Bats, Bees, and Butterflies: Week 2, Day 3

Hi everyone!

Today was a little cold but it was still fun!

Today we caterpillars reached our full height and weight, so we spun ourselves into a chrysalis. Though it may look like I’m just resting on the outside, I’m busy at work inside while my tissues, limbs, and organs change from a caterpillar to a butterfly. You would think that kind of change would work up an appetite, but we don’t eat during the chrysalis stage!

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Today we started with Inquiry Fish, which is a program through 4-H which lets them explore engineering type activities by building a device to feed fish. They only had limited materials, so it took a lot of communication and cooperation.

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We had a session on American Sign Language today and learned the alphabet and some basic signs. A huge thank you to Sandria Graham, a nutrition educator in Wayne County, for teaching us the session!

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Today – since it was bee day – we made potato pancakes. Potatoes don’t need to be pollinated by bees. This is because they are root vegetables. Tomatoes can self pollinate and sometimes don’t need bees either. We played hot potato and once they got the “potato” then they got to guess if their favorite fruit or vegetable needed bees to be pollinated.

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Today we learned the process of beekeeping. We saw a real bee suit and the inside of a bee box. We used beeswax to make candles. The candles were a little difficult but as soon as we warmed the wax up they cracked less. Each group tried clover honey sticks and the orange group tried star thistle honey to compare the two. We learned that bees give us three things: honey, wax, and propolis. Propolis is used in beehives as a sealant for small holes. Humans collect it from the hive because it has a lot of antibacterial properties and can be used as a treatment for allergies.

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Can you find the frog in this picture?

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We went on a hike to find milkweed and we found a lot of cool things. We found many different types of caterpillars and even a little frog!

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In the afternoon, we talked about bumblebees and honeybees. Bumble bees are native to the United States but honey bees were brought in from South and Southeast Asia. The oldest fossil and sign of honeybees was found in Nevada and is about 14 million years old.

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During the pollination game, we used a piece of cloth with velcro on it to pick up ping pong balls with velcro to symbolize picking up pollen. Some groups even decided to have challenges with teams. They would tie the cloth on their arm or their head then have to pick up a certain amount of “pollen.”

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On the color hike we explored why bugs, animals, and plants are different colors. The viceroy and monarch butterfly have similar colors because it is to protect the viceroy. The monarch butterfly is poisonous to animals because of the milkweed it eats. This is true with other plants and animals also.

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Finally in garden kitchen we made cornbread! Bees help pollinate the corn and many other things that we enjoy. We used the grinders to grind up the corn for cornmeal. It made the cornbread nice and crunchy!

Tomorrow is beach day so please wear your swimsuits under your clothes and bring an extra pair!

Garden Kitchen Recipes

Potato Latkes 

  • 1 -1/2 pounds russet potatoes peeled
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying

In a food processor grate the potatoes. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and transfer potatoes to the sieve. Set sieve over a bowl, twist cheesecloth into a pouch, squeezing out some moisture. Let mixture drain for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour off liquid from the bowl but leave the white potato starch that settles in the bottom of the bowl.

To that starch add shallots, eggs, flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt and freshly ground pepper. Return drained potatoes to this mixture and toss to combine.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking pan with paper towels. When you are ready to eat, in a large skillet heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium high heat until hot. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of potato mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes a side; latkes should be golden and crisp on both sides. Eat right away or keep warm in oven.

Cornbread 

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus butter for baking dish
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8-inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk, and butter. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the cornmeal mixture and fold together until there are no dry spots (the batter will still be lumpy). Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.

Bake until the top is golden brown and tester inserted into the middle of the corn bread comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the cornbread from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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