I spent last week being a history geek. As part of a conference on History Day, I got to see the basement of the Minnesota History Center, look through their archives, talk to other history geeks and best of all, I got to go on a field trip that didn't include 140 middle school students.
We went to the Oliver Kelley Farm which is near Elk River, MN. It is the site of the first grange meeting in the United States. Some of you are saying "Grange? What is a grange?" Don't worry, I said the same thing. A grange is a farmers cooperative of sorts. Back in the early pioneer days of Minnesota, farmers banded together to buy equipment, ship their crops, learn farming techniques and build community. They were involved in the women's suffrage movement, and fought for civil rights and fair labor laws. And granges are all about repurposing: sharing resources, using things in new ways, combining efforts to create something new.
While on the farm, I got to wash cucumbers for pickling, harvest gherkins, eat fresh tomatoes and cucumbers off the vine, and thresh oats. On the way out, I saw this sweet lady and her little ones. It reminded me that soon I will be her, with my new flock of students as I start the school year. Hopefully, I can turn some of my kids into history geeks, too!