Mid-Summer - Summer camps and the challenges of so much rain

Posted by Marty Castriotta on Monday, September 2, 2013 Under: News and Updates

July 23, 2013

We have finished teaching in the 2013 summer camp season at The Orchard School, and I've never seen so many squash bugs, earwigs, potato beetles and Japanese beetles in my life. I taught
"Our Earth, Our Voice, Our Choice" a leadership camp for 13 to 16 year olds that provides an exciting forum for teens to connect, explore, and create around the three basic principles of food, shelter, and clothing. Who do you want to become? How do you walk your talk? How can your choices change the world? This camp gives campers achance to find their voice, speak up, and share with peers who want to make a difference.

Then Ellen taught
"Forest Explorers" camp for 8 to 11 year old campers. They searched for tracks, dissected rotting logs, built shelters, dipped nets in streams, identified wild plants and played forest games. With their eyes wide and ears alert, they explored the wilds around Orchard Hill.

Next up I taught "Art of the Wild" for ages 12 to 14. We explored the magic and lore of living in the woods and wilds of Orchard Hill. We share in the ancient practices of fire-making, shelter building, thanksgiving and sneaking. Campers enjoyed getting dirty and had a lot of fun.

The last camp Ellen taught was "Farm Camp" with campers ages 6 to 10. This is a very popular camp. Campers dug for worms and studied vermiculture. They explored the basics of animal care, vegetable growing and herbal medicine, had scavenger hunts in the garden and cooked over the campfire. There was also lots of time for hiking, games and fun at the pond. Eating farm fresh food is always the yummiest part of this camp. It was a great summer of teaching such enthusiastic campers.

Around the farm in July, ducks got in and wiped out 3/4 of our rice plants. At least the plants love all the rain. We turned in some gardens this week that never got planted because they were too wet. We still haven't gotten a first cut hay for the same reason. It's been a tough year for crops so far. The fruit trees and kiwis are doing well. The animals are growing and eating lots of grass. Six lambs coming tomorrow.

Now that it is post camp we will do a mid-summer reassess. We will focus on what's doing well, and feed the pigs the rest, maintain...find the ocean in August.

In : News and Updates 

Tags: "the orchard school" "summer camps" forest farm exploration vermiculture "counselor in training" "animal care" "planting vegetables" "herbal medicine" "lots of rain" "pastured raised animals" "organic farming" 
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About Me

Marty Castriotta Marty grew his first potato when he was 12 year old on a worn out piece of ground behind his parents’ house. He’s been attracted to the idea of growing food ever since. He started growing seriously in 2001 with his wife Ellen’s guidance and has worked on several organic farms prior to moving to Orchard Hill. His passion is in integrating all aspects of the farm; the gardens, animals, buildings, water systems and so on. Marty has been raising heritage farm animals since 2003, and started training his young oxen Boss and Chez to do some of the farm work in the winter of 2012. Marty graduated from Antioch University New England with an MS in Environmental Studies and currently teaches Farmers & Foragers and summer camps at The Orchard School, as well as Permaculture Design Courses at Orchard Hill.