Splish, Splash, Having a Blast!

Hi Campers, it was such a fun first day at Tollgate Farm Spring Break Camp. Water was everywhere!

Today our campers build a simple rain gauge that will collect water all week long. Construction was simple and we used items you probably have around your house! Here is a link to the directions in case you would like to make one at home and compare your results to what we collect on our farm. http://achieve.weatherbug.com/brainstorm/activities/makingaraingauge.pdf We will be checking them daily. There is quite a bit of rain in our forecast; how much rain do you predict we will get tonight? Ask your camper about their watershed. Where will all of the rain will go?

Water is vital to all living things! Our campers provided fresh clean water to the goats, sheep, and chickens as part of the morning animal chores. Each day we will look forward to learning about how to care for a different species of farm animal.

We spent quality time in our forest today learning about vernal ponds. At first glance the water did not appear to be active, but a closer look showed us that there were many different living things. Some were long and “S” shaped. Others had lots of legs. Some were red! Our stereoscope helped us to get up close and personal.

Secret pools are not the only thing that make the Tollgate forest special. A small portion of our woods is called a Sugar Bush. There is an amazing tree that grows here. It is so special that we celebrate it each spring; the Sugar Maple! Campers learned that the delicious treat, maple syrup is made in the early spring time from the Maple Tree. We discussed how to identify the trees when all of their leaves are on the ground. Campers learned about the special tools that are used and how they have changed over time.

Today in Garden Kitchen, both of our snacks featured Tollgate maple syrup. This morning we made Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

For the “Crisp” mix together:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup maple syrup

For the filling mix together:

  • 1 pint strawberries, washed, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 stalk rhubarb, diced
  • ¼ cup unrefined cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice

Spread the fruit mixture in a 8 inch square baking pan. Spoon the oat mixture evenly over the top of the fruit. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until the fruit mixture is bubbly and the crisp is golden.

This afternoon in Garden Kitchen we talked about the power of water! Did you know that a seemingly dry kernel of popcorn actually has a very tiny drop of water in it? When enough heat is applied to make the water boil the seed coat explodes!! The fluffy part that we like to eat is the starch that would feed the plant as it begins to germinate or grow.

Campers used a special tool to pull the corn kernels off the cob. This corn was grown at Tollgate last summer. Each bite was then doused in delicious maple syrup. It was plate licking good!

There were some challenges in getting our photos uploaded. Check back tomorrow for more!!

Drop off and pick up will be in the upper barn Tuesday morning. Be sure to dress in warm and water proof layers. 🙂


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