Spring Break Camp 2013 – Day 5

It’s a bittersweet day, little Peppers. We all hate to see you go, but we loved having you here at Tollgate Farm! Now, let’s reminisce on the day’s activities!

My Yellow Peppers started off their day with a visit from some sticky and slimy little crawlers. There is nothing more fascinating to our Peppers than playing in some dirt with a bunch of worms. As each camper dug around in the dirt to find their worms, Miss Mandy talked about their importance in nature. “It’s not even the size of your finger!” Sofia cried, holding onto the tiny specimen.

Sofia and her new friend

Once the Yellow Peppers had selected their worms and added them to their new worm bin, they had a chance to take a closer look. Miss Mandy got out the stereoscope, so all the Peppers took a peek. Jessica was the first of the Yellow Peppers to look through the lens. “Whoa,” she exclaimed, looking at the wiggly worm.

Jessica's turn

It was a melancholy day for chores. The goats and I knew that this would be our final day to spend with our new friends, so we vowed to make it the best day yet! By now, all our Peppers were professionals at milking. Sabrina loved it so much, once she was finished, she hopped right back in line to do it all over again!

Takumi went first today.

Angie and MurphyToday’s lessons focused on soil and different layers of the Earth, which are much like the layers we created in our fruit and yogurt parfaits! First, the Peppers added their homemade granola to the bottom of their cups. Then they layered yogurt, berries, bananas and raisins in whatever order their little hearts desired. While my campers were contemplating their ingredients, Miss Rachel got started on the whipped cream. Making whipped cream is very similar to making butter, except you add a little sugar! It was the perfect topping for a healthy, sweet treat!



Shortly after my buddies polished off their snacks, it was time to track some animals! The Orange Peppers headed out to the pond to test out their tracking skills. Along the way, my Peppers found all sorts of wild and crazy things. They saw old milkweed pods with their silky, stringy centers, miniscule flowers growing along the foot path and all sorts of tracks. Kat spotted some foot prints left by roaming geese and Ellie found the tracks of what appeared to be a small deer. Great detective work, friends!

Meeting on the dock.

The Peppers were so full of energy after lunch. Miss Mandy and Miss Rachel had special games for the wild Peppers to play outside. The Orange Peppers’ favorite was called Fox, Frog, Mosquito. Similar to the infamous rock, paper, scissors, the mosquito is prey to the frog, which is prey to the fox, which is prey to those pesky mosquitoes. Each team secretly decides which animal they are going to be and on the count of three everyone turns around as their designated animal. Whatever team ends up being the predator, chases after their prey to try and catch them. The Peppers loved it!



Garden Kitchen came to an end today with one last recipe and science experiment all rolled into one. Making ricotta cheese is so fun and surprisingly easy to do! Just make sure you heat the milk and cream to the appropriate temperature, which is 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the milk is warm enough, add the vinegar and watch what happens! The Peppers were so excited to see the liquid change into a solid right before their eyes. Not to mention, how delicious their cheese tasted! Takumi loved it, but that was not surprising since he liked everything. While his mouth was full, Laura cried out, “This is great!” which was enough confirmation for Mr. Alan and the rest of the Peppers.

Our Ricotta!

Cheese time!

With the day coming to a close, Orange and Yellow Peppers rounded up to reflect on the whole week. They shared about their favorite animals, chores, activities, games and recipes. The Peppers shared everything they had learned over the past five days. Some of their favorites were the little Bantam chicks, me (of course, silly!) and Fox, Frog, Mosquito. At the end of the day, our Peppers left Tollgate with new friends, more knowledge and loads of love and joy in their hearts.

What a wonderful day!

I am so proud of all my Peppers for all their hard work, their open minds and their curiosity. See you in the summer, friends!

Signing off,

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!


Ricotta Cheese

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons good white wine vinegar
  • cheesecloth
  • sieve


  1. Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen two layers of cheesecloth with water and line the sieve with the cheesecloth.
  2. Pour the milk and cream into a microwave safe bowl. Stir in the salt. Bring to 180 degrees F in the microwave, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for  one minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).
  3. Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl art room temperature for 20 minutes until the whey has drained.
  4. Serve with bread or crackers.


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