Last week, on Monday we started trail blazing on the Eagle’s Nest trail with yellow paint. First, we tested out the paint on a scrap birch to see how it would work and it came out great. Later that day, we then hiked on the Eagle’s Nest trail and blazed the trees along the way and cleared the path of any weeds and trees in the way of the path.We were able to get all the way to the flat land before there was the very steep hill on the trail. Towards the middle of hiking that day, Scott had seen a car carcass and we stopped and took a look at it. We believe it is from between ca. 1930-1950. Scott seemed to really want it and will ask the executive director of Smokey House Center, which is in charge of land management for the entire property if he is able to. Maybe, perhaps, going through some old records or photographs might tell more about the car and hopefully get a better idea on how old it is. On some trees, we did have to paint twice and also had to scrape some of the bark off to make a smooth surface to paint. However, we were out there for at least half the day and made good progress in the blazing.
On Monday, of this week, we went to the Herrick House and County Road trail and trail blazed. We were able to trail blaze the whole trail and clear out most weeds and fallen down trees in the way of the hiking path. Now, we just need to walk the trail backwards to mark it coming in from the County Road side onto the Herrick House trail. I come here three days a week and on the last day I was here, Wednesday, Robin and myself worked on a trail maintenance plan for the Beaver Pond trail. On the trail, the wooden boards are rotten, and the walkway on the marsh is sunk down in and falling off the base, you can still walk on it, but it really should be more level and stable. Also, some pieces are missing and broken. This maintenance work would be of benefit to the students that come every year for field studies class to have a better maintained trail. We propose to divide this project into two parts, Part 1 consisting of the trail and Part 2 consisting of the marsh. We figured out the cost of the project and have all materials needed and the cost listed in the project proposal plan which on Wednesday, Robin helped me to write. The total for this project came out to be approx. $275. The project proposal will be proposed to the Executive Director of the Smokey House Center for his final decision.
In POD three at Smokey House I made a wooden stool. Not only did I cut out the seat and find the materials to do it, I also went above and beyond to carve a deer skull and antlers in the middle of the seat. This procedure was very time consuming. This is because I needed to work slowly to prevent gouging. It’s not so easy to erase with wood.
We started our stools with a piece of 2 X 12 spruce slab board. We then drew a perfect circle in the middle. Then we brought it outside and cut the circle out of it. Then we sanded all of the rough edges out of the seat. We then marked out circles to put the legs in, drilling the holes with a 1 inch drill bit. Then we widened the ends of the legs to fit snugly in the holes. We glued and wedged them so they will stay tight. But the first time we did the legs they did not hold.
The experience of building a wooden stool by hand was pretty cool. Also this was my very last project at TTC Smokey House. I’m leaving to go back to public school. I had a blast at TTC at Smokey House. It was fun for the short period of time I spent here.
It’s hard to believe that the garden is almost “put to bed” for the winter. It feels so empty, even while it looks neat and tidy. Well, not totally empty – we still have leeks and kale growing, and the cover crop of winter rye looks like green hair in various beds!
Inside, we still have work to do. Today we worked with pumpkins – baking, scraping, and pureeing for freezing. We have garlic, onions, and potatoes to store, and the jalapeno and Thai peppers are slowing drying. The orca beans are done, but we still have Vermont cranberry beans to shell, and bags of frozen tomatoes to turn into sauce.
Unfortunately, we missed our opportunity with the popcorn. We picked it and left it in a bushel basket inside to deal with later. Then, last Friday, I discovered that the basket was full of mold and mildew. I managed to save some of our lovely field corn, but most of the popcorn went into the compost pile to nourish next year’s crops.
Pod 3 has involved garden work. We are working on getting the garden ready to rest for the winter. We got the garden out back, where the corn and pumpkins grew, cleared out of corn stalks. Then, Jennie came and rototilled it, missing where the kale was growing as she thought we were still consuming it.
We then were able to put winter rye, a cover crop, down to help protect and enrich the soil during the winter. Also, where the pumpkins grew, we cleared that out and put down winter rye. It has recently now starting to grow, it looks a little like green grass. Heidi and myself and at one point Robin and myself took the landscaping fabric out of the garden and back into the barn. We put down winter rye in some of the wooden garden beds and then lightly down hay. We also removed dead plants, such as the dill and lettuce.
Earlier this week, Juanita, Robin, and I took the large garlic heads and removed the cloves inside and planted them outside in the garden in two garden beds. We put them in different garden beds this year to give the ones last year that grew the garlic a break to grow something different. It did not take long to plant the garlic, only about 20 minutes. We have done a lot of garden work and the garden is now ready to rest for the winter. It will be ready in the spring.
Smokey House POD three we have made quite a lot of bread. We didn’t just bake regular bread, we took sugar and cinnamon and made a swirl bread. It is basically the same thing as regular bread, you mix the dough and let it sit for an hour. Then take your fist and punch down in the middle of the dough. Then we lay it out on a hard surface, roll it out flat, but without any thin spots. Then take the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all around on one side of the dough. Then you roll the bread dough like you are making a telescope. Pinch the ends so none of the cinnamon/sugar comes out, then put it in the oven for 35 minutes. After that you let it cool and you have cinnamon swirl bread.
Friday was the start of Pod 3. This pod will focus in on finishing the garden, some cooking and trail maintenance work. Today, we made cinnamon swirl bread in the kitchen. It look about 2 hours to make. Everyone made their own bread to take home. The wet ingredients were water, sugar, olive and vegetable oil. The dry ingredients were all purpose flour, bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. It was fun to make. We also worked in the garden today. We got all of the landscape fabric down, put winter rye on the two garden beds with hay and planted onions. Last Friday, we got some of the landscape fabric down and went to the Beaver Pond Trail and did some maintenance work there. We cut down weeds and trees in the way of the path. Robin chainsawed some trees out of the path ways and took the wood back for our usage.