Ethan, my five-year-old grandson, was eating an apple and was intent on saving the five little seeds from the middle. He said he wanted to plant them and grow apple trees of his own. He carefully picked out the seeds, laid them on a napkin, and asked me to write, “Do Not Throw Away. Save for Ethan to plant.”
Early the next day, we decided to do the chore of planting his little seeds. We walked around the yard with Ethan’s twin brother Carter following on his bike and observing. I asked Carter if he wanted to help plant the seeds, to which he replied, “No.” “Why?” I asked. He said he wanted to ride his bike instead. So Ethan and I found a perfect spot between Ethan’s two favorite trees. Carter followed us back and forth to the shed as we got a shovel. “Carter, would you like to help us dig the holes?” “No,” was his reply. Ethan and I dug two holes – one to plant three seeds and one to plant the other two. “Carter, do you want to help us plant the seeds?” “No,” he replied as he twirled his bike around the trees. We placed the seeds gently inside the holes. We covered the seeds with dirt and went to fetch some water. Ethan filled up a bucket, and together, he and I carried the bucket to water the seeds with Carter riding close beside us on his bike. Ethan started watering the seeds. “Carter, would you like to help water.” “No.”
We went back to the shed to get some peat moss to put on top of the mounds where the seeds were buried. “Won’t it be fun to pick your own apples from your own trees? I asked. Ethan nodded his head smiling and working diligently to shovel the peat moss onto the mounds as Carter watched.
“Carter, did you ever hear the story of the “Little Red Hen?” I asked. Again, “No.” Well, I explained, the little red hen found some wheat and asked for help from the other farmyard animals to plant it, but they refused. When it had grown, the hen asked for help to harvest it and they said no. Then she made it into flour by herself and asked for help mixing the dough and baking it into bread and each time they said no. Carter looked at me pensively. “Well, I continued, “when that yummy bread was baked and cooling and the aroma started traveling out the window, all those farmyard animals who wouldn’t help came and wanted a piece of the delicious bread, and guess what? The little red hen said “no” since none of them had helped her with the hard work. Carter looks at me and says, “I don’t like apples anyway,” and rode around the tree.
The final phase of the apple seeds planting involved gathering some stones and two sticks to mark where they were planted. Ethan eagerly looked around for the stones. Carter looked at me, and I asked, “Are you sure you don’t want to help us gather the stones?” He says, “OK,” and rides his bike back and forth from where the stones were, giving us handfuls to mark the plantings. Ethan put a stick on one mound, and Carter gets off of his bike and put a stick on the other.
“We sure are going to enjoy some yummy apples when these trees grow,” I comment. Ethan smiles broadly and nods and so does Carter. Then Ethan and I hopped on our bikes and enjoyed a ride with Carter several times around the yard.