Saturday, February 28, 2015

Farm Stay 3, February 23-March 12, 2015

Tapping Trees
by Martha 
February 28

Today at the Lake Country Land School we began tapping maple trees.
You start by drilling a hole into the tree. 
After drilling the hole we clean it out and insert the spile. We have to hammer the spile in. When it's in we check to make sure it is secure. 

At the end we put on the bags that the sap will drip into. 

by Sophia
March 1 
Today is Sunday and the seventh day of Farmstay 3. We have had so much fun here so far and the whole group is getting along really well. Because today is Sunday, we have a different schedule, which gives us a lot more free time. Everyone slept in this morning until about 9:00am and it was really nice. We had brunch today (instead of our normal breakfast and lunch) at 11:00 with pancakes, bacon and eggs. It was very delicious. Then, we all went downstairs and entertained ourselves with ping-pong, foosball, and board games. I ended up playing a very long and intense game of “Uno” but unfortunately it was cut short when we all went outside at 12:30 for a game of capture the flag. Capture the flag was really fun, we played in the woods which is possibly the best place to play capture the flag since there are so many cool places to hide your flag and you can hide behind trees. After that, we all came inside and had a lazy day, mostly hanging out downstairs. I finished making my “magic box” that Laura taught us how to make and I am very proud of it. She brought some really cool paper with pretty patterns, special cardboard and glue so that we could make them. Overall I had a really nice day and I’m super excited for tomorrow and the rest of Farmstay. 

my "magic box"

Steve Horner’s Maple Syrup Business
by Gabriel
March 2
Today for occupations, the maple syruping group took a tour of one the Land School’s neighbor’s maple syrup business. We got to see how the sap went from the trees to becoming syrup in a way that is very different from the way the Land School makes its maple syrup. It started with the way sap was collected.

At the Land School, we use hand drills and metal spiles to tap the trees, then hang plastic bags from the spiles to collect the sap. The neighbor, whose name is Steve Horner, showed his system of plastic tubing that ran out from two giant tanks and attached to the trees with plastic spiles. He explained to us how there was a vacuum pump that lowered the pressure inside the tubes so that sap would more readily come out of the trees, and we each got a chance to use a battery-powered drill to bore a hole in a tree and tap a plastic spile in with a mallet (see figure 1). Then he and an assistant connected the spile to the network of tubing. Instead of collecting bags of sap, pouring them into buckets, and carrying them to a truck like we do at the Land School, the system of depressurized tubes worked automatically to collect sap (see figure 2).

Figure 1: A plastic spile connecting a tube to a maple tree
Steve Horner sells some of the finished syrup wholesale to packagers, and some he bottles himself. The final part of our tour was of the packaging area. There was a tube bringing the syrup in from by the boiler, and a household water heater, which, Steve Horner pointed out, was much cheaper than specialized syrup bottling machines. After we saw this, there was some time for questions, and then we had to go. I learned a lot from the tour, and had a fun time finding out the differences between the Land School’s syruping operation and Steve Horner’s.

Figure 2: Tubes that bring sap to the two tanks on the right (the vacuum pump is in the shed on the right)

After we saw how sap was collected, Steve Horner showed us how it was made into syrup. Instead of simply boiling the sap until enough of the water had evaporated, he has a reverse osmosis system that can filter out about 85% of the water without heat. No reverse osmosis system can achieve the desired 40 to 1 ratio of sap to syrup, though, so next Steve Horner showed us a giant machine that finished the job (see figure 3).

Figure 3: Steve Horner's sap boiler

This machine took the concentrated sap on a long path across hot metal above a fire that boiled away the rest of the unwanted water. Sap took a long time to go through, but once the first syrup came out there could be a constant flow of syrup as long as the machine was on. The Land School makes about 20 gallons of syrup every year. Steve Horner makes about 55 gallons of syrup every day.

