We had a really hot day at camp! Today we hatched out of our egg and became a caterpillar! When a butterfly lays an egg she has to make sure that it is on a leaf that the caterpillar will eat. Caterpillars will eat a lot right after they hatch because they grow so quickly. A caterpillar has an exoskeleton that will not grow with them so they will molt several times.
Just like any morning on the farm, we did chores. The chrysalis group milked a goat this morning. After they milked the goat they needed to weigh the milk to see how much we got from milking. We found out that we had eight pounds of milk! We wrote it down in the log book to track it. Then it was time to filter the milk into the pasteurizer. The filter is a sheet of paper that feels like a coffee filter but a little thicker. The metal ring holds it inside the funnel. It takes a few milkings to fill the pasteurizer so we didn’t have to start the machine after we filtered it.
We started building our bat houses today. First, we had to find a good location for them. Bat houses need to be about 15 feet above the ground to protect from predators, access to sunshine, and close to water so a mother bat doesn’t have to leave her young for long. Each group chose a few spots that they wanted their bat houses and after they are completed they will be hung up.
In garden kitchen, we made “blood” beet juice. Some bats will suck blood from animals, like livestock, so the juice was to show that different bats eat different things. We used carrots, apples, ginger, and beets in our juice. After we juiced we looked at the pulp from the fruit and vegetables, which is all the fiber.
After we decided places for their bat houses, then it was time to build them. We started by practicing to use the drills by drilling holes and screwing in screws. After we completed them we painted them with brown paint so the heat would be attracted to make the houses warm. The bats like their houses to be about 95-101 degrees. The bat houses have grooves on the inside for bats to grip on to with their feet while they sleep.
We went out to the pond where we collected water and studied it. The organisms in the pond’s ecosystem are broken down into three categories: producers, consumers, and decomposers. The producers are the plants that grow in the pond like phytoplankton, which are microscopic algae. The consumers include invertebrates (animals without backbones) like centipedes and zooplankton as well as vertebrates such as fish and frogs. Decomposers are the bacteria and algae that break down the dead plants and animals to release the nutrients back into the water and air for the plants to absorb. There were so many snails in the water today!
We built “bat caves” and sat in them while the leaders read stories about bats. We listened to bat noises and learned more about echolocation. Just like humans, bats can’t see in the dark so they use sound to navigate to find food and avoid trees. They can also use it to communicate to other bats. There are nine bats that can be found in Michigan. They are all micro-bat varieties that feed solely on insects. The brown bat is the most common bat found in Oakland County.
In morning garden kitchen we made spider oat balls. We used sun butter to use as a paste to hold the oat balls together and we mixed raisins in the oats too. Spiders are one of the many bugs that bats will eat.
Remember to bring your permission slips for the beach on Thursday!
Garden Kitchen Recipes
Blood Beet Juice
2 pounds beets (about 6 medium), trimmed, peeled, cut into 1′ pieces
1 pound carrots (about 4 large), trimmed, peeled, cut into 1′ pieces
1 Gala or Empire apple (about 8 ounces), cored, cut into 1′ pieces
1 Granny Smith apple (about 8 ounces), cored, cut into 1′ pieces
1 3′ piece fresh ginger, peeled, chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Add ingredients to juicer. Then stir after all ingredients have been juiced.
Eat like a bat: Spider Oat Balls
1 cup (dry) oatmeal
2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup sunbutter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed or wheat germ
1/2 cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional)
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
1 Tbsp. chia seeds (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1″ in diameter.) Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Makes about 20-25 oat balls.