After starting out Thursday with the 4-H pledge, our week-long wild winter campers couldn’t wait to get back to the forest to continue the design of their group shelter known as the Pepper Lounge. Campers learned that if stranded in the wilderness, a shelter may be one of their first needs.
To get to the sugar bush, campers donned snowshoes or cross country skis and journeyed across the fields and down the lane. Tracking through the streambeds and on to their forest refuge, campers used teamwork and tenacity to add to their shelter while others worked diligently with shovels clearing their very own ice rink.
It wouldn’t be a morning on the farm without a visit to our beloved animal friends, and doing our part to help care for them with morning chores. Over the course of the week, the campers have developed a strong bond with our chickens. They’ve also shown an interest in the chickens’ eggs and how they develop, which led us to dive into the topic of embryology and learn about the eggs of various birds – including ostriches!
During chores, campers collected six fresh eggs from the chicken coop. With the fresh eggs from the farm and some additional eggs, we made scrambled eggs and homemade hash browns for morning snack. We took this opportunity to compare the color of the farm fresh egg yolks to the store purchased egg yolks. The farm fresh yolks were definitely a deeper golden color than the store purchased ones. The campers really enjoyed this snack of eggs and hash browns as a refuel after spending time in the woods working on their various projects.
Today’s theme was ‘People in Winter’, so we spent the afternoon exploring how people have used their resources, now and in the past, to survive the winter cold. Campers first learned the age-old skill of candle-dipping. The first candles were called ‘rush lights’ – reeds dipped into fat. Natural fibers and beeswax have been used for hundreds of years for candle making.
Campers also investigated how humans have used wool from fiber from animals to help them stay warm in the winter. How does wool become a wool sweater? First trying our hand at carding and the use of drop spindles, we then looked at the nature of wool and the tiny barbs found on the fibers that lock together when agitated to form dense warm felted wool. A rainbow of felted bracelets or keychains formed a beautiful pastel rainbow as they dried for us to take home.
Popcorn with dried apples and figs were the afternoon snack. The figs were very interesting considering how many seeds they contained. Following this snack, the afternoon weather was calling the campers back outside to play in the snow. There were various snow formations and tunnels created by the campers on “President Hill” while other campers enjoyed sledding down the Tollgate hill in the warm afternoon sunshine.
Lots of team building fun was had with our ‘funderbird’ today as we successfully spelled out T-O-L-L-G-A-T-E! Before heading home, we joined together to reflect on our camp day, looking at the peak moments that brought us joy and the challenges we overcame.