Monday, October 29, 2012

Holiday Baskets On November 16th

This year we will again be offering a special Land School Holiday Basket on Friday, November 16th from 4 to 6 pm. It will have much of what you need for an incredible Thanksgiving meal, all mounded up in a beautiful bushel basket. There will be squash, onions, garlic, potatoes, Brussels sprouts, popcorn, carrots, and more. In addition to produce, there will also be a pint of Maple Syrup and two hunks of Wisconsin cheese (both locally sourced).

The baskets make great gifts. 

Cost: $50

The baskets are all sold. Thank you to everyone who has signed up for their basket. Do not forget to come this afternoon.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The End. The Beginning.

Today is the end. The end of living with one another. The end of inside jokes. The end of cook crews. The end of the Farm Stay. Today is the end. Although it is the end, it is also the start of something else. It is the start of remembering inside jokes, the joy of no more cook crews and the start of sharing memories and good times. From the orientation on Day One, to the clean-up today, we have stuck together through everything. Through the prank wars and being sick of each other, we are still one community. I think this is a pretty special thing. This Farm Stay has brought a group of people who were friends together, and made us a family. We have had to stick together through the good times, and the bad. I am sad to say, that this is in fact, my last Farm Stay. As a ninth grader, this is really the last cook crew, the last hike, and the last game of proball. Last year, I wasn’t aware that I would be staying another year, and I thought my 8th grade Farm Stay would be my last. I was devastated, and refused to leave. This year, even though it is the end, I am ok. I realize that I have left my mark on the Land School, and it is now time to move on and let others enjoy it. I leave content, grateful for the time I have had here, and wishing my best to the groups after me. I think I have had a pretty good run, from painting the wings in 7th grade, to the phone booth in 9th. Now I can truthfully say, today is the end, and it has been pretty amazing.

- Shyamoli, 10/25/12

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Blog Entry #FS1 TeeHee!!

            This was an amazing Farm stay. The 11 students on it have become a Family to me.  I am sad that I am leaving but know that I will always remember this place as a Home. Home to me is made by experiences, good and bad.  Home is where my Family is.  Home is a safe Haven from the outside world.  All of these I found while staying at the Land School. I will miss so many things about this Farm stay. Tomorrow I pack up and face the outside world again.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Blue Corn Vegetarian Mini Tamales

With the Food Preservation Occupation we have been learning how to harvest, store and use the Hopi Blue Flour Corn that we grew this year. We have made corn bread, corn pancakes, tortillas, and now we have made tamales. To make the tamales, first we had to harvest and dry the corn. Then we ran the corn through the antique corn sheller pictured below. That removed the kernels from the cobs. Then we winnowed the corn and then we cooked it for ten minutes and then soaked it overnight in water and and a tablespoon of lime (Calcium hydroxide powder - sold in the Mexican grocery store as "cal"). Then we rinsed the corn to remove the lime, and then ran it through the "Estrella" hand-crank mill to make the "masa."

We moistened the masa, whipped some vegetable shortening with a blender, added some veggie bouillon, and then mixed it all together with a little salt and baking powder.

Then we took moistened cleaned corn husks and made little bundles of the enhanced masa. We tied them shut with a strip of corn husk and placed them in the steamer. We realized too late that corn husks we had gathered were too small and thus we made mini-tamales. We had also hoped to fill them with some sort of veggie chili, but they were too small to accept the filling. Then we steamed them and enjoyed the results with lunch.

The Puzzle

Farm Stay 1 Blog

             On October 23 the Junior High visited the farm. When they got here everyone talked to each other for a few minutes then gathered in a circle by the long barn. Once the teachers announced who was in what group we got to work. Some people went off to work on taking care of the bees and counting birds and others made sauerkraut. My group organized the greenhouse and started to dry the 16 tubs of sunflower heads.
            After we did that we took the van across the farm to harvest the remaining potatoes. One of us sat on a seat of the tractor attachment and kicked the dirt clumps off. We did four rows of potatoes and we harvested 250 some pounds of potatoes. The hard thing was moving the tubs of potatoes that were 40 pounds each. Once we got all the tubs in the truck we went back to the Farmstead and washed the potatoes and picked out ones that weren’t good.
            After lunch we had 45 minutes of free time and everyone went to the new maze that we made for the Halloween event. Other people went to the tree house or the bird blind or on a hike. But wherever we went we all met up at the Homestead to get on the bus. Then as the Farm Stay students stood on the porch we waved goodbye to the rest of the Junior High.

