Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Preparing for Winter

At last we have had our first light frost.  It's time to start preparing for winter and working on winter projects.  Third grade started building a chicken tractor this week.  The Seniors started digging out a fire pit for a bonfire on Santa Lucia night... 

And seventh grade finished preparing the garden for cold weather. 

 They set up hoops for cloches,

found the right sized plastic for covering,

and covered all the beds that needed it;  four altogether.

They also put away the drip hoses...

... and started preparing a bed for our raspberries.

In addition to winterizing, some of our crew weeded the broccoli/artichoke bed.

Others cleaned the chicken coop.

 The chickens chose that time to go get some water.

 Maite was our photographer this week.

 She spent a lot of time observing people and things in relation to the fencing at the farm.



View from inside the coop.

 A few close ups...


Artichoke leaf

 Winter rose

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New Shed and Flow Form

This weekend was very productive at Emerson Farm.  We made huge progress on both our new shed and the flow form that second and third grades helped to pour in spring of 2011.

First Thace, Malcolm and Cail cleaned off the slab.

Georg and Charlie measured and cut the posts.

 Keith and Shawn set the posts upright.

David cut the fascia.

Once the rafters were on, it really started to look like a shed.

On Sunday we got the roof on.  On Monday a group of students from the high school put up a few more nailer boards, added missing nails where they belonged, and cleaned up the site a little.  By close of day the rototiller had already moved in.

 There were enough helpers that we were actually able to work on a second much needed project as well.  Maurice York came and helped us get moving on the flow form project which had stalled out last spring. 

 Shawn, Chris and little Zoe helped Maurice finish digging out the hole for the largest pond liner.  Jake, Oliver, Nicholas and Anthony, who were in 10th grade at the time, started this hole last year, but the rains came and kept the hole full of water until just recently so they were unable to finish last school year.

 Nice, Therisa, Zoe and Maurice did a lot of shoveling and packing of earth to create the burm and track on which the flow forms will rest.  Next comes gravel, sand, pipes and a pump. 

Many thanks to Keith Bartholomew, our fearless leader in the shed project and Maurice York, our fearless leader in the flow form project.  Without the two of them, these projects would not be happening.  Thank you to the 10th, 11th and 12th grade service crews, the entire 7th grade class, and Ian Ostrowski for overcoming rocks and enormous roots to dig the holes for the footers.  Thank you to 11th grader Anthony Day for designing the building.  For coming out and working all day Saturday, Sunday or both thank you to David Valleroy, Pat McKenzie, Chris and Therisa Pienaar, Charlie and Tom Viles, Glenn Peirce, Patrick Dyess, Nice Polido, Ennio Aversano, Shawn, Cail and Tace Sullivan, Georg and Malcolm Buehler, and Francisco Plaza.  For the amazing food we had to sustain us all weekend, thank you to Kathleen Jackson, Joelle Ramos, Kelly Jones, Janet Buehler and Therisa Pienaar.  If anyone notices that I missed someone, please let me know.  The oversight is not intentional!

As you can see, these projects are both well under way, but they are not yet finished.  Stay tuned for another work weekend...

Sweet Potato Pie

Seventh grader Winter made our recipe of the week on Monday.  This pie was truly delicious.  Even the folks who don't usually like sweet potatoes really liked it.  The original recipe came from allrecipes.com.

Makes one 9 inch pie
  • 1 pound sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust


  1. Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin.
  2. Break apart sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a souffle, and then will sink down as it cools.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Study of Light and Shadow

This week our 7th grade got straight to work with some hard labor.  We are building a shed on Nov. 17 and 18 and the footings need to be dug ahead of time.  This is not easy work.  The soil is hard. There are rocks, roots and old posts to contend with, every class from 7th grade up has had a chance to work on this project...

This is Daniel contemplating the hole he must dig, or maybe the root he must overcome.

 Daniel and Leland have decided that a mattock is their best friend for this job.

One of the 6 holes that need to be dug 2'X2' and 1' deep.

Those that didn't work on digging holes cleaned the chicken coop instead.

 Camilla and MacKenzie bring fresh wood chips to the coop

 One of the pleasures of cleaning the coop is finding eggs.

 Sarah returns the left over wood chips.

 Everyone had a chance to stir the fall Biodynamic application of Barrel Compost and Horn Manure.

Batian was our photographer this week.  

 Here he is in shadow form.

 And here he is for the first of his eye pictures.

 Daniel was the other eye model.

 From shadows and eyes, Batian moved on to light...

 OK, maybe not quite the same.  

He also took some interesting pictures from around the farm...

Pine cone

 After the pine cone.

 Inside the pin oak.

Another view from inside the pin oak.

 Inside the tool shed.

 Long board.

 View through the grass.

Hose spray. 

Yogurt Cheese with Garlic and Herbs

This week Natty brought in this delicious spread for crackers or whatever else you might want to put it on. The garlic was extra seed garlic sent by Meadowlark Hearth so that our students could taste what they were planting.

Drain one quart of yogurt overnight in the refrigerator by pouring it into a cheesecloth lined sieve over a bowl to catch the drippings.

Divide the yogurt cheese into 4 flattened rounds. Place in a wide, shallow bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme, 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley, 1 clove of garlic, minced. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the rounds. Let marinate at least 30 minutes before serving. The longer you marinate, the yummier it gets.

This will keep covered in the fridge for 2 days.