Kids Cooking Green

Kids Cooking Green is an after-school program in the Boston area that teaches children about nutrition and fresh, healthy food. The students cook meals, like eggs in a basket, and ravioli, and bring recipes and samples home to their parents. The emphasis is on locally grown products, so one piece of the program is to introduce the kids to the people who grow food. I’m not a “real” farmer, but I do know all about chickens, so Kids Cooking Green asked me to be part of their program. It’s the perfect match!

I recently taught a group of fourth and fifth graders all about how eggs are made in the hen’s reproductive tract. Then I ask, “do you know where the egg comes out?” No one ever thinks about that part of the process. I pick up my hen, turn her around so they can see her bottom, and show the vent. You can imagine how this age group loves this!

At the end of the program, I talk about feathers and teach how to touch a hen. For many, this is the first time that they’ve seen a real chicken, let alone pet one. The other day eighteen energetic and excited children quietly and gently stroked Amber’s back. Smiles all around.

Kids Cooking Green

 

Information about my school programs is here.

My Sane Place

LIfe is messy and often difficult. A positive attitude doesn’t just happen, it must be nurtured. Pay attention to the good moments, no matter how small, and they will expand to fill your world. It helps to have a companion who notices the details.

Tonka in foliage

 

This is my sane place. What’s yours?

Pumpkin Season

It’s pumpkin season. Bins of pumpkins are overflowing outside of supermarkets.

pumpkin price

 

In order to compete, farmstands show off spectacular mountains of pumpkins.

pumpkin pile

 

The selection gets crazier every year. Bumps, warts, odd colors and strange shapes galore!

bumpy pumpins

 

There are big pumpkins. If you buy one, they’ll help you load it into your car. But, how do you carry it out? I know about this dilemma. One year I bought such a pumpkin for a party game – guess the weight of the pumpkin – we did a lot of guessing trying to lug it to the front yard!

big pumpkins

 

Some pumpkins require a moving company to carry to your home.

biggest pumpkin

 

Every year, I buy pumpkins for the hens.

This year, I bought one for the goats. It was an experiment. You never know with goats. They are very fussy eaters. (Yes! Their reputation for eating anything is far from the truth.)

posing with pumpki

 

It turns out that the goat boys love the rind, but not the innards. Which is great, because it’s the gloppy stuff that the chickens like the most. I’ll be tossing this pumpkin in with the chickens tomorrow, and buying a new pumpkin for the goats.

Caper eating pumpkin

 

You can contribute to the fall pumpkin festival here at LIttle Pond Farm. Click here to buy the goats a pumpkin (via PayPal). Your support is much appreciated and helps to keep the cams up and running.

Look Up, Look Down

This week, autumn foliage is at it’s best. Here in New England, the leaf peepers are driving erratically down our roads, ogling the colors. I’m one of them. Each year it’s breath-taking. Each year when it comes, it feels like a surprise and a gift.

 

foliage

 

We’re at that sweet spot when the oak trees have yet to turn brown. They’re still a deep green, which shows off the maples’ colors to their full orange effect.

oak and maple

 

But, don’t just look up. Look down.

The oak leaves aren’t falling yet, but the trees are dropping acorns. Squirrels and chipmunks are gleefully filling their mouths and scurrying about with this bonanza. Many other animals rely on acorns for sustenance. Bears. Maybe they’ll be so full that they’ll leave the coops alone.

acorns

 

Pine needles are dropping, too. Crisp air. The smell of pine. It’s nothing, nothing, like a scented candle.

pine needles

 

I was an artsy kid in high school and took two classes daily. This was the late 70s. One of my teachers was a fiber artist. She lived in Greenwich Village and commuted to the suburbs to work. We made things out of jute. I clearly remember her saying how much more real natural materials and colors were. In her mind the natural world was muted. I never understood that. I saw this,

maple leaves

 

and this:

maple

 

What is colorful in your world? I have many readers in Australia and Brazil. Do you see wild parrots? Back in high school I made a fiber hanging based on feathes from our pet lovebird – vibrant greens and yellow and reds (actually, rather like the colors in these photos) which shocked my teacher!

Draft Horses

I have a collection of diaries written by a New York state farm woman from the turn of the last century. She had a hard life. Her family had one horse, that both pulled the plow and that took them to church on Sunday. The animal was slow and old and often lame. The woman loved that horse.

women on draft horses

Anonymous photograph circa 1900.

As I said, she had a very hard life. While her neighbors modernized their farms, used tractors in the fields and bought cars to go to town, she could not. She was too poor, her husband was ill. She loved that horse and she needed him too.

By the 1940s draft horses almost disappeared. Today many breeds are endangered. But some people loved them. Loved them enough to keep them going, despite the fact that they are no longer necessary on farms or to take the family to church. Hundreds of these big horses will be at the World Percheron Congress this week. Every few years this show is held at a different arena, and not always in the USA. It’s also been staged in Canada, France and England. This year the World Percheron Congress is not only on the East Coast, but it is less then two hours from my house. I’ll be there. I’ll bring my camera. (You might be able to watch, too. It’s live streaming here.)