Good morning Grow Appalachia Family! The month has whipped by here in Greene County, TN. The fall colors have been so beautiful as we drive down our country roads and into the mountains. I do not believe we have seen such colors in a long time. Hello, Debbie Strickland reporting in on what has been happening with our teens over at Rural Resources. We are slightly winding down our activities, but very slightly. We still have many things to do and accomplish before the holidays get here and we do not have programming for a couple of weeks. So, not much slowing down is allowed, but a little bit is nice as our weather begins to change and cool off. But, our October has been packed with many adventures and activities for our teens. Our highlight adventure was a trip to Berea College this month. This trip has been in the planning stages for so many months, that the teens were wondering if we would ever make it! We did! It just took some time in coordinating days we could go with the college calendar and making sure all ducks were in a row. We took 6 teenagers up to tour the campus, with 4 of them turning applications in for enrollment next fall. We are now in the waiting game to see if they will be fortunate enough to attend college at Berea! We should be hearing by December. 2 of those 4 teens went with us last year and fell in love with the campus. The other 2 visited the first time this year and were more excited after the tour than before with everything Berea has to offer. The parents came along to check the campus out as well, ask questions, and see where their child might be going in the fall. All the parents were very excited with the potential that the college has to offer their child and the wonderful atmopshere the college provides. Our other 2 teens enjoyed the tour and their brains are spinning on ideas for future careers and college plans.
Don’t think we left Berea without going over to the Grow Appalachia office and visiting for a bit. Mark and Chris took us over to the Grow Appalachia garden site and gave us a tour. What a great learning experience for the teens and their parents as Mark and Chris talked about the different cover crops that were planted. A reinforcement with the teens about what we have been discussing here and the importance, but the parents were very interested in the topic and asking questions. The parents and teens gained a better understanding of the use and need for cover crops in our garden spaces. They also were able to taste test some of David Cooke’s peppers from his garden spot. Yep, the hot ones might have been a bit too hot for one of my teens who eats nothing but “hot”.
At the farm this month, the teens helped pull weeds out of their raised beds and cut back the kale so it will regrow from the damage caused by the notorious japanese bettle. A couple of teens came out and helped to pull the sweet potatoes out of the ground, while my son had the opportunity to sort them into sizes. We also moved the pigs around the farm – sorting out our litters of boys and girls, moving a pregnant mom into her nursing headquarters, and moving our big pigs out into pasture while securing a hole that they put into the fence. We have also been busy building rabbit cages and preparing our rabbit barn for winter. We are winterizing the building by adding in insulation sheets, water tank heaters for the watering system, insulating the water pipes, and looking at the right heater to buy for the barn. This will keep our bunnies warm and toasty during our cold cold cold winter nights. We have also taken our hoop house down in preparation for our new building site. We will be relocating the hoop house this upcoming month on our farm. We are also hoping in the next couple of months the site for the new building will be cleared and prepared so construction can begin this spring!
The teens have still been busy in their gardens at home, and I have gotten some of the disposable cameras back. Our next blog will have some of these pictures, which I am dying to see. Next month we will be getting tunnels and plastic set up for those who will be still growing throughout the winter in their gardens. I will be ordering plastic and wire hoops this week for those teens. All other teens have been given their cover crops, and they should have put them out long before now so their soil will become healthy and happy this winter, and spring crops will be ready to grow.
We also had an opportunity to present pumpkin at the Jonesborough Farmers Market. Our teens who are cooking and preserving this year prepared a variety of dishes with pumpkin. They used local ingredients from the market vendors to make the various dishes. The two most popular dishes were the pumpkin chili and stuffed baked pumpkin. They also had samples of a pumpkin dip that went well with apple slices and spiced pumpkin cake. The teens prepared the dishes the night before, then served up samples at the market on Saturday. They discussed with others how to make the dishes, items that were included in each dish, and passed out recipes. They also had a sign on the table with all the local ingredients used and which vendor at the market had those items. The person was able to take the recipe and go shopping at the market for the needed ingredients. At Greenville Farmers Market, the teens helped during their Halloween Bash make carmel apples with kids and showed their true characters in their costumes and pumpkins they painted.
If you would like to try the chili, we used this recipe from allrecipes.com, http://allrecipes.com/recipe/25722/pumpkin-chili/?internalSource=search%20result&referringContentType=search%20results. All the other pumpkin recipes were from this site as well. There were so many recipes I would have loved to have the teens try, but we would have been there all day cooking and handing out samples. I don’t even know where we could have put that many dishes. HMMM… I think we could have used half the vendor spaces and tables to lay out all of those yummy pumpkin dishes I saw!
The next post I will write will be after Thanksgiving, so everyone have a happy turkey day! Count the blessings for the year and enjoy all those fall harvest items.