Entries Categorized as 'Farm School'

Chickens 911

October 10, 2015

Initial reports indicated a chicken with a broken leg; some rumors suggested the chicken had gone missing as well. These reports instigated an investigation by the Chicken Committee. They determined that the chicken was there, but something was wrong. They sent out a call for medical assistance.

X-ray of our chicken.

X-ray of our chicken.

Help came in the form of Dr. Emily Leonard from the Cherry Hills Veterinary Hospital (who happens to be a mom at our school). She took the chicken in for examination.

Based on the X-ray, there were no bones broken, so the issue must have been something else. The large egg that showed up on the radiograph suggested that the chicken could have been egg-bound, however, 20 minutes later, the chicken laid the egg.

So, the chicken is still under observation.

After the initial examination, Dr. Leonard brought the chicken back to school. It needed to be isolated and observed–which is something we now know to do in the future in any other case of injury–and the head of the Chicken Committee (the Chicken Head) made the call that the animal should go back to the hospital for the weekend.

Dr. Leonard deals mostly with pets, so she had to do quite a bit of research. “I learned a lot about chickens today,” she told me afterwards. This is a message I hope the students internalize. With the ready access to information we have today, it’s not so much about the facts you have memorized, but more about having the flexibility and ability to deal with new challenges by doing research and then applying what you learn are essential skills.

Dr. Leonard takes the chicken in for observation.

Dr. Leonard takes the chicken in for observation.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2015. Chickens 911, Retrieved July 27th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

CHICKEN MIDDLE’S FIRST EGG!!!

October 10, 2014

The first egg from our chickens.

The first egg from our chickens.

Last year, our middle schoolers named their business Chicken Middle. I was a bit skeptical, but the name stuck. This year, thanks to a lot of help from the school community (thanks to the R’s for the Ruby Coops), we finally have chickens (thanks to Mrs. C. for fostering chicks for us over the summer).

And today, we had our first egg. The students were a little excited.

It looks a little lonely sitting there by itself in the egg carton (thanks to Mrs. D., Mrs. P., and everyone else who donated egg cartons), but with a little luck it will have lots of company soon.

A student hand-feeds crickets to the chickens.

A student hand-feeds crickets to the chickens.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2014. CHICKEN MIDDLE'S FIRST EGG!!!, Retrieved July 27th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Certified Naturally Grown

August 16, 2014

While our farm program is nascent and small, we’ve been trying to minimize the use of synthetic chemicals. Yet it would still be difficult and require a lot of paperwork to acquire an “organic” certification. One alternative that looks promising is the Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) program that uses peer certification (other CNG farmers do inspections) and has a much lower bureaucratic burden.

Naturally grown tomatoes from the TFS farm.

Naturally grown tomatoes from the TFS farm.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2014. Certified Naturally Grown, Retrieved July 27th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Dandelion Season

May 8, 2014

Preparing the flowers for frying.

Preparing the flowers for frying.

The last two weeks have been peak dandelion season here in eastern Missouri, so I’ve been experimenting with the culinary uses of the flowers.

Dipped in batter and fried, the flower heads did not taste like much. Probably too much seasoning and too much batter. It was good advice to cut off as much of the green outer covering (the sepals) because they are bitter. However, if you cut too close to the base of the petals they fall out all over the place, which is good if you want to collect just the petals.

Dandelion flower fritter.

Dandelion flower fritter.

Collecting the petals only is great if you’re trying to make dandelion wine (I’m adapting the second recipe from here), except that I’m only using petals (2 quarts). I keep the same amount of sugar (3 lbs), oranges (4), water (1 gallon), and yeast (winemaker’s). This is the appropriate timing for this project since we just covered the differences between aerobic respiration and fermentation.

Two quarts (about 4 liters) of dandelion flowers for making a gallon of wine.

Two quarts (about 4 liters) of dandelion flowers for making a gallon of wine.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2014. Dandelion Season, Retrieved July 27th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

The Chicken Coops are Here

May 7, 2014

Finding the right place for the chicken coops.

Finding the right place for the chicken coops.

Now that we’re at the end of the academic year, our middle school business’ chicken coops have finally arrived (they were on back order). The kids had some fun finding the right spot for the coops, and we staked out an area for fencing; we plan to clip the birds’ wings.

Although, the coops came pre-assembled, the students needed to make some final adjustments.

Figuring out how the coops work.

Figuring out how the coops work.

Delineating the area for fencing.

Delineating the area for fencing.

Tomorrow, during math, they’ll be finding the perimeter so we can order fencing, and finding the area so we can know how much space we’ll have per bird.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2014. The Chicken Coops are Here, Retrieved July 27th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

The Apiary is in Business

May 5, 2014

Placing the nukes into the hives.

Placing the nukes into the hives.

As of this Saturday, we have two bee hives. With bees. Ms. Mertz and Mr. Deitrich received a pair of nukes (bees with a queen in a box) that were driven up, overnight, from Louisiana. They let them acclimatize for a few hours, with the nukes sitting on top of their respective hives, before putting them in. The nukes seem healthy; we were able to identify two queens and the bees were out foraging immediately. Ms. Mertz is happy.

Looking for the queen.

Looking for the queen.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2014. The Apiary is in Business, Retrieved July 27th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

The Bees are Coming

March 13, 2014

Students use sandpaper to prepare the outsides of donated hives for painting.

Students use sandpaper to prepare the outsides of donated hives for painting.

Ms. Mertz and Mr. Dittrich attended a beekeeping class last month. They were quite excited about what they learned, and it fits right into our Farm School initiative. They were able to secure a couple donated hives, which they’re busily preparing because queens are on the way.

Students also scraped the insides of the hives to remove old comb material.

Students also scraped the insides of the hives to remove old comb material.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2014. The Bees are Coming, Retrieved July 27th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

The Farm School Blog

March 10, 2014

The interest in our efforts to establish a Farm School program has been tremendous. Parents have enthusiastically chipped in time and resources to get things started, and we’ve been able to recruit Dr. Sansone to manage the practical side of things on the farm. Indeed, things are going so well that I’ve started a new TFS Farm blog to help us keep track of what we’re doing and to help us coordinate our efforts.

Dr. Sansone’s degree is in veterinary medicine and he has helped out a lot in my previous endeavors (see chickens and rabbits) to incorporate farming as practical life while studying anatomy.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2014. The Farm School Blog, Retrieved July 27th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

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