Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Slow Food Meets Speed Demons



This spring, a few of us decided to put in a garden up here at SKMC. Salivating at the thought of home grown tomatoes, sugar snap peas, winter squash, fresh greens, and more, we began the quest for the perfect garden. A generous friend of a friend allowed us to borrow a tiller, which is always an adventure in our rocky ground. We cut 12-15 foot posts for the fence, dug waist deep pits for the posts, and strung a fence over 8 feet tall, with chicken wire around the bottom to prevent the wee ones from entering. We dared animals to cross our barricade.

After tilling, we added heaps to our rock “garden,” which is truly a sight to see. We planted tomatoes, beans, peas, green and red cabbages, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, swiss chard, winter squash, parsnips, and lettuce. Our little seedlings prevailed, despite challenges of cold weather, a short growing season, and heavy clay soil. We bolstered our fence by closing off any large holes between the wire, and waited patiently.

Success! Cabbages were flourishing, parsnips prevailing, tomatoes coming on by the dozens, squash flowering, and rainbow swiss chard brightening up the garden. Day by day, we became more excited.

Despite our efforts, the local inhabitants were scheming and training for their big entrance and feast. Bunnies were jumping through burning hoops, groundhogs sent spies to document our daily schedules and mealtimes, raccoons were going to climbing gyms to beef up their upper body strength, and chipmunks were having time trials to see who could burrow quickest.

The best of the best emerged, and feasted first upon cabbage and beans…….moving on to other tasty gourmet items. TMI dispatched several fierce hunters, a brushhog, and scary plastic tarps to waive in the wind. The battle ensued, with each side attacking at different times of day. It became serious. We asked our intern Matt to move his tent inside the garden. Snipers we called in.

Despite losing much of our first attempt, we remain excited about the start, and hopeful that staff will continue to pursue small scale food production here at Spruce. Our soil, knowledge, fence, and garden can only improve with time! We continue to learn and grow, and laugh when our furry friends outsmart us.
Entry written by Beth Boehme

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Summer Fun

We've had an amazing 3 weeks of summer camp! There was all kinds of fun, learning, and adventure. Laser tag was a big hit for the Mountain Adventure Camp, and the students of the FLOW Camps loved paddling the "trough" section of the South Branch of the Potomac near Petersburg, WV. They came from all corners of the state... from Spencer to Shepherdstown, from Rowlesburg to Welch.

The students did a lot of journaling, and below are some excerpts they shared with us.

"I am a raindrop, I once lived in a cloud,
The adventures I have been on make me want to scream aloud
I’ve free falled from the sky, I’ve swam in a river
I made the snow that made you shiver
I helped make the hail that ruined your car
I’ve flowed with the ocean which stretches so far
I am a raindrop, I once lived in a cloud."

“Mighty strength within us all, empowered as I feel
Canoeing as the eagles soars, it’s really quite surreal
The water rushed past without a trouble or care
My canoe is going fast, I’m speeding through the summer air
I feel as if I am finally free, independent, but not alone
I do not care what others see, the water here this is my home
Filth does not exist here, in the haven I now call home
The water here is clear, I think as I reapply my coppertone
This place cleaner [than] most I’ve seen and hopefully it will stay that way”

For more information on Summer Adventures and FLOW email Katrina at kweyland@mountain.org.