Field Trip to Elderslie Farm

What a GREAT day we had at Elderslie Farm!!

Upon arrival, we visited the goats and checked out the swings.  It turns out a couple of the goats are about to have babies and they were BIG. We pulled up grass and pulled down leaves from trees we could reach and found whatever we could in the way of food to give the goats, which were were very friendly and very hungry.

We then got back in our cars and followed Alexis out to her growing fields, about a mile north of Elderslie Farm. After introductions all around, Alexis told us first about the watering system and how the lines were built from the pond up to the pumphouse and then into the fields for drip irrigation. We then walked out to see some of the plants that were growing, which included peppers (a branch had broken off one of the plants so we “harvested” some peppers that were on it) as well as chard, kale, tomatoes, beans, cabbage, yellow squash and zucchini. There were probably more but we didn’t have time to see everything.

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Sunflowers are for more than prettiness!

We passed by some clumps of very large sunflowers and Alexis explained that those are there to attract bees (which are good for pollinating things) and also some good wasps that eat bad bugs. It’s amazing how nature works together!

We went to the potato growing area and didn’t see anything interesting. The tops of the plants were all dead-looking. We found out, though, that they were supposed to be dead-looking and that meant it was time to harvest the potatoes. Alexis stuck a shovel in the ground and turned over a big chunk of dirt and there were LOTS of potatoes! We started picking them out of the ground and everyone got to take some home.

Alexis then asked if we wanted to pick some onions and we definitely did. So we went over to the onion patch, where the onions had been picked and were drying on the ground. Everyone got to find an onion and add it to their “loot”.

From there we headed back to the farm and walked out to where the horses and donkeys live. We weren’t able to ride them today but one of the very friendly donkeys came over so we could pet him.

We then stopped by the sawmill and learned that after trees are cut into lumber, some of the boards take up to two years to dry enough to make into furniture or doors, etc. We also learned that the little tiny oak tree that was planted by the woodshop might grow to live for 200 years!

After our tour of the woodshop, where we got to see some cool tools and a beautiful dining room table that Mr. Elder had built for someone, we stopped by a big mysterious tractor or two for some pics (we forgot to ask what they were for), then went to the house, where Mrs. Elder had prepared a tasty lunch for us.

What a fun day! We are so grateful to Katharine Elder for organizing and giving us lunch, Alexis Elder for sharing about her veggies and George Elder for letting us visit his sawmill and woodshop!  We are also very grateful to our volunteers, Kate Henson and Susan Elder (who came today), as well as those who have made donations to support our field trips and our program in general!

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