The assignment

Continuing with my discovery of things to selbst pflücken (pick yourself) in the fields that surround me Imagehere in Germany, this past week-end I had the pleasure of picking my own gladioli. What a thrill it was to walk through a huge field of these colourful beauties, knowing I could choose whatever I wanted, for a cost of only 50 cents per stem. The challenge was trying to select a combination of colours that went well together, and the stems that would last the longest. The owners had a wooden sign at the entrance suggesting to pick a mixture of stems with fully opened, half opened and closed blooms to extend the enjoyment of the bunch as long as possible. These Germans are brilliant.

I ended up with 5 long stems of white and purple gladioli, and picked a colourful orange and yellow one for the mother of Little T’s friend who was hosting a birthday party that afternoon. I figured she earned one, after enduring a house full of 10 screaming boys. The second challenge was delivering the flowers safely home, as hubby and I were on our bikes, and these long-stemmed beauties didn’t exactly fit well in my bike basket. But being the true saint my hubby is, he carried those fresh cut gladioli under his left arm, steering all the way home with his right hand only. Hard not to love the guy.

The third challenge (I mean really, if only all life challenges could be like these!) was to figure out where to place the vase containing these meter-long assortment of glads. It almost forced me to pour a glass of wine and think it through. They seemed too domineering on the dining table, with the tops almost reaching the ceiling. I moved them to the floor in front of the window, but my home decorator a.k.a. Hubby claimed the curtains were too hard to close around them so he moved them to the shelf behind our couch. I didn’t much care for that location, as I would never get to see them unless I sit on the edge of the couch and stare at the back wall all day. So I moved them to the floor beside the television, so I could watch TV and stare at my beautiful glads! Hubby didn’t agree with this choice either, so he moved them to the top plate of a statue at the bottom of our landing. Perfect! We could all admire them as we go up and down the stairs. At least they found a home before they shriveled up and turned brown.

Now on to the assignment. Friday afternoon Little T came home from school and announced that we had to go to a farmer’s field on the week-end and steal 5 cobs of different types of corn. Huh? Not only did we immediately wonder what kind of teacher assigns a project involving theft, but how the heck would we find 5 different kinds of corn? When leaving to pick Little T up from the birthday party, I suggested that Hubby ask the other parents if they think stealing corn is a good assignment. So he did.

Turns out, from what Hubby interpreted, the assignment was to pick 5 different kinds of grains, not just corn. One parent was rather frustrated with the project, as he had to drive his kid to the next village to find a 5th grain. So, the project still involved theft, which the parents didn’t seem to have an issue with claiming the farmers really don’t mind, but at least we didn’t have to swipe 5 cobs of corn. The good thing about this project is that it forced Little T on a bike for a Sunday afternoon ride, which normally is on the top of his “loser list”, next to having to attend live evening show performances on a cruise.

Sunday came, and we set off to steal gather our crops. It was a beautiful day for a bike ride. The sun was shining, the air was fresh, and the sky was bright blue without a cloud in sight. Finding farmer fields wasn’t difficult, as we are surrounded by them. The challenge was trying to find 5 different kinds of grains, especially when we weren’t exactly sure what the crops were! Being raised in an extended family of farmers, I still couldn’t get over the guilt of wondering into some farmer’s field and snatching his hard-earned work. But, I tried to reason that perhaps they really would support this kind of education, if we were forced to explain ourselves. I just hope the farmer wouldn’t be holding a pitch fork.

We believed to have found corn (easy one!), wheat, and rye. Needing two more, Hubby suggested we search through an already harvested canola field to find a missed stem, which we did. Needing a fifth, I suggested we go back the field where we bought the glads, as right beside was a field of sunflowers for sale! Sunflower seeds are a grain, right? Well, I didn’t care by that point. We needed a 5th to complete the project, so off we went to pick a sunflower. Since we were there, I decided to also buy one to admire in my office, so Little T picked two. The best part was we could pay for these pickings, so his entire project wasn’t from stolen samples!

When Little T came home from school on the Monday, I asked how his grain project went, and if he had all the correct grains. Turns out he was suppose to get wheat, rye, barley, oats, and corn, but the teacher said it was fine (likely taking pity on the poor English kid and his foreign parents).

ImageOr, maybe the sunflower Little T brought brightened his day.

2 thoughts on “The assignment

  1. Oh how Sonya and I laughed at Little T’s “loser list” 🙂
    As for “steeling” from farmers, we too stold corn stalks from a farmer. It was for our wedding as a decoration. We knocked at the door to ask permission but no one was home. So we left a bottle of our wedding wine and a note appologizing/thanking them!
    Maybe you can go back to the 4 farmers and have a glass of wine with each… But walk, don’t drive!


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