Stick Caterpillars and Burdock Burrs

So though every week of camp we go over the same basic principals of gardening, each day and each session has something new and exciting to discover. Today our garden topic was weeds, however we discovered so much more in the process!

On weed day we go over our common weeds chart and practice identifying them in the weed garden before going to yank some out in the children’s farm. Today we noticed a weed that was growing in the dinosaur garden (and a bunch of other places) that I hadn’t figured out the name of yet. Today we looked it up and realized it was burdock (or what I had previously nicknamed elephant ear weed.) The burdock was flowering and had burrs on it so we decided it needed to go before it spread seeds everywhere.

So we eventually yanked it out and in the process realized the burrs were sticking to us. Naturally the campers thought that was awesome and started collecting the burrs…

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Also in the process of pulling out the giant burdock we found a new and awesome caterpillar! It is a stick caterpillar and has amazing camouflage. If it weren’t bent you would never know it was alive!

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Awesome Little Gardeners

Since today was cool and sunny being out in the garden was wonderful! We were super productive today.

During free exploration time a bunch of the kids actually sifted ALL the almost finished compost and now we are ready to turn over the first bin and start a new bin!

Today’s topic was weeds and we learned to identify a bunch of weeds and even tasted some edible ones! I think the sourgrass was the most popular. The kids also became familiar with my LEAST favorite weed… pigweed. It is EVERYWHERE.

In the garden we practiced all the skills we’ve gone over so far including watering, hunting garden foes, and weeding. This bed was empty by the time we were finished! (That’s mostly pigweed, in case you were wondering!)

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First week of full day camp… ever!

So this week we launched a test of having full day camp at the farm.  We made this decision based on feedback from parents last year, and decided to test it out for two weeks of camp this year.  So far, it’s been going GREAT!  We also lucked out with awesome weather so far this week, and it looks as if the rest of the week will be good as well.  The only concern with full day camp is that we have very limited indoor space at the farm, so if the weather is really bad for an extended period of time it could be challenging keeping everyone happy. But after just two days I can’t imagine how we fit everything in with just a half day in the past! 🙂

Our theme for this week of camp is “The Garden is a Magical Place”.  Yesterday we explored the magic of seeds by reading two books, doing a seed match game, and creating a seed identification chart as our craft.  

Today our theme was the Secrets of Soil.  We investigated different soils around the farm, explored our compost bins (lots of worms were found!) and did a soil/sand painting craft.  Tomorrow we will be exploring the Magic of Metamorphosis!

Here’s a picture of our campers for this week (missing our one camper who was the photographer for the day):

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Rainy Thursday

So today we all donned our raincoats and boots and survived through the rainiest day of camp in the last year.  Unfortunately there are no pictures from today (due to my fear of ruining my phone) but know that all the campers survived (and even enjoyed) parts of this rainy day with minimal complaints!  We started off the day exploring some of the new gardens that had been put in, and while doing that we found one of our favorite friends… a toad!  We created a habitat for him, filled it with food, and then put him in to observe him until the end of camp (when we let him go).  

We had our morning meeting in the barn, and then went out to chart the weather for the day. Our precipitation collector is missing, but we all knew it was raining (the humidity was at 90%).  We then headed out into the garden to add more straw mulch to the tomato plants, started digging out a new bed, and planted some bean seeds.  As we were doing this the rain increased so we escaped to the barn for the rest of camp.  

After snack we played some games, did our craft (a tzedakah box, or money collection jar for charity) and then read the book “Are You a Bee?” We talked about garden friends and foes, and looked at our Kids Garden binder to see what kinds of friends and foes we might have in the garden (luckily we haven’t seen many yet!)  At that point (as we were getting ready to leave) the sky suddenly cleared up!  Of COURSE!  

Tomorrow should be a good weather day and with the several new campers we gained today it should be a great last day of camp for the week 🙂  See you then!