Penguin Random House in 2015.  This is a funny book for anyone who lives in the country, as many of us do. Many of us also recently got chickens, so it seems like a good choice.  This was a Dorothy Canfield Fisher book award selection 3 years ago, so it's also fairly current.  It's written in the first person in the form of letters.  I've added some photos of the illustrations below, as they really add to the story. I hope you enjoy it!

    Title page

    Here's the title page.


    At the farm

    Arriving at the farm.


    Catalog cover

    Catalog cover.


    Comments (-1)
  • Counting down!

    Posted by Megan Sutton on 5/21/2020 8:35:00 PM

    I headed back to Salisbury Community School today, delivered some books that will go to our students, and spent time working on end of year activities!  All of a sudden, the end of the school year feels very close.  I have to admit, I feel some relief, and yet lots of sadness for all of the wonderful traditions that are being set aside. I know that we will return to those traditions, and some new traditions may get established, but change is hard.  I do think we're all ready to not be online so much, and begin to move a bit, as this nice weather is encouraging us to do!  I headed outside this evening with Bear, and he had a quiet moment contemplating the dense woods near our house.  I'm pretty sure there's a nesting pair of Red Tailed Hawks, and who knows what else.


    Bear gazing into the woods


    I have to admit that I won't miss the schedule and I'll be very glad to take a break from my computer.  I know that we have planning to do, and it will be nice to do that away from the daily schedule.  I have ordered books for next year's awards lists and I hope to make time to read them.  In the mean time, enjoy this last chapter of The Cricket in Times Square!


    Comments (-1)