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Archive for July, 2010

Mid-Summer Garden Tour

30.Jul.2010 by Lauren Jacobs

Harvesting vegetables and herbs from the Center’s garden has been going on for some time now but just this week I started to feel like everything was coming out at once. A daily visit to the garden reveals something new to be picked: beans, zucchinis, kale, cucumbers, swiss chard, and a huge variety of herbs. Chelsea and I picked a ton of basil a couple days ago which the kitchen staff has turned into lots of pesto for both immediate consumption and freezing. Hannah even picked a bunch of yellow transparent apples that was turned into a delicious chutney for dinner that night. At the risk of sounding horribly cliché, it is pretty exciting to see our own little “loop” in motion here in Craftsbury. The basil we planted is being made into pesto for pizza that is cooked in the wood-fired oven we constructed last year. Food scraps from the kitchen and dining hall are now being composted beautifully in the new compost shed. This fall we’ll be putting that compost back on the garden before snow flies.

A colorful bowl of nasturtiums and calendula.

A colorful bowl of nasturtiums and calendula.

When deciding what to plant in the garden we concentrated on three goals: 1. Have things that would continue to produce throughout the season. 2. Have lots of certain veggies that are almost impossible to mess up. 3. And perhaps most importantly, grow things – especially herbs – that the dining hall uses a lot of.

I really thought that zucchinis and summer squash fit into the second category. They grow like weeds, right? Well, you can imagine my dismay when seemingly all the little baby zucchinis were rotting on the vine. Russ diagnosed the disease: blossom-end rot. But what caused it and what could we do about it? A fair bit of internet research and discussion with other gardeners (thanks Rebecca!) produced theories but little consensus. One theory said it might be a pollination problem. Luckily our own resident pollination expert Chelsea was willing to go out to do some hand pollinating (thanks Chelsea!). But Chelsea found plenty of bees in the garden doing the same thing she was, so that probably wasn’t the cause of the rot. Another theory was calcium deficiency, potentially caused by the hot, dry weather we had a couple weeks ago. As far as I could tell, there’s not much you can do about a calcium deficiency once the plants are growing.

Jungle 'o squash. Perhaps we should have watered during the dry weather, but the plants were lush so they seemed to be doing well.

Jungle 'o squash. Perhaps we should have watered during the dry weather, but the plants were so lush that they seemed to be doing fine.

Beyond Chelsea’s valiant hand-pollinating efforts and cutting off the rotting squash, we didn’t do anything about the rot. Recently though they seem to be making their own come-back and we’ve had a few full-grown non-rotting specimens to pick. My hopes have been raised as the plants look a little better every day.

Not rotten!

Not rotten!

A little acorn squash hiding in the jungle.

A little acorn squash hiding in the jungle.

Chamomile blossoms I hope to turn into tea.

Chamomile blossoms that will hopefully be turned into tea.

Swiss chard adds some nice color.

Swiss chard adds some nice color.

A bee hangs out in a hollyhock blossom.

A bee hangs out in a hollyhock blossom.

Hannah recently printed out posters for the dining hall describing what is going on with the compost and the garden. Hopefully this means more folks will venture out back to check out what is growing. Definitely stop by if you haven’t done so already!


Think you’ve got the Golden Wheel?

27.Jul.2010 by Matt Briggs

Hey all-
We’re putting together a rollerski race this sunday at the Jericho rollerski trails, and you should be there.  It’s going to be a 15k for men, 10k for women, in the afternoon.  It’s going to be featuring a bunch of the US’s top biathletes as well as many skiers from around New England, including the 10 skiers of the GRP.  The race will also be followed by a barbeque for all racers and spectators.  It should be a lot of fun and one of the best rollerski races you’ll find anywhere in the summer.  Registration is at  Winners will receive the almost famous “Golden Wheel.”

Questions? Want to volunteer?  email

Top of Vermont

15.Jul.2010 by Ida Sargent

We’re in the middle of a high volume week and decided to mix up our usual trails and roads with an OD run on the Long Trail.  So this morning we loaded up a van and headed to the trailhead at Mud City in Morrisville.  The adventure started by running up the Beaver Meadow trail until we hit the Long Trail and then we headed south following the white blazes.  We ran up and over Madonna Mountain, cooled off by swimming in Sterling Pond, ran down a steep descent to the Smugglers Notch road where Pepa was waiting with more water, food, and popsicles, and then headed steeply back up the trail towards the chin of Mt. Mansfield.  Our original plan was to follow the ridge all the way to the Mansfield Lake in Moscow but our time and distance estimations were a bit off so we cut down early by taking the Toll Road and then the Hazelton Trail.  The final steep descent was quite tough on the sore legs and I think Pat even considered borrowing a child’s bike at the top of the toll road for an easier finish.  We finally made it back to Mama Pepa after 5 hours on the trail!  On our way home we hit up a swimming hole in Stowe that felt very cold and refreshing especially compared to the warm water of Big Hosmer.

Han, Chels, and Susan at the Beaver Meadow Lodge with Madonna peak in the background

Moni waiting for us on the chin.  This was at about 4 hours which was our original goal for time so he asked when Pepa was coming to pick us up.  He said, "My legs are starting to not feel."

Looking tough?


I Love the 90’s

12.Jul.2010 by Matt Briggs

Pretty much every summer I’ve ever participated in has included some heat wave that always seems to be the hottest weather I’ve ever experienced or tried to train in.  I think that we’ve now finished ours for the year (or at least I hope so).  Last week it was low 90’s every day here with lots of sun and a lot of humidity with no rain.  Here’s a few highlights from the week:

Drips coming off my helmet after literally every pole stroke as I rollerski.

Falling asleep while sweating.

Swimming workouts.

Dehydration and sunburns (not for me, for other people.  Don’t worry Mom and Dad-I used my sunscreen).

Trying to do workouts before breakfast and after dinner only to find it’s no nicer even then.

Running out of ice cubes by 9am every morning.

Taking a cold shower and not making it back to my room before the dripping water turns to sweat.

Eating salad for dinner because it’s too hot to eat anything else.

Taking a kayak out to the middle of the lake so I could flip it, climb on top, and dive deep, where the cold water lives.

Hearing someone announce, every day, that tomorrow is supposed to be the worst of it.

Wishing we weren’t a green team so we could get an air conditioner.

Bellyflops in the lake before and after every meal and workout.

And finally:

Watching Sister Act with Pat (who was sleeping in the basement) late at night hoping my room would be habitable by the end (it wasn’t).

So, enjoy the heat and sun.  Or don’t.  I’m trying to enjoy it, because in 3 and a half months I’m going to be in Finland, where they have neither.