Farm Chores
by Demetrius (D12 D3q4612)/ Max (M301100)
March 3
As the sun rises early in the morning, the students of Lake Country Land School wake up and get ready to do the daily farm chores. As they walk across the freshly fallen snow they gaze out into the rising sun and they think about how great of an opportunity they have to be there. As they walk into the Red Barn they see the friendly animals just waking up. The students gracefully greet the animals and feed them grains of wheat. As they work in a fashionable matter they soon finish with the chores and return home just as the bottom of the sun breaks the horizon. As they enter the door of the homestead they are greeted lovingly by their peers and led to a great breakfast. 

by Miles
March 4
Today is Wednesday, the 10th day of our stay. So far I have had a great time and there hasn’t been any major arguments, or drama. We were forced to wake up at 7:30 this morning, which was followed by a breakfast of bagels, and cereal. After breakfast we had science, my friend and I are thinking of making a potato launcher (or spudzooka), we looked up instructions on how to make one. After we realized that we didn’t have the right materials to make one, we decided to create a barometer to measure the air pressure.  For lunch today we had Leak and potato soup with homemade bread. It was really delicious.  Today we had CEPE, which is, Creative Expression, Physical Expression. We had a choice between learning to direct ourselves using a compass and Snowshoeing. I chose the latter because I felt like I needed a more physical choice. 

Today was a great day and I am looking forward to the next week of farmstay.

Micro Eco
by Ethan
March 5
On farmstay, we go through a simulation of a very small economy.  We split into groups and we decide which products to make.  Each farmstay hosts an event at which we sell our products.  Ours is “The Pancake Breakfast”.  We have to calculate our profits, our expenses and much more.  Generally, a group will make two to three products.  Emre and I are making cutting boards, candleholders, and apple fritters.  Products range from bleach T-shirts to soap and chapstick.  We have to pay a 25% overhead fee to The Land School.  At The Pancake Breakfast, we take turns, being the cashier, cooking, and cleaning.  

by Emre
March 6
Today, being the only day left prior to the pancake breakfast, was quite chaotic. Everybody was trying to finalize their crafts and baked goods. We started the day at 7:30 with farm chores and breakfast. After that we had community meeting where we talked about how to pancake breakfast was going to happen. Following community meeting there was community work where we had options to, help set up the gathering room to sell the crafts, help set up the dining room and classroom for the event or make pancake batter in the kitchen. The three groups were divided up and everybody worked from 9:30 to noon. We had a delicious lunch consisting of dahl, bread and salad. Everybody was eager to finish packaging their final products to sell so for about two hours we had micro-eco time. While some people were outside others worked on cleaning the homestead so it would be nice for the following day. We had pizza for dinner at 5:00 and watched The Princess Bride at 7:00. After reviewing the schedule and etiquette for the pancake breakfast we all went to bed.

by Hazel
March 7
Every morning on Farm Stay we have been doing something called morning pages. We get a topic or questions given by Laura, Katie, or Donna and then we have ten minutes to journal about it. I have decided to share a few sentences from my journal entries for each day so far.

Day 2, February 24, 2015: Rebellion
I think the one thing you have to remember about rebellion is that you have to choose a right time. My mom always says, “Pick your battles.” This means don’t rebel against little things that don’t really matter to you. Pick the things that are the most important.

Day 3, February 25, 2015: Sustainability
I think people really just need to be aware of what they are doing at all times and remember to live sustainably. It is especially a lot harder in a city, I think, because everyone is so used to getting all the resources they want without even thinking where they come from, but here it’s like, “Wow, some second graders planted these beans, fifth graders harvested them, we put them in the root cellar over the winter, and now the cook crew put them on our plates.” It’s a lot harder to waste food when you know how much hard work you saw directly being put into the food you are eating. We just have to always be conscious and think about sustainability.

Day 4, February 26, 2015: Work
I don’t really like how work has a negative connotation Many young people like us are always stick to our phones and we don’t really do as much work as we could or as our ancestors did. That’s why I love being at the Land School. It’s not so much the free time or the no real school; it’s just being connected to the land.

Day 5, February 27, 2015: Accountability
I don’t know a lot about the section that Katie just read because a) I didn’t understand it probably because b) I was zoning out. So….

Day 8, March 2, 2015: Technology
I like technology because in a lot of ways, it makes your life easier. It’s easier to write because typing is faster, it helps you find information faster, and you can contact people faster. But it’s all about the faster. Do we really need things so fast? Are we so impatient that we can’t wait for someone to call you back so you have to spam him or her with texts or calls until they answer? In some ways, technology is great, especially in case of emergencies, but it is taking over our life and we have to learn how to moderate ourselves.

