From picking apples to visiting a local beach to facilitating classes for fellow students, Chewonki weekends always look a little different. Every Saturday morning we’re presented with some new semester-wide activity, and every Saturday night a group of students sets up an evening activity for us all to enjoy. A few Saturdays ago was a particularly enjoyable (and extremely tiring) day on Bill’s farm.
Bill Hinkley, current head of school and my calculus teacher, also runs a farm of his own called the Red House Farm. At his farm he grows and harvest blueberries among other crops. To promote growth, every two years the crops are burned down as a form of pruning. Our job was to spread straw on a field that would be burned later in the year. We arrived in the morning ready to work. It was cold and early but we were all excited. The job at hand was fairly simple, but took a bit of time. We had to distribute the straw evenly, making sure it was spread among the plants. We spread out in the field, all finding our own method to disperse the straw best. Some people used song and dance to get the straw flying about, and others use the soccer ball technique, kicking the straw until it was all dispersed. We finished the job with hay covering not only the entire field but in our hair, jackets, shoes and socks.
After the work was done, Bill showed us around the rest of his farm. He gave us a quick tour of the rest of his crops, his hoop house, his animals, and his lovely house. After this we had a cookout outside where everyone sat, talked, ate good food, and enjoyed a bit of down time. Eventually we had to say goodbye to the beautiful farm and return home to Chewonki.
That night our evening activity was contra dancing. We had a proper band and caller, and had cleared out the dining hall to use as a dance floor. Before every song the caller would guide us step by step through the dance before we tried it with music. Some of the dances were straightforward and others ended up a jumble of confused contra dancers, but throughout them all, the group maintained the same outstanding energy. Walking in the room, you could feel the energy; everyone had hug smiles on their faces and nobody was afraid to look a little ridiculous. By the end of the night everyone was exhausted. I returned to Gillies, talked for a moment with my cabin mates, and then said goodnight, preparing for an excellent night sleep.