Mid-Winter Break Camp 2013 – Day 2

Another day is done, dear Peppers! But it was a memorable one, wasn’t it?!

It’s Murphy here, reporting to you again from my secret office at Tollgate Farm. First off, I would like to state how proud I am of all my young Peppers.  The weather conditions were a little harsher today with stronger winds, colder temperatures and even some snow!  But my fearless friends stood steadfast against the elements and made today another eventful, enjoyable and educational day on the farm.

My perky Peppers dove right into the action this morning.  Since I got to spend yesterday with the Orange Peppers, today was the Yellow Peppers’ turn to show me some lovin’! Just like everybody else, I need my breakfast every day. To make my formula this morning, Andrew volunteered to do the measuring while Sarah stirred the mixture until it was clump-free and Alana kept an eye on the temperature of the water to make sure it wasn’t too hot for me.  I loved seeing all the teamwork from my young Peppers! It’s rather inspiring!


Once all my Yellow Pepper friends made it into my barn, I knew what time it was. Time for food! Each tiny Yellow Pepper was able to assist me with my feeding this morning and I was so grateful.  I’m just 15 days old, so I still need all the help I can get.  That’s why Miss Mandy showed all the Peppers how to hold my bottle properly, nice and upright, keeping it above my head.  It makes feeding easier for me and I can’t complain about that!


While I was keeping the Yellow Peppers busy, Miss Rachel led the Orange Peppers to the Volunteer Center where they learned about soil and worms.  These Peppers got to get their hands dirty looking for worms and playing with different soils like peat, clay and sand.  Sydney and Madisyn had a blast searching for worms to put in the newly decorated Worm Bin.  Van and Aaron brought up some great questions about how water passes through different layers of the soil.  Good thing Miss Rachel knows so much about soil!  She explained how soil with tiny particles, like clay and sand, made it more difficult for water to pass through it, while particles like rocks allowed bigger spaces for water to move through.


At this point the campers were getting a little restless, so that could only mean one thing: it was time for Garden Kitchen!  My little friends were really in for a treat today. This morning’s recipe called for lots of fresh fruits like blueberries, strawberries (any berry really!) and bananas. It also contained yogurt, corn or rice Chex, some quick oats, a dash of honey and whipped cream. Yup, they even got to make their own whipped cream! It was so interesting watching Madisyn and Chloe layer one ingredient after the next into their cups…a lot like the different layers of the soil!

There were a few skeptics during this installment of the Garden Kitchen, though.  Some Peppers were unsure if they would like the yogurt parfait and whipped cream, but everyone gave it a try.  Timothy had a revelation saying, “This is actually really good!” and Sydney said, “Things I normally didn’t like, I ended up liking! The squash and potatoes from yesterday and today’s stuff too.” These are all amazing achievements, Peppers! Keep it up!

Next up for my young Yellow Peppers was a visit to my good friends and neighbors, the goats! Oh, you don’t know how badly I wanted to come out and play with all of you! I saw Andrew fill up their feeding cup with grain and knew all my little friends would soon be very well acquainted. Anyone who has food is a goat’s best friend. They will eat anything!

Our energetic campers got to spend some quality time with the three goats, Dorothy, Toto and their friend who was visiting from another farm.  All three were so excited to visit and play with new Peppers! They were jumping and frolicking all around their pen.  Silly Miss Mandy told the Yellow Peppers to pretend that they were part of the goat herd. To do this all the Peppers ran to the other side of the goat pen and sure enough, Dorothy and Toto took off after them. Laughing and giggling with joy, the Peppers raced back to their starting point where the goats arrived at their heels.


Exhausted Andrew, Lucy and Sarah collapsed into a pile of hay. Miss Mandy quickly notified them of the situation saying, “That’s hay, Andrew. That’s the goats’ food!” You could see the light bulb go off as he remembered yesterday’s lesson. “Oh, yeah, this isn’t straw!”


Lunchtime came around and brought up some interesting topics of conversation. One good thing about these large ears of mine is that I have really great hearing! Among talks about Disney princesses and honey bees, my name, Murphy, came up several times! Chloe said she would love to have a pet like me and Sydney said if she had a calf she would hire someone to build her a barn! Wow! I was quite flattered. I was blushing so much, I almost turned into a newspaper (black and white and read all over, get it!)!

After a short, relaxing story, it was time to learn about bees.  I have yet to meet any bees, but from what I hear they do some pretty neat things.  Did you know each colony has only one Queen Bee? That’s just one of the many facts the Orange Peppers found out about these sweet insects. They are commonly confused with Yellow Jackets, which are actually very different from Honey Bees.

My favorite part was watching my Pepper friends make small candles out of Mr. Alan’s beeswax. Each Pepper received a small sheet of perfectly crafted beeswax and rolled it up around a long wick.  Once finished, the girls decided to jazz their candles up and molded them into shapes. They looked so great!


The day came to an end with the campers’ favorite activity of the day. The Yellow and Orange Peppers joined forces (and ingredients) to make cornbread! It smelled so delightful; the least they could have done was save a piece for their dear old friend, Murphy! I eat corn too! Alas, I resorted to sniffing the sweet smell of warm bread and freshly made butter from a distance. Maybe another day.

Until tomorrow, Peppers!

Murphy the Calf



Today’s Recipes

Yogurt Parfait

  • Chex cereal
  • Quick oats
  • yogurt
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • bananas
  • honey
  • cream
  • sugar


  1. Crush up Chex cereal and Quick oats
  2. Slice blueberries, strawberries and bananas
  3. Pour a few ounces of cream into a small glass jar. Seal the lid tight and start shaking. This is how you make your whipped cream! Shake and shake and shake until cream starts becoming light and fluffy. Add some sugar to sweeten the cream and keep shaking. Don’t shake too much or the cream will turn into…butter!
  4. Layer the ingredients in your cup. The great thing about parfaits is that you can do whatever you want. Add your favorite fruits and grains and combine them however you like. Mix it all together or keep it in layers and enjoy! It’s up to you!


Cornbread and Butter

  • Jiffy cornbread mix
  • 1 egg
  • milk
  • cream
  • cooking spray


  1. Follow cooking instructions on the Jiffy mix box.  Combine milk, egg and mix until there are no clumps.
  2. Preheat oven/toaster oven
  3. Spray your pan so the cornbread doesn’t burn on the bottom.
  4. While cornbread is baking, we need to make our butter. Similar to making whipped cream, put a couple ounces of cream into a small jar. Butter takes a lot longer to make than whipped cream, so you need to shake it a lot. Pass the jar to a friend, make them shake it for a while. you can add a little salt to the cream to flavor the butter, but keep shaking. Soon you will see it transitioning into butter (I promise!).
  5. Check on the cornbread, takes about 10-15 minutes, or until a nice golden color. Just make sure not to burn it!
  6. Cut into sections and serve. Enjoy with your newly churned butter!
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