Day 9, March 3, 2015: Gratefulness
I feel grateful for many things in my life. I feel grateful that I get to be so grateful for all the things that I have to be grateful for, if that makes any sense. I feel grateful for all my friends. My teachers, my parents, and especially the Land School staff. I feel grateful for the Land School, ice arenas, Lake Country, my home. I feel grateful that I get to do hockey, soccer, and cross country, but most of all that I get the opportunity to go on Farm Stay.

Day 10, March 4, 2015: Recommitting- What are you personally rocking?
I think I am personally rocking “Stay Alive!” on our code of civility. A few days ago, the whole pot of boiling water, hot wax, and the actual stove collapsed. But nobody got injured or burned and we’re still alive! Yay!

Day 11, March 5, 2015: Friends
I value someone who is compassionate, loving, understanding, a good listener, but also not a bystander. Someone who will stand up for me and who has got my back no matter what. Someone who is funny, but also has different views than I do so we can debate. I like to debate. A lot.  You make yourself a good friend by being a good friend by practicing all the traits I said in the beginning. If you want another friend to treat you that way, you have to be loyal to them as well.

by Keegan
March 8
Today I woke up at around 8:00, completed my AM toiletry routine, and then aimlessly shuffled out in to the gathering room and fell back asleep only moments later. 

When came back to my senses I got up and walked into the dining area to see if I was on the cook crew. Since today is Sunday, I was pleased to find that it was brunch instead of our usual meal schedule as it gives the residence of farmstay around three hours of extra free time during AM hours. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that I was on cook crew as I enjoy washing dishes. 
Until it was time for me to be on cook crew I played the card game Uno. The game itself is very enjoyable, but is also very aggravating, as it requires little skill and based on the premise of luck. Like many other games it makes time fly, in the blink of an eye I looked at the clock and I was almost ten minutes late for cook crew.  
Five minutes later when I had put in my shoes and had secured my hat I strutted into the kitchen. I was then given the task of making scrambled eggs. It took me about twenty minutes to make twenty eggs. I cooked them in four batches five eggs at a time and burned all but the first batch of eggs. After that I washed dishes until it was time to eat.
The meal was very delicious. We had pancakes, sausage, fruit cups, and eggs. During this meal Ethan and I talked about Jazz and some other types of music that we enjoy listening to. As I was on clean up crew I cleaned my dishes first and got right to work on washing other people’s dishes. I washed dishes for the rest of the morning basking in the glory of hot soapy water.  

by Nina
March 9
On Farmstay we all have to do a science project so my friend Keegan and I decided to make a chart of sunset, sunrise and day length chart and then we decided to do something more artistic in addition. I found a video of a guy using buttermilk, food coloring and soap to make these cool colorful explosions. We decided to make a picture of a sunrise with food coloring.     

We started out just putting dots of food coloring in buttermilk on a normal plate.  Then we took normal dish soap and poured some in. I think I might have put a little too much soap in and it didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked it too but it was still fun to make. 

This is what the end result was:

As you can see there is a sun, the blue sky and the green grass. 

Here is also a video of the actual fractals growing close up:

After we were done taking the video I decided to just mess around with the colors and also took some pictures of the patterns I made. 

You can also do a similar experiment with normal milk, food coloring and soap, but it has a very different effect. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Small Class H Overnight

We were searching for animal tracks. We are unsure what animal made these tracks, but it was a bigger animal that has paw prints.    

We also did stewardship and got some very good photos of the cats

Today, Oskar, Holden, Micah, Clayton, Billy and Cooper of Class H arrived at the Land School to begin their three-day overnight. It was filled with nature hikes, stewardship activities and lots and lots of photography. During one of their hikes, they collected firewood for the Land School’s supply. Photography was and is going to be the main focus of their trip. Stay tuned for lots of beautiful photos!

On day two we went skiing, did tie dye, made candles, and finished the day with a big game of "Apples to Apples." Day three came all too soon, we packed our bags, did Land School work, finished our candles and tie dye, and then cleaned up the places that we used.