Shelburne Farm is right around the corner from our house and is one of the five apple orchards we have in Stow. Each orchard has its own appeal and, if you are somewhat local, I suggest you check them all out. Owner Ted Painter was one of the recipients of a grant to plant tall spindled apple trees-a modern advance in orchard design. And did they plant: 1400 of them to be exact, spaced about three feet apart. These aren't the apple trees you are used to seeing that are broad and planted far apart. It was quite a sight as a tractor pulled a large spade that prepared the planting for each tree. As you can see from the images, the planter just places a tree in the trough every three feet and someone comes along behind them and fills in the dirt.
There is nothing that signals spring more than baseball's opening day, whether it's at the professional or tee ball levels. The Assabet Valley Little League serves the towns of Maynard and Stow and draws approximately 600 players on 52 teams. A far off dream for many of these kids is to play Tee Ball at the White House. President Bush, who as you probably know is the first President to have played Little League, has been hosting annual Tee Ball games on the South Lawn of the White House. This year, there will be a Tee Ball "All Star" game with one player selected from each state. A more realistic dream is to just be part of a local All Star team in the regular baseball and softball local and regional tournaments where they can hope, with skill and a little luck, to get to Williamsport, PA. Image: Manager Jeff LaPlante and his Minor League "Reds" team prepare for the first Opening Day exhibition game this past Sunday on DJ's Field in Maynard, MA.
Destination ImagiNation (aka DI) is a wonderful program that encourages creativity and problem-solving skills. Kids work in teams, grouped by age, and are lead by Team Managers who provide the problems each week and guide the team as it works on its challenges. There were several Stow teams who competed at Regionals ranging from kindergarten through high school. Yours truly was honored to have managed a K-2 team (called History Kids) who did an exceptional job in the non-competitive Rising Stars division.
The fourth and fifth grade team from Center School (pictured) came in first place at the 2008 Massachusetts state championships and will be competing at the Global Finals in Tennessee. Their performance utilized some engineering skills (i.e., creating the illusion of a long school corridor using blinds) and theatrical skills.
There are basically two components to DI: the Instant Challenges and Central Challenge. Instant Challenges are tasks that the team needs to solve in a short time interval. For example, when we were preparing for our regional competition, most of the Stow teams got together and were given an Instant Challenge by some older kids who had been to Globals in years past. My kids were given a strange looking object and were supposed to make a skit that answered "What it was?", "Why it was here?", "How it works?", etc. The Central Challenge is a long term project that teams work on throughout the season and perform at the competition. Our team's challenge was to take something from history, make a prop that will change history, make a play about it, and sing a song. Our team chose Abraham Lincoln's assassination as the period of history and decided to change it by inventing a TV remote control and having Paul Revere come riding in on a horse to scare away John Wilkes Booth.
External Link: Stow Destination ImagiNation