By: Michael

-- JH visit --

            Today we woke up feeling very excited (at least most of us were); for today was the day the Junior High was going to come!  Many were excited to see our friends from the urban campus that we had very dearly missed.  But before we could see them and get to the fun part, we had to go through the grueling process of doing math.  Not that math isn’t fun, we just had more interesting things to do, and we were too excited and couldn’t sit still in our seats. 

            After math we set up everything for the day, but this was cut short because the JH came a bit earlier that expected (about 20 min early) so we were a bit unprepared.  After all the hugs, greetings and introduction, we split off into our stewardship groups for the morning.  I was in the Garden and Greenhouse group, so I will talk about my experience for the morning, as I don’t really know what the other stewardship groups did.  For the morning, I made sauerkraut.  We shredded cabbages and then weighed it on a scale.  Once we had 5 lb of cabbage, we added three tablespoons of pickling salt and then put it in a large bucket, someone would then pound it to release the juice and break the cell walls of the pieces of cabbage so that it could absorb the salt. When we were finished with this, and had an almost full bucket, we filled a large plastic bag with water, which we then put on top of the cabbage in the bucket so that it put weight on top and created a seal and helped it ferment.

            When we were finished with the sauerkraut making we returned to the Farmstead and helped sort and pack squash.  After that we ate lunch and then broke off into smaller groups and had free time for about an hour. Some went to the Treehouse, some went to the maze (which was created for our event on the 20th), some played games at the A-field, and others went for hikes.  Then everyone had to leave and we sadly said our goodbyes.  We were all very sad that they had to go, but we knew we would get to see them soon.

                                                                        - Bronwyn

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Making the Maze

            We made the maze for the Halloween festival in the switch grass past the alfalfa. Making the maze was a two-day process. The first day we went into the grass with string, duct tape, a baseball bat, a stick, and a white board. We made a trail by stomping with our feet.  We planned out the maze for a couple hours and then came back for dinner, and we went to bed.
            The next day we awoke at seven to a heavy frost. We got on our warm gear and went with Andy over to the maze. Andy had a brush mower with him and we made the maze, making a lot of dead ends and it became twice as long as we originally thought.
            The maze really paid off. Everyone enjoyed it and the fastest time to make it through was a minute and a half.
By: Adrien

To Live

by Andy

The old grey-snouted dog limps slowly toward me, her eyes bright and hopeful. "Come here good girl!" I say, and she quickens her gait. As she walks toward me though, she slows again and stops midway and lies down for a break. I urge her to get up. We need to go home. Laboriously she rises and continues her trudge. There was a time when she could run as fast as I could ride my bike from the fields to the house. Not any more. Pearl the good girl is not such a girl any more. I know she might not make it many more months, and I would be surprised if she was with us this time next year. Our Pearl, the helper dog.

This time of year seems to invite thoughts of the cycle of life. First the basil dies in the mid-September frost. Then the hard frosts and hard freezes come and convert the tomatoes, flowers, peppers and other crops into brown plants with squishy fruits. In those cases the life disappears from one day to the next. But sometimes the changes come so gradually that it seems that nothing is happening. The oak tree in our front yard was a blaze of rich burgundy two weeks ago, and today when I looked the leaves we rusty brown and half were on the ground. When did it change?

It is this way with Pearl. Hers is a slow steady change that I only notice when something new reaches a tipping point. The day she peed in the house. So out of character. Or the first time she couldn't make it up into the car and had to be lifted. If I had to reckon, I'd say she is half as fast as she was last year at this time, and she was already slowing down then. And to look at a photo of her from last year, it is clearly apparent that she has lost a lot of weight. I want to hold onto her and keep her as she is. I can't.

Last night I hung out for the closing of the day with the Farm Stay students. They have been reading The Land Remembers by Ben Logan. This is one of my favorite books. It is a collection of stories from the early 1900's on a farm in southwest Wisconsin. The stories in the book are arranged in sections by season. It is fitting that the students are reading about Autumn now. Last night's story was called "Ghosts" and it recounted Ben's searches for the Passenger Pigeon, which was only recently extinct at that time. The story touched me, and after a while I could not continue reading aloud without starting to cry. The author brought my attention to something I would rather not see. Animals, plants and people die. And sometimes it is untimely or unjust, as in the case of the Passenger Pigeons, and sometimes it is after a long rich life, as in the case of Pearl's impending demise.

