Today was our “settling the land” day so we learned about things we can get back from the land.
We went on a maple sugar hike in the woods. There we identified what kind of traits maple trees have so we could accurately identify them. Maple trees have rough bark as they get older, horizontal tree branches, and the leaves are often hand shaped. Maple trees produce a sap that can be collected when it’s cold during the night then above freezing during the day so the sap can flow. This typically happens between early March and late April. With modern advances, a large sugarbush (what the area of sap producing maple trees is called) they use plastic tubing instead of buckets to get the sap to the collection tank. After it is collected it is boiled until the water is out and it becomes maple syrup. It is finally ready to be bottled and used for our pancakes!
On the foraging hike, we found two of Tollgate’s most commonly found edible “weeds” in the garden. We found lamb’s quarters and purslane. Lamb’s quarters is known for it’s purifying qualities. It restores nutrients to the ground and can spread quickly where the ground is contaminated. It has a very strong leafy taste, similar to kale and chard. Purslane is another plant that can survive in poor soil conditions. It can be eaten raw or cooked, and it is great sprinkled over a salad or soup. The leaves have omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart attacks and strengthen the immune system.
We made “three sisters” soup today. These vegetables grow really well together. The beans absorb the nitrogen from the air and convert it to nitrogen, which keeps the ground fertile. The beans use the corn stalks to wrap around and grow. The squash helps cover the ground and prevent weeds. In the afternoon, we went out to the garden and saw where the beans, onions, squash, and corn grow.
So to help keep Tollgate strawberry patches safe for the next strawberry season, we made strawberry rocks. We went out and found our small rocks then painted them red. After they were red, we painted green on the top for the leaves. Once they were dry, we used a black permanent marker to make our “seeds” of our strawberry. Then our beautiful strawberry rocks were done!
Today we tie dyed our camp shirts. I can’t wait to see all the cool patterns everyone made on their shirts!
We practiced canoeing today on land. Tomorrow we will be getting in canoes in the water. To get in the canoe you need to stay low and always have three points of contact to be most stable. The stroke we learned was the J-stroke and it is called that from the J motion it makes when the paddle is pushed away from the canoe.
We had an activity called build-a-town where they planned their own city as a group. They brainstormed that if they put their grocery store by their farm then the veggies could be fresh. One group even talked about the importance of putting their town hall in the middle of their town.
Remember that tomorrow is canoeing so make sure you have your extra pair of clothes!
Garden Kitchen Recipe
- 1 onion
- 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ acorn squash
- 1 fresh corn cob
- Cup of frozen lima beans
Saute onions and garlic in a soup pot until translucent
Add vegetable stock
Chop acorn squash into small, diced pieces so that it will cook quickly
Shear corn from fresh corn cob
Add ingredients to soup to cook (add corn last)
Add rugged herbs like thyme and rosemary
When nearly complete, add fragile herbs like basil
Season with salt and pepper to taste