All Creatures Great and Small

The precipitation keeps coming and our campers keep going! The puddle hopping was prime today as we ducked from the driving snow and rain. Today we focused on the smallest of Tollgate’s agricultural critters; insects and annelids.

The Yellow Peppers did a wonderful job leading camp in the flag ceremony to start our day.


Campers dug in and deconstructed a vermicomposting system. “Vermi” has Latin origins in “Vermes,” meaning worms. In this system we are composting, or breaking down organic material with worms. We provide the worms with a warm, dark, moist place to live and lots of food. The worms provide us with poop. We call the poop castings. Our worms are a variety called Red Wigglers. If they lived in the wild we would find them dwelling in the leaf litter on a forest floor. Because of this, we do not add soil to the worm bin. We fill it with vegetable and fruit scraps and shredded newspaper. Ask your camper how these worms are different from the worms we have been seeing on our paths. How are they the same?

Knowing that chickens have natural instincts that guide their diets, the Orange Peppers fed a worm to our chicks. The chicks were interested for a little bit, but then let the worm crawl away.

We had a special visitor today who shared with us what it is like to take care of honey bees. Goats, chickens, and cows are not the only animals on our farm who depend on the farmer for special care throughout the seasons. Mr. Tim shared with us that the bees pay close attention to the weather and patterns in nature. They react and plan accordingly. Campers had many questions about bee keeping equipment and life cycles.

It was a great day to continue our work on maps, riddles, and clues. The Orange Pepper rain gauge is full to the brim, but not because of the rain!

The Yellow Peppers continued their nest building project. Birds have a tough job! Ms. Melanie read the book, Mama Built a Little Nest and campers learned that nests come in all shapes and sizes to accommodate the young they house.  

We welcomed three more chicks to the Tollgate flock today. One hatched while we were at camp!

Campers are really looking forward to performing their skits and songs tomorrow. We have so much to look forward to on our final day. Green Peppers will lead us off at 3:25 in the barn.

Red Peppers Sing a Recap of the Day

Orange Peppers play a crazy game of Night at the Museum while waiting for their turn in Garden Kitchen. This was the Biology Exhibit.

Orange Peppers cleaning goat pen

Caterpillar Lettuce Wraps

  • Butter lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Bell Peppers
  • Fresh Basil
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Hummus
  • Kosher salt

Wash and dry your butter lettuce leaves, cilantro, and basil leaves. Wash and julienne cucumbers and carrots – cut them into long, thin strips. Wash the bell peppers and slice into thin rings.

Assemble the wraps with a smear of hummus and an assortment of veggies. Roll into the shape of a caterpillar.

Homemade Hummus

  • 1 15 oz can of garbanzo beans
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 drops sesame oil or sesame seeds for garnish

Blend garbanzo beans, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, salt, and sesame oil in a food processor. Slowly pour the liquid from the garbanzo beans into the mixture as it blends until desired consistency is achieved.

Blueberry Oat Muffins

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats, uncooked
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line twelve muffin cups with paper baking cups.

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, oats, sugar, and baking powder. In a small bowl combine milk, oil, egg, and vanilla until well blended.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients all at once. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fill muffin cups ¾ full and bake about 18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

The After Campers sharing in a Goat Circle. Featured are Dexter and Peter.

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