Gardeners' year of exploring culminates under tepees

Neighbors

June 10, 1999|By Judy Reilly | Judy Reilly,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IF YOU TOOK a drive on Uniontown Road over the weekend and thought you saw Indian tepees reaching toward the sky, your mind wasn't playing tricks on you.

The home of Mary Ellen and Walter Bay at the edge of Uniontown was the site of a campout inspired by nature and the lives of Native Americans. The campers were members of Carroll's Junior Gardeners, an offshoot of the Carroll Garden Club. Mary Ellen has been a club member for years, and this year she organized activities for the junior gardeners, ages 8-14.

"The theme of the year was Native Americans," Mary Ellen said. "I wanted the children to be in touch with the natural environment. There's so much plastic anymore."

To that end, the monthly meetings offered children a chance to make Indian blanket collages and create weavings on the looms Uniontown neighbor Lois Sebastian crafted, with natural dyes she produced for the wool from her daughter Lisa Sebastian's sheep. The year's activities culminated in the campout.

It was an overnight the kids will probably remember the rest of their lives, and one for which city kids would trade all their Nintendo games. They ate venison stew and Indian fried bread, hunted for arrowheads, and rowed a boat around the pond.

They sat around a campfire and listened to a story told by Joy Scott. They went on a scavenger hunt to spot the varieties of nature -- from a mockingbird's nest to the smell of wild honeysuckle to the distinct leaves of poison ivy.

Then they spent the night in a tepee, watching the stars and moon through the smoke hole in the top, and the ripples in the pond from the opening at the side.

Bay searched for an authentic tepee for a year, and through the garden club grapevine, discovered two under the watchful care of Bill Irwin, an expert on American Indian lore and a member of the Boy Scout Order of the Arrow. Irwin keeps the tepees on his Manchester farm and travels around the state, setting them up for Boy Scout functions and educating people about Native American life.

Irwin explained to the kids that the tepee is round, like the world, and the 27-foot poles connect the Earth to the sky, sending thoughts and dreams to the heavens.

"You always feel serene in a tepee," said Irwin, who sometimes sets one up on his property, build a fire in the middle, and feel in tune with the world again.

The kids agreed. Louis Sheppard said that he'd been waiting all week for the experience -- he'd never been in a real tepee before, only a fake one in a school play, and he liked the feeling of calm he had once he stepped inside.

Scott Davis sat cross-legged for a long time in the tepee, then observed, "It's outdoors, but it's indoors."

Bay was thrilled to have found a tepee and the expert knowledge of Irwin.

"It's wonderful what can be accomplished when the different groups cooperate," she said.

Junior gardeners participating in the weekend included: Kaitlin Brewer, Rachael Cunningham, Scott Davis, William Hoge, Leanne Hollinger, Thomas Kable, Cameron Loatz, Elizabeth Sebastian, Marcie Sebastian and Louis Sheppard.

Parents Peter Loatz and Alan Sheppard spent the night as well, and Irwin's son, Daniel, assisted with preparations.

Carroll Junior Gardeners information: 410-848-1015.

Yard sale at St. Luke's

So you never got around to spring cleaning? There's still time to clean out the closets and sell your treasures at the yard sale sponsored by St. Luke's Lutheran Church. The event will be held June 19. Spaces cost $10.

You'll be doing good, too. All proceeds benefit Kevin Treesy, a Frederick County man who has muscular dystrophy. Treesy's family is trying to pay off the van required to transport Kevin and an electric wheelchair, and area Lutherans are helping.

Each dollar raised will be matched by the Aid Association for Lutherans. The groups need to raise $40,000.

The congregation at St. Luke's is sponsoring the yard sale, and the sale of refreshments, sandwiches, and baked goods.

"One of the most remarkable things to have come from this [project]," said Pat Grimes, an organizer of the event, "is the response of our youth group. We told them they could keep half of the profits from their soft drink sale," she said, "but they've insisted on giving everything they make to Kevin's family."

The yard sale will take place from 8 a.m. to noon at the church on Route 75, between New Windsor and Union Bridge. Information: 410-635-2835.

Party at the pool

If these hot, sticky days have you running for cover, try holding a private pool party at the Taneytown Municipal Pool for your friends. The pool will provide lifeguards and offer the facility to groups from 9 a.m. to noon and 8: 30 p.m. to 11: 30 p.m. Sounds like a cool idea.

Information: 410-751-1044 or 410-751-1100.

Judy Reilly's Northwest neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 6/10/99

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