Mid-Winter Break Camp 2013 – Day 3

Hello my little chilly Peppers!

It was pretty brisk out there today, bbuurrrrrrr! I almost froze my little nose off! Just kidding, of course, but good thing I had lots of kind and caring Peppers looking after me and all my friends on the farm today. That’s right, it’s Murphy again, your calf corespondent here at Tollgate Farm. Today’s camp theme was “Keeping Warm” which seemed fitting considering Mother Nature’s questionable temperature choices as of late.

The Orange Peppers began their day with a visit to my barn. I keep getting all this attention; it feels so good! I had some other new visitors in my barn today too. The Orange Peppers decided to bring my friends, the goats, over to see me. The weather was so cold outside that we all decided it would be nice if the goats spent some time indoors. And you know me; I don’t mind the extra company! Sydney did a great job of leading Toto into the barn, and the rest of the goats were very appreciative that they were given the chance to warm up a little bit too!


Chloe's turn!

While the Orange Peppers were outside doing morning chores, the Yellow Peppers were inside preparing for their first visit to the Garden Kitchen. Today’s recipes looked extra special. My little Yellow Peppers got to make breakfast burrrr-itos! Just like every other camp day, my Peppers had to prepare their food first before they could start cooking. They got out their cutting boards and knives and began chopping all kinds of peppers (not to be confused with Peppers!). And what a fantastic job they did! These campers are so inspiring! Some had never even used these kitchen utensils before, but they were trying and learning and becoming professionals, it was moo-velous!

That looks great, Sarah!

The Peppers took eggs from our chickens, warmed up their small tortillas and added some sausage as well. Ava said it was one of her favorite recipes so far!

After snacking, the Yellow Peppers trekked up to the conference center for some (not-so) quiet time. Miss Mandy selected some entertaining books for story time and the pleasant little Peppers even got to drink hot cider! If that doesn’t warm you from the inside out, then nothing will! Soon, the young Yellow Peppers were laughing and dancing and full of energy again.

Is that a cartwheel I see?

Even though the weather outside was fairly frigid, that didn’t stop the Orange Peppers from having some fun. A camp favorite is the game Wrens and Jays. They were introduced to this game the first day of camp and had wanted to play it every day since then. The Orange Peppers took an extra long hike to the forest at the very back of the property. There they found hiding spots for their “nests” and learned the importance of being resourceful and vigilant. When the Peppers kept losing their hard-earned food to the Jays, they quickly learned how to adapt to their environment to make sure that would not happen again. My smart little Peppers!

Who needs baby bird food?








The next activity after lunch brought the Yellow and Orange Peppers together at last. Both groups met down in the volunteer center to go over today’s lesson about chickens. Learning about chicks and chickens is almost always a crowd-pleaser here at Tollgate Farm. This year was no exception.  The Peppers were lucky enough to be able to interact with not one, but two chickens during today’s lesson. The chickens at Tollgate are called Buff Orpingtons and they are the most popular breed of backyard chickens. They are often known for having the sweetest personalities and a great relationship with children.  The Peppers learned about the various parts of the egg and the vocabulary that goes along with it. Miss Mandy and Miss Rachel taught them the difference between fertilized and unfertilized eggs, incubation and hatching. Did you know, Chicken eggs take 21 days to hatch? That’s not very long at all!

Very nice, Sydney.

Not only did the Peppers get to pet and interact with the chickens, they also got a chance to observe and compare different size eggs. These eggs were drained and properly preserved for educational purposes, of course! My personal favorite was the ostrich egg. It was the size of my head, and I have a rather large noggin!

See anything good?

See anything good?

The Peppers spent the rest of the lesson experimenting with chicken eggs, food coloring and vinegar. The neat thing about combining the eggs with vinegar is the chemical reaction that occurs. The vinegar helps to dissolve the calcium that the egg shell is composed of. They will be able to see the results tomorrow morning!

Back in the Garden Kitchen, the Yellow Peppers put on their creative hats. On the menu this afternoon was sushi. Sushi..? You got it! Not just any kind of sushi, vegetable sushi! The Peppers took pinches of paprika and combined that with cream cheese. While some Peppers were mixing, other Peppers were slicing the veggies. They worked with big, orange carrots and fat cucumbers. Mr. Alan helped the Peppers slice the vegetables into long, thin strips. Then each Pepper used the cream cheese mixture like glue and layered each ingredient on top of one another. Carrot, cream cheese, cucumber, cream cheese, carrot…and so on (Phew, that was a tongue twister!). So, once finished, the strips get rolled up into small cylinder looking, sushi-like pieces. The Peppers popped those pieces into their mouths as fast as they could. They were both beautiful and delicious!

Ava's getting excited.

And voila! Veggie sushi!

Miss Rachel’s group had something a little different planned for their snack. Their recipe called for a few more ingredients: nuts, pretzels, salt, butter and most importantly Chex! By now you can probably guess what they made. Chex Mix! Crunchy, salty and nutty, just like all of my peppers (I would know; I have licked most of them by now!). It was the cherry on top of a wonderfully delicious sundae-kind-of day.

Well, that’s all from me today, dear Peppers! Good night!

Murphy the Calf


Today’s Recipes

Breakfast Burritos

  • corn tortillas
  • eggs
  • cheese
  • vegan sausage (cooked)
  • peppers
  • spinach
  • tomatoes
  • butter
  • salt and pepper


  1. Get out your frying pan and griddle/stove top burner.
  2. Whisk eggs, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. You can also add a little milk for lighter, fluffier eggs.
  3. Chop sausage, peppers, tomatoes and spinach and place in separate bowls.
  4. Put small amount of oil/butter/cooking spray in pan to heat.
  5. When pan is hot, add eggs and stir.
  6. Place some of the egg on your corn tortilla and then add your desired ingredients. For fun, try new ingredients for different flavor profiles, like spinach and feta cheese or tomatoes, peppers and hot sauce! The choice is yours.
  7. Roll burrito and eat!


Chex Mix

  • 3 cups corn Chex
  • 3 cups rice Chex
  • 3 cups wheat Chex
  • 1 cup nuts
  • 1 cup pretzels
  • 1 cup garlic flavored bagel chips
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1.5 teaspoons seasonsed salt
  • 0.75 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 0.5 teaspoon onion powder


  1. In large microwavable bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and bagel chips and set aside. Make sure pretzels and chips are broken up into smaller, manageable pieces. In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High for 40 seconds, or until melted.  Stir in seasonings and pour over cereal mixture. Stir until mixture is evenly coated.
  2. Microwave uncovered on High for 5-6 minutes, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes.
  3. Spread on paper towels to cool.
  4. Store in an airtight container.


Vegetable Sushi

  • cucumbers
  • large carrots
  • cream cheese
  • paprika
  • toothpicks


  1. With a peeler, peel carrots and cucumbers lengthwise into long pieces.
  2. Lay long strips of carrot and cucumber on your plate. Spread some cream cheese across the long sections.
  3. Once cream cheese is nice and even, begin rolling at one end. Roll all the way and use the toothpick to secure once you are finished.
  4. Eat and enjoy!
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