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 February 23rd, 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 February 23rd, 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 February 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

The Eggs have Arrived

April 14, 2014

After waiting an eternity (about two weeks) the Middle School business’ eggs have arrived.

Eight eggs in their packing.

Eight eggs in their packing.

We set up the incubator downstairs in the pre-school/Kindergarden classroom so Mrs. D’s kids will have the chance of monitoring them. The little kids will be responsible for turning the eggs, while the middle schoolers have set up a data logger and a couple temperature probes to keep track of the temperature in the incubator.

The incubator was provided by Ms. Mertz. It’s put together out of plywood with a 75 W incandescent light bulb as the heat source. Unfortunately there is a significant thermal gradient and although we salvaged a couple of computer fans for the purpose we did not get around to installing them –and more importantly testing them– in the incubator before the eggs arrived.

We’ll see how it goes.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2014. The Eggs have Arrived, Retrieved February 23rd, 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 February 23rd, 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 February 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Extracting Lavender Oil

February 21, 2014

Lavender leaves are placed into a flask.

Lavender leaves are placed into a flask.

While steam distillation is the recommended method for extracting oils from herbs, we’re trying a quick an dirty method of simply heating up the lavender leaves in water (up to 40 ºC) and seeing if any of the oils float to the top. If this does not work, we’ll still have produced some lavender scented water for our soapmaking.

The lavender leaves came from the large bushes out by the preschool that the outddoor group trimmed for Ms. Dicker.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2014. Extracting Lavender Oil, Retrieved February 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Blueberries in the Snow

February 19, 2014

Dr. Sansone and a parent volunteer, transplant blueberry bushes into the partly frozen ground.

Dr. Sansone and a parent volunteer, transplant blueberry bushes into the partly frozen ground.

Last weekend was not the optimum time for transplanting berry bushes. The top five centimeters of the soil was still frozen, and the air temperature was below zero Celsius with a cold breeze on top of it. However, we needed to get fourteen blueberry bushes moved, and, with a lot of help from some parents and a couple students, we were able to get the bushes and enough soil laid out to give them a good chance of success when the soil warms up.

Raspberry mounds protected by straw await warmer weather.

Raspberry mounds protected by straw await warmer weather.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2014. Blueberries in the Snow, Retrieved February 23rd, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

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