Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Change in the Weather!

The perfect storm this week brought us much colder weather.

And rain.

In spite of the cold and wet we spent the first part of class separating the weeds from the plants.  Maybe if we stood shoulder to shoulder and only weeded a few square feet each, we would keep each other warm and finish so quickly that our fingers wouldn't have time to get cold.

We gave it a valiant try.

It isn't easy to play find the cilantro when your fingers are numb. 

MacKenzie takes a break from all that discerning work to think for a minute.

Soon we moved on to sifting compost.

 And spreading it in a second bed for the garlic.

Noah pounded in supports for winter coverings for the beds. 

Our photographer for the day was Sarah.

Here is some of what she saw around the farm.

Pink flowers.

The fountain project, still waiting to be done.  Hopefully we'll get to work on it during the shed raising weekend (Nov. 17 and 18).

Moonflower and Sunshine, new hens visiting us courtesy of Ennio in 4th grade

Baby lettuces will soon be ready for picking.

Silas and Finigan graze nearby

Fall is definitely here.

Blueberry bush dressed up for fall.

Red berries.
This huge pin oak dominates the pump area and provides cooling shade in summer.

Bee balm.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Barn-raising at Emerson Farm

OK, so we're actually raising a shed, but we still need all of the community support we can get.  Please come and join us on Saturday, Nov. 17 and/or Sunday, Nov. 18 between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM as we rebuild the much needed shed at Emerson Farm.  The shed-raising will be directed by Keith Bartholomew.  Architectural plans for the shed are being drawn up by HS Junior Anthony Day who is interning with Mr. Bartholomew.

We need people with building skills, cooks who are willing to help provide a hearty meal and snacks during the day, and extras who can step in when many hands are needed and work on other projects in the garden when fewer hands are needed. 

Please email Mary Beth Mueller at to let her know that you plan to come or donate food so that we can make sure we have enough food for our workers and enough workers for our food. 

Many thank you's to Beck Kasimov and Zumrad Ahmedjanova who, together with their group from the Legacy Center, tore down our old shed last spring...

Leaving this lovely space for the new shed...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sweet Potatoes and Garlic

Our photographer for 7th grade this week is Noah.  Here he is showing us his artistic eye.

Our main tasks this week were planting garlic and harvesting sweet potatoes.  Below you can see some of the lovely biodynamic Chrysalis Rose garlic sent to us by Meadowlark Hearth Farm in the panhandle of Nebraska.

Making rows for planting.

Meanwhile Ms. Miller supervises the harvesting of sweet potatoes.

 It's fascinating work, digging for buried treasure.
 And the treasures to be found are plentiful.

A few pictures from around the farm.

The old sign that marks our garden gate.

Noah's sister, Sarah.

Our stinging nettle patch.  Watch out for this plant.  It bites, but a tea made from the leaves is nourishing for people, plants and soil.

Dill will be ready for its first harvest soon.

Okra has finished its season.

The bees enjoyed a warm day.

 Carter is a hard worker. 

In case you were wondering what his face looks like, a rare shot indeed!

View from the dogwood in the meeting spot.

Batian shows us how to properly enjoy sorrel.

And Denis shows us how you know that you've enjoyed it properly.

Shadow friends.

Stepping stone made by 3rd grade last winter.


Washing hands at the end of the day.

Noah took a lot of pictures trying to catch someone in mid-air.  Success at last...

Shiitake and Basil Pizza

Pascal was our chef just before school got out for fall break.  He tells us he got up at 5 AM to make this wonderful pizza.

1 cake yeast
1 1/3 c warm water
  • Dissolve yeast in water for 5 minutes.
4 C sifted flour
1 t salt
  • Mix together in large bowl.
2 T olive oil
yeast and water mixture you made earlier
  • Add to the flour and salt mixture, stirring until you can't stir any more.  
  • Turn out onto counter and knead for 10 minutes.
  • Cover with damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours.
  • Pat and stretch dough onto two oiled pizza pans or (unoiled) pizza stones, pinching up a collar around the edges to hold the filling.
  • Prick dough in about 6 places.
  • Spread each pizza with:
pizza sauce
mozzerella cheese
sliced shiitake
basil leaves
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Let pizza rest for 10 minutes while the oven is preheating.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes, until light brown.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Panzanella Salad Recipe

Brave MacKenzie made the very first cooking attempt for 7th grade and it was a huge success.  Here at last is the recipe for the wonderful salad she made. 

6 cups day old Italian bread, torn into bite-size pieces
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
3/4 cup sliced red onion
10 basil leaves, shredded
1/2 cup pitted and halved green olives
1 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-size pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, toss bread with 1/3 cup olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Lay bread on a baking sheet, and toast in the preheated oven until golden, about 5 to 10 minutes; allow to cool slightly.
  3. While the bread is in the oven, whisk together 1/4 cup of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Gently toss together the bread, tomatoes, onion, basil, olives, and mozzarella cheese. Toss with the vinaigrette and let stand for 20 minutes before serving.
Instead of following the recipe exactly, MacKenzie chose to slice the bread thinly and serve it bruschetta style so that it would be more of a finger food.  It worked out very well. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A snake in the garden! Oh my!

This week's photos are courtesy of Barbara Holloway who photographed 3rd grade as they worked in the garden on Monday.

It was a rainy day.

 But we harvested anyway.  Here Thace works on harvesting basil.

Some of us worked on filling in a hole and ended up creating an amazing mudbath.  Ms.  Mueller sang a song in honor:

Mud, mud, glorious mud!
Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood.
So follow me, follow
Down to the hollow
And there let us wallow in glorious mud!
- Flanders and Swan

Another task was mulching the broccoli.  First step was to get the wheelbarrow.

 Next, fill it up.

Keep filling!

And fill another one when that one gets full.  
We have no shots of the broccoli being mulched because we were distracted by...

A friendly garden visitor, being held here by Lola.

Snakes eat the bugs that eat our plants so we like to see them in the garden.  It was nice to have a quick visit with this fella before we set him free to go do his job some more.