Today the 5th grade helped extract honey from honeycomb made by our very own honeybees. The honeycomb was carefully harvested last week. We only took a couple of bars to ensure the bees have plenty of honey to get them through the winter. Below are photos of the extraction process.
First the empty comb is cut off and placed into an empty bucket. Then (after thoroughly washing hands) the capped honeycomb is crushed. When its has been thoroughly pulverized (and fingers thoroughly licked), the wax & honey goop is poured into a strainer system. To build the straining system I went to a local brew shop, Nepenthe Homebrew, for food grade buckets, a spigot, and mesh strainer. I cut one of the buckets in half and lined and sandwiched the mesh between the two stacked buckets. The honey is then strained through the mesh which collects the wax. After a couple of slowing dripping days, we will bring the wax outside and place it near the hive so the honeybees can come out and clean off the remaining honey. It’s a pretty low tech system. This winter we will build a small solar oven so in the spring we can melt the wax down to make candles and lip balm!
Have a nice weekend!
Greetings! I’m pleased to announce that Green Dragon Bytes will now start to host various authors and a wider range of content. Not only will this blog continue to showcase the sustainability efforts of the Waldorf School of Baltimore, but it will now share information about sustainable living practices, permaculture design, community & service learning projects, seasonal recipes, green living household tips and life hacks, and city-wide green events. WSB’s Student Council and Green Dragon Action Team will be instrumental in providing new, fresh content . . . and YOU are also encouraged to contribute to the conversation. This invitation is not exclusive to the Waldorf School of Baltimore community — any reader is encouraged to contribute relevant content. Please contact Michel Anderson (manderson at twsb dot org) if you have something you would like to share.
To kick things off, Green Dragon Action Team member, Tia Thompson, shares her seasonally appropriate Harvest Soup recipe. Try it out this weekend!
1 c. green beans
1 med sweet onion
1 med/large rutabaga
1/2c chopped fennel
2 granny smith apples (peel & chop)
3c. chicken or vegetable broth
Combine the above & bring to boil.
Cover & simmer for 40 minutes until tender.
Puree in blender or food processor till smooth.
Last week WSB’s 5th grade furthered our Enhanced Schoolyard Plan by getting the stones laid for a permaculture herb spiral. It’s not complete yet, but the initial, heavy steps have been conquered!
“The idea behind herb spirals is fairly simple: Building a circular bed with spiraled walls creates a collection of microclimates, with varying degrees of sun exposure, drainage, and the opportunity to separate bad companions and neighbor friendly plants. In a tiny space, less than six square meters, it’s possible to grow a variety of herbs that might otherwise have to be spread throughout a property. The herb spiral lets gardeners do it in one spot.” (from The Permaculture Research Institute)
Below is a diagram of what the herb spiral will look like when it’s completed this spring, and THIS printable PDF is a good guide to making your own herb spiral at home.
In other news, the Green Dragon Action Team meet up for their first meeting this last Wednesday. With their help, along with the dirty hands of our students and volunteer EcoCrew, WSB’s schoolyard is set to become a symbol of sustainable land stewardship for the Coldspring Community and beyond.
Last Wednesday, Ms. Arnold’s 6th grade class had the pleasure of visiting Oregon Ridge Nature Center. The class is currently studying geology and mineralogy, and Oregon Ridge has a wonderful hand-on program about identifying the rocks and minerals of our local Piedmont watershed. The tour also incorporated landscape reading skills as we examined the landscape in relationship to its historical use. Please enjoy the photos below of our trip. Oregon Ridge is a mere 15 minute drive from WSB. Make it a point to visit this wonderful site. They offer an amazing array of nature programing that are open to the public. (And many of which are free!)
Last week, our 3rd grade class had a wonderful time visiting Calvert’s Gift: Organic Herb & Vegetable Farm in Sparks, Maryland. Students got to pick and taste a large variety of organic vegetables fresh from the earth.
Calvert’s Gift Farm does a CSA and sells some of their produce at farmers’ markets (one is in Towson). Be sure to stop by and say hello to our host, Beckie. As a parting gift the farm gave the class about 15 pounds of fresh radishes and turnips! (Which they are now busy pickling.)
Please enjoy the photos below (some of which were even taken by the students):
Hello Baltimore People. This is just a friendly public service announcement that today and tomorrow (10/3 & 10/4) are the last days this year to properly dispose of your household hazardous waste at the Northwest Citizen Convenience Center located at 2840 Sisson Street. The facility will be open from 9am to 5pm. This type of waste collection will not happen again until April 2015.
Here is fact sheet about household hazardous waste, and below is list of the accepted and non-accepted material.
- Automotive Fluids (e.g. antifreeze, transmission and power brake fluid)
- Glycols (e.g. Antifreeze)
- Household Cleaning Products
- Oil Paint
- Paint Thinners
- Pool Cleaners
- Pool Chemicals
- Propane Tanks
- Rust Removers
- Fire Extinguishers
- Turpentine (Varnishes & Stains)
- Florescent Light Bulbs
- Photographic Chemicals
- Acids (e.g. Sulfuric Acid)
- Industrial Wastes
- Medical Wastes
- Radioactive Materials
- No Leaking Containers
- No Commercial Waste
- NO UNMARKED WASTE (MUST be in original packaging with manufacturer’s label)
Throughout the day, Sustainability Coordinators tend to get a lot of mind-bending questions revolving around matters of compost, gardening, wildlife, native plants, etc. But, hands-down, the one I hear the most is . . . How can I turn into a Dragon? Followed by . . . How can I become more involved in the sustainability initiatives at WSB? Well, I have a grand answer for you that will solve both these perplexing puzzles in one fell swoop! This year, we are starting a new Green Dragon Team for students, parents, staff, and New Town community members. Our goal is to begin implementing the Enhanced Schoolyard Plan, and our focus this school year will be on managing our stormwater runoff and planting more edibles in the schoolyard. The Student Council has already elected their Green Officer who will be sniffing out the other Green Dragons hiding in the classrooms.
We are in need of 3 more parents to join our fiery ranks (preferably from the elementary and middle school, as the Children’s Garden is already represented). Green Dragon Parents will meet the 1st Thursday of every month directly after drop off at 8:30am. The main meeting will be adjourned by 9:15am at the latest! In order to keep these meetings short, follow up information will be handled online. Bare in mind, you can still be involved without becoming a full-fledged Dragon. Over the course of the school year we will need volunteers to help implement the plan as well as keep all WSB’s events as waste-free as possible.
Please be in touch with Michel Anderson with your desired level of involvement. If you’re interested in full dragon status please submit a 1,000,000,000 word essay containing all relative experience, including mythological lineage, bloodline, region and castle property information, gold and jewel reserves, as well as involvement in any significant ogre battles.
Our 1st meeting will be Thursday, Oct 2nd.
Thank you for reading and your interest!