I don't put my attention on death easily or often. I know it is part of my everyday life, but it surprises me when it intrudes on my attention. This fall however, between the succession of frosts and Pearl's daily downturn, my attention has landed on death nearly everyday. It has intensified my own appreciation of life. I seem to feel things more deeply. I want to focus most of my attention on life and vitality. But does my habitual denial of death and decay cut me off from the life-affirming vital sensations and feelings that I do want to feel? Would it be useful to make the acceptance of death part of my daily practice?

Time and Life are cyclical processes that seem to be linear. The celebration of life is contained within the recognition of death. The exuberance of Spring comes from the decay of Autumn. In a sense, everything is so intimately connected, that to deny one part of the cycle is to step outside of the it entirely. This denial fools us into a linear world view. In the linear world view, I don't need to notice life or death because I am always moving forward. Is that perceived forward movement actually running away from something?

I don't have a daily practice right now outside of the Farm Stay schedule, unless you include my daily oatmeal. It think a daily practice that includes reflection would make much more sense in a cyclical mindset. I might be ready for that.

Post Script; December 7th 6:45 pm. Pearl passes away at home surrounded by her people.

Pearl on our first snowy day.

Any treats?

Pearl will wait while we hang out at the Treehouse.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Donna’s Birthday

October 19, 2012       Farm Stay One, Day 12
            This morning started as any other with Farm Chores and Breakfast, but at 8:30 instead of Math we had a Community Meeting where we talked about our event and other various topics. After the hour and a half Community Meeting we split up into our Occupation groups. Andy’s group made Pumpkin Pie, Soy Milk, and shucked corn. Donna’s group did various projects including making new signs for the girls bathroom, put together fold up tables for the classroom and dining room, started to re-paint the phone booth, and made the floor flat in the old milk house - all very fun. Dave came shortly before lunch, ate with us and afterwards helped us with some math questions, much to our joy. Jen, Laura, and Laura’s mom came as well to celebrate Donna’s birthday, which we did by singing and presenting her a chocolate cake that Shyamoli, Sadie, and Daniel had made the night before. It was delicious- especially with raspberry ice cream.  After lunch and math we had the final afternoon to finish up our Micro-eco projects. Many were worried which made for a rather crazy, frenetic afternoon, but everything pulled together in the end. After a deep clean, all of us are looking forward to Gallery Night tonight and an exciting, fun day tomorrow at The Spooktacular Halloween Extravaganza Festival Potluck Event Thingy (SHEFPET). Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


By Sadie

Today we went to a fall foraging class. We skipped out on study hall to drive to Prairie Farm- the town where Donna lives and where we went on Farmstay 3 for the Re-skilling event. We walked into the small high school and found the room we were supposed to be in. We felt a bit awkward as we walked in, being the youngest people there by a fairly wide margin. There was also the fact that it seemed like absolutely everyone knew each other. Even with those complications, the class was amazing.
            The first thing we learned was how to make acorn flour. We crushed acorns with hammers (a nice chance to get out your pent up anger, if you have any). You then get the meat out of the acorns (the yellowish white part) and put it in a bowl. We then put it in a blender with water (coincidentally the same way you make soymilk, which I will learn about in a few days…). You then leach the acorns, because, as you will know if you have ever eaten an acorn, they are very, very bitter. The leaching process entails putting the water/ acorn mixture into a cloth and squeezing the cloth while running water over it so that the bitterness ran out. Once you get out all of the water, you can use it immediately, or, preferably, let it dry so that it is actually flour.
            We also learned how to make sumac-ade, which some people might make for the Halloween event. You take non-poisonous staghorn sumac (the red berries) and put it in cheesecloth or something of the like. You then put it in hot tap water and move it around for 2-3 minutes. This results in a very tasty product.
            Those were the two main things that we learned about. We also learned about cattails and plantain seeds. The other important events of the day were a sighting of a tufted titmouse at the bird blind, along with a very cute chipmunk. 

Waking Colors

Good Morning Rainbow.
So nice to see you over our prairie this day.

We do wish you could stay a bit longer.  Until next time,  Heart FS1.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


By Ewan

            Today was the ninth day we have been stuck here in the middle of Wisconsin, we’ve almost been forced to resort to cannibalism, which makes no sense as today was a Harvest Day. But as I just said, today was a harvest day, and we even had help, as class H came out to plant garlic and harvest popcorn. For the harvest we collected a lot of vegetables ranging from cabbage to arugula, to a bunch of different herbs.
            After we finished the harvest, we went back to the Homestead and had lunch. After lunch we had CE/PE, which stands for creative expression and physical expression. Today, we did Tye-Dye! It was a very messy afternoon as we all crammed around the ping-pong table in the basement, while we poured dyes on our shirts, accidentally poured dye on our shirts that we were wearing, and all on the floor too. As we waited for our tye-dyes to soak in, or work, we worked on our corn-sunflowers. Which is a super cool craft project that required a lot corn, some paper, a hot glue gun, and some wire. You glue the corn kernels to a paper circle.  This makes the seeds/center of your flower. As you do this you soak the cornhusks, dry them, cut them into leaf shapes and glue them to the back of your “flower”. You then glue the wire onto the back of this, and you’ve got a corn-sunflower, yay!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Oct. 15, 2012


