Pause here for P-G

P-G Third Grade 2015Before we continue along the trail in a search of wildflowers and wild mushrooms, let’s take a moment to highlight a Friday adventure that we shared with the third grade class from Pandora-Gilboa Elementary School.

Although the school is just around a few corners from The Quarry Farm, this is the first time a class has been able to pay us visit in a while. This morning, the sun rose in a clear blue sky, the tortuous winds that we’ve had of late held their breath for the most part, and 41 students descending the bus steps to join us for the morning.

At three different stations, these curious kids learned about herbs alongside the butterfly garden, beneficial insects that spend much of their life in and along Cranberry Run and Riley Creek, and met some of the animals of the sanctuary.Herbs

At Station 1, Laura talked about past and present uses for herbs, and the pollinators that live amongst them in the Red Fox Cabin gardens. The students chose snipped samples of their favorites from a selection of culinary and/or fragrant herbs, zip-lock bagged the cuttings and labeled the bags for the journey home.

Steve brought on the dragonfly nymphs, or at least a bucket of them, at Station 2. He talked about the life cycles and habits of these predators, Macrosas well as others like damselflies and water scorpions. He pulled the old arm-covered-with-leeches trick, asking, “How long will it be before these leeches suck all the blood from my arm?” The answer? Never. The leeches he displayed were fish leeches.

Bronze turkeys Humperdink, Inigo, and Miracle Max were the greeting party at Station 3, the farm animal sanctuary. Johnny the Canada goose joined in, too. Most of the residents were lying low — in outbuildings and under trees — due to warm, sweaty temperatures, but Buddy the donkey came out. Potbelly Carlton and Lucy the donkey made their large group debut as well. Carlton rolled over for a belly scratch and Lucy leaned in for ear whispers.Lucy

Captain John Smith the Virginia opossum was the special guest “speaker” during the lunch hour. Half of the class met the Captain at Christmas time during a classroom reading of Jan Brett’s The Mitten. We thought it only fair he should meet the whole class on his own turf.

Here are a few more images from the day. Thank you to Nikki Beckman for sharing photos, Jessica Arthur and Jill Henry for sharing your class time, and top Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative and First National Bank of Pandora for supporting this educational program. If anymore photos arrive in the email box, we’ll add them to the show.

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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.