Monday, September 14, 2009

Welcome - And Welcome Back!

After nearly a week of new and returning student orientation, classes got underway today.

As one might imagine, there have been lots of meetings in preparation for the first day of academic classes - community meetings, student meetings, house meetings, Ministry and Counsel meetings, advising meetings, and other meetings this blogger doesn't know happened. Students have begun their chore rotation, work study, and meal planning (with the interesting and respectful discussion around vegetarianism and veganism already underway).

The meetings were punctuated by activities that included bowling for returning students, a group "Goblins, Giants and Wizards" game (loosely based on "Rock, Paper, Scissors"), a scavenger hunt that included a trip to the "big swing," and the compost pile, and Capture the Flag.

Some students dug up potatoes during Tuesday's first work study, while others worked in the kitchen.

The first meeting of the geometry class discussed some of the basic definitions of Euclid's geometry:

A point is that which has no part...a line is breathless length...the ends of lines are points...straight line is a line in which all points lie evenly on itself.

(Some of the raw ingredients that make everything else possible.)

One of the writing classes had an engaging discussion about different types of arguments and various appeals to reason, emotion and faith.

Discussion was punctuated by a brief ode to (from?) Keats: "Beauty is truth, truth beauty," - that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know," and Darien and Connor were charged with finding copies of the Quaker Peace Testimony on campus before tomorrow's class.

As the school takes a "technology sabbath" on Wednesdays, TMS blogger doesn't think that posting the Peace Testimony here means letting the cat out of the bag (or Skunk or Hipster in Bliss):

"We utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end, or under any pretence whatsoever; and this is our testimony to the whole world. The spirit of Christ, by which we are guided, is not changeable, so as once to command us from a thing as evil and again to move unto it; and we do certainly know, and so testify to the world, that the spirit of Christ, which leads us into all Truth, will never move us to fight and war against any man with outward weapons, neither for the kingdom of Christ, nor for the kingdoms of this world."

Welcome and welcome back, everyone!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Getting Ready for School

After a busy summer on campus we are eagerly anticipating the arrival of our returning students on Wednesday, September 9th. New students will be joining us on Sunday, September 13.

Faculty are in the process of finalizing course preparations, organizing their homes to greet students, and planning a preliminary set meals.

(While on the topic of food, please note the photo of the brie, which was produced earlier this summer under the guidance of Laura Pepper from Keene Meeting. Two years ago, Laura sold her business of making artisan cheese in the Philadelphia region and moved to Hinsdale to work on reopening a hydroelectric plant on the Ashuelot River. She and Meg Kidd (former TMS staff) spent a day in July working with us to make cheese from milk from Bruchetta. A "Bruchetta Gouda" was also produced.)

We are excited to welcome Laura and Landis Brown, who are houseparents in Aurora. They have two young sons, Silas and Aidan. Laura will be teaching mathematics with Richard Kleinschmidt and overseeing the kitchen; Landis will be teaching courses in writing and social studies in addition to his role as Residential Life Coordinator. Their full biographies are available on our website. Welcome, Laura and Landis!

Meanwhile, under the care of interim farm manager Craig Jensen, the farm is currently producing copious amounts of kale (Lacinato, Red Russian, and White Siberian), beets, swiss chard, green beans, cucumbers, winter squash, red kuri, apples, and pears. Our root cellar is quickly filling up with beets and turnips. We have begun pulling flint corn and will be pulling sweet corn soon (which is late this year). Two work study activities for students soon after they get to school will be pulling onions (thousands of them!) and potatoes.

Last Friday we cut hay - several hundred bales of it - and would like to thank our neighbor down the street, Mark Wolterbeek, for offering to help out and even lend us his mower. The Meeting School mower has finally mowed its last field - when I asked someone "in the know" how old it was I given a look, which I interpreted to mean "ancient." Here's to neighbors helping neighbors!