Animal Camp: Day 4

Somehow, Animal Camp is almost over! We have had an amazing four days so far and are looking forward to finishing the week strong tomorrow!

We took care of all of the farm animals this morning. We had a guest photographer from the Novi News come out to the farm today, so keep an eye out for photos of camp in next Thursday’s newspaper!


Red Peppers feeding the goat kids.

We decorated clay pots today as toad homes, and we talked about the beneficial services that toads provide in gardens. Toads munch on harmful insects (especially mosquitos!) and we love to see them hopping among our veggie plants. The toad homes can be tilted on their side and partially buried to provide the perfect shelter for our warty friends. Ask your camper about the difference between a frog and a toad!


Yellow Peppers decorating their toad homes.


We talked about a few different kinds of pathogens today, and campers made models of bacteria, viruses, and parasites using clay, pipe cleaners, balloons, straws and cotton balls. Zoonotic diseases are ones that can be transferred between humans and animals, and they are a concern for farmers and other people who work with animals. Ask your camper what the differences are between the different types of pathogens!

We made a Warm Tortellini and Vegetable Salad with Ms. Pam during Garden Kitchen. We used zucchini from the garden, and we also made ricotta cheese for the afternoon session.

The Red and Orange Peppers spent time with the farm’s horses learning about proper equine care. We talked about horse behaviors, anatomy, equipment, and many other aspects of riding and keeping horses. Each Red and Orange Pepper had a chance to go for a ride on Friday, our pony. Ask your camper how to tell the difference between a horse and a pony!

Mr. Alan shows the Orange Peppers Friday's teeth!

Mr. Alan shows the Orange Peppers Friday’s teeth!

Friday gets some love from the Red Peppers!

Friday gets some love from the Red Peppers!

We made marinara sauce with Ms. Pam this afternoon. We sampled it with spinach fettuccine noodles and the ricotta cheese that we made in the morning, and it was delicious!

Campers went for a hike around the farm and searched for amphibians and reptiles. Some groups had luck finding slimy or scaly friends in the woods. Ask your camper what amphibians and/or reptiles they saw!

Mr. Alan talked with us about veterinary medicine and caring for animals. Veterinarians play a crucial role in keeping animals healthy and happy. There are vets who specialize in farm/large animals, and there are vets who specialize in small animals and household pets. Today, Mr. Alan talked with the campers about the various services that veterinarians are able to perform, one of which is administering vaccines. Vaccines help protect animals and humans from many diseases and illnesses, and it’s important to follow proper procedures when working with medicines. Using store-bought whole chickens, Mr. Alan showed the campers how to use a syringe and a needle to give an intramuscular, subcutaneous, and intravenous injection. See if your camper remembers what each term means!


Mr. Alan explains how to use a syringe safely.


An Orange Pepper giving her patient a subcutaneous injection.


Filling a syringe.


Another subQ injection


Orange Peppers hard at work.


Mr. Alan talks about the importance of veterinarian medicine with the Green and Yellow Peppers.

We continued to work on our STEM Creature Creations this afternoon. We prompted campers to think about the lifecycle of their creatures and to create models at different life stages using PlayDough. Campers will be able to take home their models tomorrow!


Green Peppers choosing a habitat for their creatures.


Green Peppers creating models of different life stages.

We’re looking forward to some awesome camp-wide activities to wrap up the week tomorrow!

Marinara Sauce


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes or 2lbs fresh tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon salt
Fresh thyme, basil, oregano, or other herbs
1 Tbs. sugar
Parmesan cheese, to garnish, optional
Cooked pasta, to serve


  1. Sauté the onions and garlic: Warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Crush the tomatoes. (if using fresh prepare ahead of time)
  3. Add the bay leaf and fresh herbs: Add the bay leaf, the salt, and fresh herbs like thyme and oregano to the pan with the sauce. If you’re adding basil, wait to add it until the end of cooking.
  4. Simmer for about 20 minutes: Bring the sauce to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. Continue simmering until the sauce is slightly reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta.
  6. Serve the sauce: Remove the bay leaf and any herb stems. Serve the sauce immediately over pasta with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for about a week or can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Ricotta Cheese


4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons good white wine vinegar


  1. Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line the sieve with cheesecloth.
  2. Pour milk and cream into a stainless-steel or enameled pot. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in vinegar. Allow mixture to stand for 1 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (curds) and milky parts (whey).
  3. Pour mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 minutes until the whey has drained.
  4. Serve with bread or crackers.

Warm Tortellini and Vegetable Salad


1 9oz. package fresh 3 cheese tortellini
Cooking spray
1 tsp minced garlic
2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 cup chopped tomato
1 ½ Tbsp. pesto
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 2 Tbsp cooking liquid.
  2. While pasta cooks, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Heavily coat pan with cooking spray. Add garlic and zucchini; sauté 5 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Remove pan from heat; add pasta and tomato to zucchini mixture, tossing gently.
  3. Combine reserved 2 Tbsp cooking liquid, pesto, and salt in a small bowl. Drizzle over pasta mixture, tossing gently to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.
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