Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: RAIN (04/18/19)
- TITLE: Plant Project
By Marlene Custer
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Since Christmas they had been pouring over the annual seed catalogue to learn what might grow best in southeast Texas. They had even learned which plants repel insects. Putting their meager savings together they purchased the seeds and a bag of potting soil. Then they rushed home to plant the seeds in small paper cups.
The next day they began preparing the ground for the seedlings. They began by picking up and discarding rocks and stones. Then with hoe and spade they broke up large clumps of dirt.
After a while Thomas looked at Maria with furrowed brow. “This soil is not so good. I wish we had money for fertilizer.”
Maria stopped, wiping the sweat from her forehead. “Well, we don’t have the money, so we’ll just have to do the best we can.”
Thomas leaned on his hoe and jutted out his chin. “In school last year we read about Squanto. He helped the Pilgrims make the soil better by planting pieces of fish with seeds. Maybe mom would give us some fish for our garden.”
“I don’t think Mom has that much fish left over,” countered Maria. “We’ll work hard to keep the weeds out and water when it doesn’t rain much. The potting soil we used should help some.”
When their mother called them for dinner they scampered to put their tools away. “We can finish tomorrow,” Maria declared.
At school the next day Thomas kept glancing out the window when he wasn’t watching the clock. All he could think about was the little garden. If only he could afford to get something to enrich the soil.
That afternoon as the children hurried to finish hoeing and spading, Thomas felt something hit his shoulder. He jumped, looking up towards the sky. His mouth dropped open as he saw small fish raining down. “Whaaaat is going on?” Maria cried out as she began running towards the house covering her head with her hands.
As quickly as it started raining fish, it stopped. When Thomas looked around he saw a large area of their yard now covered with plenty of fish to fertilize their garden. Their father came out to see the strange phenomena. Then he helped the children till the fish into their garden.
After a few weeks the two children carefully planted the seedlings. Thomas chattered excitedly as they worked together. “That fish sure helped the soil in our garden.”
Maria’s eyes were dancing. “I can hardly wait to see our crop.”
All growing season Maria and Thomas worked faithfully to hoe, pull weeds, and water their plants when rain was scarce. They watched carefully for insects. When the day finally came to harvest their vegetables they chattered and scurried around with enthusiasm.
Maria and Thomas were so excited when the day came to go to the County Fair. When they found their display their eyes were huge as saucers as they saw their vegetables with ‘Best of Show’ ribbons. A photographer was waiting to get their picture for the paper. Grins covered their faces as they answered questions about their growing technique. Maria assured everyone that it took a lot of planning and hard work. Then Thomas added, “It was a lot of fun eating food we had grown ourselves, but the best part was the day it rained fish from the sky!”
*It has been reported that tornado waterspouts sometimes pick up small fish or frogs and carry them inland several miles before dropping them from the sky. One such incident occurred close to the southeast corner of Texas in 2017.
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