Spring Break Camp 2013 – Day 2

Cheers to another day at Tollgate Farm!

We had so much fun today, didn’t we, Peppers? Murphy the Calf here, and boy was I glad to see you all this morning! It is so nice to see so many bright and smiling faces. What a great way to start my day!

I had a front row seat to all the entertainment this morning as Miss Rachel, Miss Claudia and Mr. Nicholas showed the Orange Peppers how to milk a goat. Jenna, our newest animal friend to arrive at Tollgate Farm, got the royal treatment. Each Orange Pepper got a chance to test their milking skills. First off, Mr. Nicholas demonstrated how to properly grab the teat with your thumb and pointer finger and gradually squeeze with the rest of your fingers. The Orange Peppers caught on so quickly! They actually collected a good amount of milk (but don’t try anything on me, kiddos!).

Lining up to milk, Jenna.

Ellie's turn!

While the Orange Peppers were busy tending the goats, the Yellow Peppers had a chance to stretch their legs outside. The strategic game of Wrens and Jays is a camp favorite and this year was no exception. Clever little Peppers took time hiding their nests in crafty spots all over the children’s garden. The Wrens used the maze, bridges, rocks and long grasses to help disguise their nests from the scheming Jays. The Wrens learned how to use camouflage to protect their nests and the Jays learned how to be patient.

Eager Peppers

The perfect hiding spot

Next up, all the Peppers were corralled for the next activity of the day. It was time for the Maple syrup tour! With the Maple syrup season winding down, this would be one of the last tours of the season. My little Peppers lucked out! Mr. Roy, the farm manager, took the Peppers out into the Sugar Bush to talk sap.

Go, Amanda!

Mr. Roy took the group out to identify different maple trees that were adequate for tapping. The Peppers found three different good-sized maples to tap. The first tree didn’t show immediate signs of sap, but the second tree was a different story completely. The Peppers hit the jackpot! Sap was dripping out of it! Mr. Roy had to hurry to put in the spile with tubing and the bucket. Curious Peppers dabbed their fingers in the wet tree sap to sneak a quick taste. “It tastes like sweet water,” Takumi said. Many of the Peppers were pleasantly surprised to find out that the sap was not as sweet and syrup-like as they thought.

Mr. Roy in the Sugar Shack.

Next stop was the sugar shack, where operations were in full swing. I could see the steam puffing out of the Sugar Shack all the way from my barn! Mr. Merle was inside manning the machine. The Peppers got to experience first-hand how Maple syrup is made. The sheer aroma of the Sugar Shack was enough to make you want pancakes!

This is where the syrup comes out!

The syrup grading scale.

With visions of sugar in their heads, the Peppers trekked back to the activity center to gear up for Garden Kitchen.  The poppers were polished and plugged in waiting to make some popcorn! The Peppers looked on in astonishment watching the kernels fight to break free. Once all the kernels were ready, each camper got a scoop of popcorn and cup of tollgate syrup. “I could make this at home!” Morgan exclaimed. By the end of Garden Kitchen, all the plates and cups were licked clean! You would think they had hooves or something!

Yellow Peppers like it too.

After lunch, my young campers took a visit to see some of my good friends, the chickens. They hung out in the volunteer center with a few of my feathery friends and learned all about eggs. The Peppers listened intently as Miss Mandy explained the differences between the yolk and the albumin, more commonly known as the egg white. The Peppers even had a chance to interact with Moseby, our resident rooster and one of our hens. Each camper felt their soft feathers, scaly feet and smooth beaks. They marveled at the sight of all the egg-xamples Mr. Alan’s crew brought in. There were not only chicken and duck eggs, but also beautiful goose, emu and ostrich eggs that were drained and kept for educational purposes at the farm.


All our eggs in a basket

When the Peppers were done egg-sperimenting they headed back to Garden Kitchen where they began making their last recipe of the day. Some of my Peppers had never had breakfast burritos before, so this was a record breaking day at camp. Yellow and Orange Peppers added spinach, red and green peppers and cheese to their burritos. Mr. Alan warmed up the tortillas on the hot burner and it was burrito building time! My Peppers decided which ingredients they wanted to try and ate away! What a wonderful way to end a great day on the farm.

Thanks so much for listening, Peppers! I can’t wait to see you all tomorrow!

Murphy the Calf


Today’s Recipes

Popcorn and Maple Syrup

  • Popcorn popper
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Oil
  • Maple syrup


  1. This one is really simple. Add the kernels and some oil to the popcorn popper. not too much oil, but enough to cover the bottom.
  2. Turn on and wait for the popcorn to pop! Listen to the popping; turn off the popper when there is 3 seconds between each pop. You can count it out!
  3. Microwave syrup or a few seconds or until it becomes a little runny.
  4. Put popped corn into bowls and drizzle syrup over the top. Enjoy!


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!

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