August 5, 2009

I was excited to be working at the Snyder estate because me and my friends like to wander around the old cement factory and explore the caves. You can imagine how happy I was when Rick took me and Carrie on a full tour of one of the caves in his Kubota. He showed us soil and clay deposits that seeped down through the ceiling. (Above ground he showed us the deep pits this creates.) Later Rick pointed out a huge column that went 40 feet up to the ceiling. He told us it was an air vent that went all the way above the ground. That’s when I realized it is the bottom of the bottomless well Sam found.

Building a Grass Couch at Rondout Valley Middle School

I am delighted to see the many changes happening not only at Marbletown Elementary but, also at Kerhonkson Elementary with their garden and, now with the new garden being built at the Middle School. One of our recent project has been building a grass couch in the middle school garden. I love this idea and I think the kids will too. The one thing I can't say is that it was easy to build. We marked the areas for the couch to be 5 feet by about three feet and then we started shoveling and wheelbarrowed about 5 or 6 wheelbarrow fulls of dirt to the area. We then proceeded t become COVERED in dirt as we wet down the dirt inorder to pound and mold the dirt into the shape of a couch. Our plan was to put wire netting around the sides and back of the couch to keep the couch stable and from collapsing. tis took some planning but we eventually were sucess ful and able to build the backrest of the couch. The base of the couch is complete ans we plan on digging up sod from an area where an outdoor classroom is being made to lay over the couch. All of the work we did took us about four hours and I slept very well that night.

Farm Food Donations to Local Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens

Every morning of the internship (except Wednesdays) me and mark are in charge of picking up seconds produce, the stuff that looks like you wouldn't want to eat it but is perfectly edible. Saunderskill's, Davenport's, and Gill's Farm donate the produce which we then prepare, inventory, stack onto a pallet and store at davenport's packing house. The donations are then picked up and delivered to soup kitchens and food pantries all over Ulster County by Family of Woodstock. One week me and Mark were asked to deliver some of the donations to The Queen's Galley in Kingston which was a very enlightning experience. It is amazing the work the volunteers do to meet the rising needs and amount of people who are reaching out to ask for something as simple as a meal. For anyone who has not been to volunteer at a soup kitchen I highly recommend this experience. It will open your eyes and allow you to truly see the need there is for these types of programs. Everyone should have acess to fresh nutritious foods which is why I am so in love with the donation program.

July 23, 2009

Strawberries!!! at Marbletown Elementary School Garden

The strawberries have finally been transplanted!!! -hundreds and hundreds of them. Me and Mark were really starting to hate them but in celebration of finishing we took leftover plants and planted them in the woods next to the nature trail. We didn't plant them that well but there were tons of runners and they will probably be taking over by next year. I wish I had a before and after picture of the strawberries. We planted some of the strawberries in hanging baskets in attempt to outsmart the chipmunks which are at fault for devouring all of the strawberries. Mark is going to biuld something to hang them with. other than that we just worked on making the garden look beautiful for the RVGA farm tour that is happening saturday and ending with a tea party at the MES garden. Me and Mark are going to be working at a few different farms saturday with susan Perrin, the Director of the growers association. Overall I have been enjoying working at the MES garden. Above are some photos taken by Nicci, one of the gardeners we have been working with. in the picture to the left me and Mark are Picking Kale that is going to be used for a dinner at the governor's mansion that has to do with the new garden they have there. To the right are some of the Marbletown Elementary summer school kids who came out to help us transplant strawberries. In an up coming post I hope to talk about the Snyder Estate and the historical Society- I am just waiting on some pictures. And you should hopefully be hering from Mark soon also. enjoy! Carrie

July 21, 2009

RVGA Internship 2009

This summer has been the summer of opportunity. On July first I took off for my trip to Europe with my Girl Scout troop after almost 18 months of nonstop fund raising. we toured London, Paris and Lucerne, Switzerland in a whirl wind of ten days. It was an amazing experience in which we stayed in two of the four Girl Scout international houses (Pax Lodge in England and Our Chalet in Switzerland). Traveling oversees has given me a broader view of cultures. I have also been blessed with a scholarship from the Rondout Valley Growers Association and the opportunity to complete an internship(Paid!!) with them this summer. Mark Davenport also won a scholarship from RVGA and is also completing the internship this summer. you will probably read some posts from Mark.I first met Susan Perrin, the director of RVGA when I interviewed her as part of my WISE( wise, individualized,senior experience) project which was based around a tremendous amount of research on the topics of eating locally, food production and how this effects the environment. Ultimatly I chose to create a dinner made entirely from local foods grown on farms in Ulster County, NY as well as a presentation of my research although my initial idea was to create a farm school program as well as an educational garden at Rondout Valley High School. there are a couple of projects we will be working on for our internship including: Collecting, sorting and creating an inventory of donated "seconds" produce from Davenport's Farm, Gill's Farm and Saunderskill's Farm. The donated produce is being distributed to local food pantries to help out the growing number of people these facilities service. Helping out at the Marble town Elementary School Garden and working with the group "From the Ground Up" who started the garden. Creating a new garden at Snyder's Estate in Rosendale. We will also be leaning about the history of the Rosendale Cement Factory and the farm that was on the estate. we are also growing kale for a dinner at the Governor's mansion in celebration of his new outdoor kitchen and garden. we will also be visiting the govenor's garden in Albany. All of these project are what make the internship exiting and I can't wait to help out with all the great projects while learning tons!