Monday, June 23, 2014

Turtle Hill Farm Camp

The girls spent four days last week at farm camp at our favorite farm, Turtle Hill*.  This is the land and the people who grow our chickens and our eggs and many of our vegetables, and they happen to be close friends as well!  I was there for drop-off and again on Friday to have lunch with Eliza on her (gulp) twelfth birthday, so I got to take a few pictures of the amazing things these kids got up to...

campground kitchen
the campground and firepit
Farm chores - gathering eggs, watering and feeding the goats and chickens, milking, harvesting and planting.  They also helped the new baby goats nurse with their surrogate mama (their auntie, Ruth June).
Newborn baby goats, Raspberry and Blackberry!
Eliza and Blackberry

Making salve: identifying and wildcrafting the plants (plantain, comfrey, chamomile, yarrow) and making a salve using oil and beeswax.  Ours is already in heavy use with summer's bug bites.

choosing essential oils for the salve
Building raised garden beds: the kids helped measure the boards, learned how to use a hatchet to make corner stakes and a hammer to pound them in and an electric drill to put it all together. It was hot work, but they did it with enthusiasm!

building raised garden beds

Building rocket stoves: I needed Ani's help with this explanation...they took one large tin can and two smaller tin cans, cut a hole in the large can and fit a smaller can (minus its top and bottom) into the hole.  The second small can was set inside the large can, and fitted to a cut in the first can.  Underneath and around the inside cans are sand and rocks  (see photo below).  Using straw, small twigs and sticks with tree sap on them, the kids built fires and some managed to boil water in a pan set on top! Ani was "so pleased with the whole package!" 

Ani and Riley problem-solving
yes! it's working!!
Building a bridge on the trail: this required a lot of teamwork and communication to get the materials down the trail to the creek.  Ani says, "There were at least three people to a long board. The little boards were carried in a wheelie cart.  Once the materials were there, we lay out the long boards and put the little boards on top, drilling holes, and screwing the boards in place. The hardest part was carrying everything down.  Once it was finished it was SO bouncy but also sturdy. (It could probably hold up to ten people!)"

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And yes, I said that our daughter, Eliza, turned 12 at camp. Holy wah.

last chore of camp: eating a bowl of homemade ice cream!
We arrived on Saturday for a tour of their projects and a potluck dinner to celebrate the Solstice, and guess who met us there?  Dan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (exclamation points courtesy of Anika) He's finally back from his month away...

Checking out a drawer-full...of baby birds!

the traditional Solstice haircut!

Throw in some slip-and-slide, evening hikes to the cave, and ghost stories around the campfire, and you have a full-fledged summer camp to remember! Happy Summer!

*Our friends at Turtle Hill, Jen and Michelle, just launched a Kickstarter campaign (click link to get there!) to raise funds for a workshop that would house not only tools but classes on sustainability, car maintenance and of course, farm camp projects! Please check them out if you have a passion for this kind of education and community-building. Thank you!

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