The Unfortunate Life of the Farmstayer (That’s Supposed To Be Ironic)

Ahh, the Farmstay. Unfortunately for you blog-reader-people (my parents and other Farmstayer’s parental units, maybe the Land School Staff), today was not that interesting of a day, so I can’t really elaborate on it. Unfortunately for me, Andy will get mad at me if I don’t write anything. So, unfortunately for you (again), you have to listen to me babble on about something you’d rather not pay any attention to. Now I’d like to direct you to Sadie’s blog post from last year, called which is my inspiration for this post because I cannot think of anything else to do. Some of us have forgotten to write on the blog, so we have been forced to do them on Oct. 24, during Study Hall, at night. Tough life. (I know I should say I’m looking into the future, but I’m currently writing this at 8:20 on Wednesday night, Oct. 24 myself, so I’m technically talking about the past, which unfortunately (yes, again) we all have to go through (tough life (again))) Next to me, Elsa and Quinlan are taking pictures of themselves on Photo Booth. Why, you ask? “Teenage girls” is my only answer. Well, I guess that’s long enough, wouldn’t you say? Plus, I don’t really want to say anything else. In the words of Farmstay 1, 2012, “Meow, meow meow.”

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Spooktacular Halloween Event

Spooktacular Halloween Festival!

This spooky Halloween festival will be this Saturday October 20th, from 4-8PM at the Lake Country Land School! It will be full of fun games and activities for kids of all ages like Pumpkin Baseball, a potluck and a Halloween-themed walk through all of the Land School! It will also include a mini market where you can buy hand-made crafts and homemade treats for dessert. We are making products such as candles, chocolate, cookies, jello orange slices, necklaces, tie-dye headbands and much more! Be there or be square! 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Saturday October 13th

Saturday 13, 2012
             Today we woke up to a cloudy, rainy day.  After farm chores were done and breakfast cleaned up, we had a meeting about what optional you would like to do if you wanted to work.  Options included cleaning the llama pen, hanging blue corn and popcorn in the greenhouse, cleaning up and storing all of the rye, and harvesting sunflowers.
            After a wonderful lunch of spaghetti, we had free time the rest of the day.  Since outside wasn’t that pleasant, we came up with inside actives to do.  People worked on their test batches of our projects, played the guitar, sang, took naps, called family, and did laundry. Other fun indoor activities included crafts, such as corn art, puzzles and gallery night planning.  But people also found time to go outside and go to the tree house, the “A” field, or smash rotten pumpkins in the pumpkin patches. 
            After dinner there was high excitement.  Tonight was Gallery Night.  Gallery night is basically a little, funny talent show that you get (have to) to participate in.  You can choose what you will do or you can draw a suggestion from a basket or hat that tells you what to do.  You can only veto one time from the basket.  People choose to do acts such as a little skit, a song, or some jokes.  Some particularly good hat picks include: doing an interpretive dance to a song your roommates choose, telling an embarrassing story, reading from any book on page 142 dramatically, or coming up with a puppet show using random items.  Gallery night is a very fun night, and everyone looks forward to the next one.  Saturdays in general are very fun, it is a great day to spend time with one another and relax.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Potatoes and Science

By Elsa

            Today was a busy day on the farm. First, Doug, the Urban Campus’s science teacher, came here and taught the Farm Stay science for the morning where we set up the bird blind and did some work with the bees. Also during the morning, Class F came up to harvest most of our potatoes. I am a Class F alum, so it was cool to see my old class doing what might have been my favorite part of our school year!
            After our delicious farm made chili, the farm stay went on a photo hike where we took different pictures of the animals, action shots and just the nature around us. We came up with some pretty artsy pictures! As soon as the photo hike was over, Donna did archery with us. I could tell that we have some pretty good Katniss’ in our group! Tonight was also Do-It-Your-Own dinner, where most of us made macaroni and cheese from a box and some of us made bacon and spaghetti.
            Today was a busy day and you could tell that we were all very tired. We couldn’t wait to get some sleep for the Harvest tomorrow!

Photo Hike Farm Stay 1