A Wonderous Thing

Believe it or not it is already the end of Wednesday; and what an egg-ceptional day it was! Campers watched in wonder as chicks pecked and pushed their way into our Tollgate world.

Twenty one days ago a clutch of eggs was placed into an incubator. The incubator is an incredibly controlled environment that mimics the work of a hen. The temperature range has to be between 99.5 and 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The humidity has been kept between 40 and 50 percent. We monitor the growth of the embryo by holding the egg up to an extremely bright light called a “candler.” Campers, why do you think we call our light bulb a candler?

We watched chickens peck and scratch in our barn yard; eating seeds, grass, and bugs. Chickens are omnivores – plant and animal eaters. We made hanging feeders for the wild birds by rolling pine cones in suet and a mix of seeds. Campers pointed out sunflower seeds and corn as part of the mix. Are these bird feeders for herbivores, omnivores or carnivores?

Today campers brainstormed about bird homes. Some birds lay camouflage eggs in ground nests. Other birds lay bright, blue eggs in tree top nests made of woven grasses. On our hike today we collected a wide variety of material that our campers will use to construct their own version of a bird nest.

Our campers took hula hoops with them into the forest to help them focus on a tiny space. We spent some time observing the forest floor and streams.

In between rain showers campers played games to build trust and teamwork. It was another wonderful day of growing friendships as we explored our farm, field, and woods.

The seed balls we made yesterday were dry enough to throw today!! A mixture of clay and compost will give our turf seed a strong start. The grasses will grow and help prevent the erosion that campers identified as an issue here at Tollgate.

Our garden made great progress today. Campers contributed to the raised beds by pulling weeds and preparing the space for planting. Snow is in the forecast, but we are hoping to direct sow cool weather crops, like peas and spinach by the end of the week. How much rain has your rain gauge collected since Monday? Each pepper group placed their rain gauge in a top secret location. We have been working on maps, riddles, and clues to guide the other groups to our secret collection of water.

Tomorrow the pepper groups will begin working on skits that they will present to the camp community on Friday afternoon. The skits are a creative interpretation of the campers’ week at Tollgate and we welcome parents to join us! We will gather in the large, historic barn at 3:25.

Today’s Garden Kitchen recipes received many mixed reviews. Most campers tried a new veggie or a favorite snack prepared in a different way. Many found that they liked it. In line with today’s theme is a savory pancake we call Veggie Bird Nest and a traditional deviled egg.

Deviled Egg

  • 12 eggs, hard boiled
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon apple cidar vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a dash of paprika for garnish (optional)

Once cooked, peel the outer membrane and the inner membrane (the shell and the thin, rubbery coating) off the albumen (white) and rinse egg in cool water. Cut the egg in half and remove the yolk.

In a mixing bowl mash the egg yolk. Add all other ingredients and mix well.

Using a small spoon, fill the egg whites with the yolk mixture. Sprinkle with paprika and additional parsley flakes if desired

Veggie Bird Nests

  • 2 leeks
  • 1/4 cabbage (about 3 cups after cut)
  • 4 – 5 medium potatoes (about 3 – 4 cups after shredded)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flower or gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of your fry pan

Cut the leaks and cabbage into matchsticks. Shred the potatoes. In a large bowl combine the vegetables, and squeeze until they are slightly wilted. Add in eggs, flour, salt, pepper. Mix until well coated.

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat and drizzle with oil. Working in batches, drop about 1/3 of a cup of the mixture into the pan. Shape in to circles and pat flat. Cook for about four minutes, or until golden brown before flipping and cooking another four minutes.

Remember to come prepared to play in the snow 🙂 See you tomorrow morning!

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