Carlton goes to college and other colorful stories

P1080221 We’re six days and counting with no rain. The morass is drying and the butterflies and other pollinators have landed, flitted, and flown in greater numbers than we have seen in these parts yet this year. Before summer’s end, I may need all 10 fingers to count monarch butterflies. The milkweed keeps sending out its rich fragrance. We can hope.

In between butterfly counts, we loaded a crated Carlton into the car and took him down to the Veterinary Medical Center at Ohio State University. What started out as a solid mass that wrapped under his right foreleg had settled into three abscesses. Fearing a pernicious parasite, we made the trip that IMG_4674we’ve made twice now with Marsh the Nigerian dwarf goat.

I love that place — if not the reason for going, but for the experience. The veterinary students and faculty and are curious, kind and thorough. On Thursday, with a dozen or so students gathered around, Erin “won” the opportunity to lance the most problematic abscess. It was truly spectacular, so productive as to elicit a burst of, “Ah-ohhhhs!” and applause. Dr. MacKay announced, “I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t appreciate a good abscess.” That right there is a bumper sticker in the making.

Continental 3On Friday, more color, of a very different kind, arrived here on The Quarry Farm. The Continental Junior Gardeners visited for the fourth year. There were many new faces this year, although some came into focus as we realized they were the siblings of children who visited in the past. They gathered leaves and arranged them on white t-shirts, then sprayed diluted acrylic paints on the shirts to create one-of-a-kind designs. Leader Charlene Finch said they will wear them in the Continental Fall Festival parade in September. Continental 2

After lemonade and cookies, they walked through the butterfly gardens and visited the farm animal sanctuary. The turkeys claimed the group as their own and gentle giant goat Mr. Bill smiled for several cameras. Before they left us for another year, all but one camera-shy dad posed on the red Fox Cabin front porch for their annual portrait.

ContinentalThe sun continues to shine today. Damselflies and dragonflies are on the move, lessening the hum of mosquitoes bred in the recent floods. With paint left in the spray bottles, I think a few more t-shirts will be made this afternoon. Pick up a t-shirt of your own and come on by around 3 p.m.

Can’t promise there will be any cookies left, but there are butterflies and a much happier pig next door.

 

Third time’s a charm

IMG_0826The Junior Gardeners of Continental were one of the first groups to visit The Quarry Farm after we officially opened to the public three years ago. I distinctly remember the initial telephone conversation with organizer Charlene. She had picked up our newsletter and wanted to bring her charges out for a program. She didn’t sound too sure about the whole idea, but her group arrived and we had a fantastic time. Guess they did, too, because they spent two hours with us on Saturday, this time searching for butterfly host and nectar plants on a scavenger hunt.

IMG_1107Beatrice met up again with her good friend Brandon, the first person she would approach of her own accord after her arrival in 2012 as a very young pot-bellied piglet. Although Brandon had some slick new wheels this year and Beatrice was sleepy in the July humidity, she knew him well. So did Buddy.008

Megan Ramey, Program and Partnerships Manager for the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, arrived just before the Junior Gardeners to talk with us about the possibility of scouts earning various badges here. Thanks to the joyous enthusiasm of Charlene and her crew, a star of a Virginia opossum and Laura’s coffee and sugar cookie bars, we’re in.

Here’s to more face time with the kids from Continental. Special thanks to Junior Gardener Jazlyn Bishop for sharing your photos and video with us. Keep them coming.

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“Best field trip ever”

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One young boy shouted this as he was on his way back from the farm animal sanctuary this morning. How could it not be the headline today?

Modeling leaf resist t-shirts

Modeling leaf resist t-shirts

That young man was here with Charlene Finch and her Junior Gardeners from Continental. This was the second year that the group visited the Quarry Farm. They are one of best bunch of people we’ve ever met. Enthusiastic about everything, which is good since their day started here with rain. But since the shelter house went up last summer, the roof was ready and overhead. The new tent curtains were draw to the west and south, so the rain was hampered enough that kids and parents could make leaf shirts and select herbs for culinary, scent and healing bundles.

Charlene and her gardeners make herb bundles

Charlene and her gardeners make herb bundles

Charlene Finch started the Junior Gardeners group four years ago as part of her Defiance County Master Gardeners project. She liked it and the participants so much that she kept at it. Her own pocket paid for materials and seeds at

Costmary, an herb

Costmary, an herb

first. Now the group receives donations, holds 50/50 raffles and sells food at the Continental fall festival to fund summer gardening projects.

During the 2012 visit, Beatrice was just a piglet, a very shy one. Her encounter with Continental Junior Gardener Brandon was a positive turning point for us and Little Pig. Prior to the first trip, she wouldn’t let anyone close. But she liked Brandon. This morning as we all walked up the path to see the animals, Beatrice came at a trot, full grown and not a bit shy. Buddy and the goats were especially happy to see the 50-pound bag of peanuts that the group donated today.

Buddy’s Big Day

Tiger in the garden

The Junior Master Gardeners of Continental (Ohio) graced The Quarry Farm with their presence on July 11, the first group to visit since the big wind blew through. Although there are still a couple of downed trees here and there, the paths were clear and mowed in time for the travelers to arrive.

Led by Charlene Finch, the group of 20 adults and children of varying ages drove in around 10 a.m. to beat the afternoon heat. They divided into three groups to rotate through three different learning and activity stations.

Mints and other herbs and flowers are bundled

Group #1 met under the shady zelkova in front of Red Fox Cabin. From Board President Laura they discovered the history of the cabin and the grounds, the gardens and made herb bundles from cuttings gathered there.

Group #2 circled next to the ash stumps, recent victims of the invasive emerald ash borer. This was the perfect spot to hear Steve the Insect Guy talk about stream ecology, perfect because his roundtable included a meet-and-greet with riverine beneficial insects that grow up to combat harmful insects.

Meeting a dragonfly nymph

Group #3 walked to the farm animal sanctuary where they were heartily welcomed by Buddy the miniature donkey. Despite the white-hot rising sun, Buddy held his post at the southwest corner of the paddock and brayed greetings to each group, keeping up the conversation throughout their stay at the station. One volunteer in each group was assigned to pet Buddy so that he would keep quiet long enough for Beatrice the pygmy pot-bellied pig to come out and meet the kids. This event was the first educational outing for Beatrice. She took a special shine to a gentle boy named Brandon, allowing him to feed her a piece of apple. Geese and chickens checked out the group from a distance, as did the goats.

Buddy greets a gardener

After all groups had rotated through the stations, everyone met at the cabin for cookies, lemonade, ice water and a group photo on the front porch. Some strolled through the gardens to see the blooms of drought-tolerant flowers and to scout for butterflies and dragonflies. Many thanks to Board Secretary Rita for photographically recording the event and for sharing them for this post.