Here in the North Country spring has finally begun to bloom into summer. This time of transition bears many layers as we continue to brush away the dust of winter past. As sheep, chickens, pigs, and goats make their journey from nested stalls and coops out to pasture, their presence in the barnyard is replaced with the hustle and bustle of the energetic and knowledgeable riding staff.
The laying hens were the last to make their journey to Dexter pasture. Under the cover of dusk the community silently gathered in the ever-dimming barnyard. With careful steps and steady hands we moved through the coop to collect the somber and roosting hens. Many were carried all the way from barn to pasture, while others took a ride in our electric truck. In moments like these, where daunting tasks are transformed into community experiences, we are reminded of the beauty and power of coming together as a whole to slow our daily rhythm and bring intention to the task at hand.
This idea of intention serves as an invisible framework upon which we base our cycles of inspiration, orientation, perspiration, and celebration throughout the year. We currently find ourselves in a time laden with the inspiration of a Treetops summer on the horizon, and the orientation of new community members. In order to provide counselors with the skills they will be exercising throughout the summer, we held a chicken harvest where staff could experience the process first hand, prior to guiding children through what is often a complex and emotional event. With grace, respect, and curiosity we successfully harvested our first chickens of the summer and fostered a meaningful connection to our food system.
Meanwhile, the gardens have exploded with life as newly transplanted veggies of all sorts begin to establish roots and soak in the sun. The peas have begun to flower, the carrots need thinning, and the brassicas have leafed out tremendously. The successions of greens including lettuce, kale, chard, bok choy, and spinach, have transitioned from greenhouse to ground and will soon be harvested to feed the growing community. The greenhouses are now filled with tomatoes, basil, peppers, and eggplants, which enjoy a warmer climate. The kitchen has already been busy incorporating fresh eggs, rhubarb, asparagus, parsnips, and herbs from this season, as well as potatoes still in storage from last year’s harvest.
Bright-eyed campers arrived at Treetops this past Saturday. Now they are busy settling into the rituals and routines of Camp. Over the next seven weeks, we look forward to sharing with them lessons of life and work on the farm.