Tuesday, 9 September 2014



Garden Update

Actual food consumed from the garden has remained low in this last part of the summer, mainly due to the type of crops in production. A few leaves of kale have been used in salads and soups. A dozen yellow 'grape' tomatoes have also been added to salads recently. However, the majority of the garden is growing brussels sprouts, which will not be ready until at least the first frost. Therefore, the local gardeners have been left with excess time on their hands.

These sprouts will grow much larger of the next month or more.

Kale can also grow into the late fall
This year's small tomato is a ridiculously bright yellow

Along with producing high quality food for the citizens of the Place Under the Pine, the gardening program is also in place to teach the young students about plant life. But, with this lull in gardening time an alternate source of plant life to study needed to be found.
What some might call a stroll through the woods could also be considered a hands-on biology lesson on the local flora and fauna. Studying plants you could also say. A great alternative to 'garden time'.
The older students were assembled and taken out to the woods - Parrot's Bay.

Getting out into the field and leaving the confines of the fenced in yard changed the entire attitude of some students. They become energized and celebrated life by, say, throwing milk weed into the wind (both a lesson on milk weed identification and the scientific forces of wind/lift).


The students went from 'ho hum' to finding long lost relics and using their forensic skills to determine, as in this example, how a 60's era car became parked in the middle of this second generation forest with a tree growing through the middle of it.

Some students become almost like different people when they were immersed in the natural world. They become more generous and empathetic, even offering to piggy back the younger children who become tired.

It was a wonderful experience to take the students out of their normal habitat and head into the woods. The trees, the air, the rocks, the stumps, the bugs, the sun...the entire natural world made their neurons fire and their inquisitive minds inquiz. It was like they were meant to be out there. There is no doubt now that the forest and fields are the ideal learning/play ground for these children. It was a amazing thing to see, like the hidden wildflowers they found.

No idea what kind of flower this is, but, it was really neat!

Kingston | 1:05


  1. I love watching Brussels sprouts grow. Nature adventures, as we call them here, are a must in our weekly routine. So much learning goes on without even trying. Love that!

    The last flower is jewelweed. I harvest it and infuse it in oil to be added to my healing salves. The healing salves are great for cuts, scrapes, insect bites, rashes, etc. It is also great at stopping poison ivy in its tracks it you get it on the skin ASAP after coming into contact with it. In this case you can use it fresh, just slice the stem so the juices start to come out and then put on the contact spot of poison ivy. Also interesting to note that when you find jewelweed, poison ivy is usually close by. Just goes to show you that Mother Nature is always looking out for us :)

    Another fun thing to do with it, take a few leaves and put them under water. The under side of the leaf will go silvery...hence the name jewelweed.

    Have fun in the woods.

    1. Jewelweed - wow, thanks Kim. I did not expect anyone to answer that. Great to know it helps with poison ivy (luckily, we have not had any brushes with that...yet).

  2. Your sprouts are looking great! I love sprouts, but we can't grow them very well here (too warm to set sprouts properly), so I always look at them a little enviously :)

    1. Funny, I look enviously at your 'spring' garden ( http://www.ock-du-spock.com/2014/09/busy-in-spring-garden.html#.VCGmyvldVh8 ) as we head into autumn.

  3. "What some might call a stroll through the woods could also be considered a hands-on biology lesson on the local flora and fauna." This. And the shorter the kid, the more amazing stuff they can see, being so close to the ground and all :D