Photos from April & May, 2015

Photos from April & May, 2015

Various shots, mostly at the camp site, but a few in Chicago like these three of Ashley, Nance, Cheryl & Tim.
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A cold sunny April work day (including a tour with Aleks)
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Gorgeous trees, handyman Melvin visiting and a Rosemary transplantIMG_7038 IMG_7059 IMG_7143
Chocolate mint (contained), aronia berries & strawberries flowering. IMG_7141 IMG_7138 IMG_7148
Cabbage (next to carrots), 15 potato sacks and the walnut grove.
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Our Hostess Nance (for Camp 2015)

Our Hostess Nance (for Camp 2015)
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planting golden raspberries

It’s spring and Nance Klehm is focused, constantly moving- lifting, pulling, digging, walking and whistling. She turns 50 this November, but she’s got enough energy for two 25-year-olds and perhaps that’s fitting. You see, Nance lives two full time lives. In both, she’s  a land steward, grower and naturalist. It just so happens that she splits her time between her urban and rural properties.

It was in the city where I first met Nance and began following her like a puppy follows something they look up to. From composting workshops and building community gardens to waste stream work and bioremediation, Nance’s got a deep well of knowledge. I soak up as much as possible.

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red wigglers doing the work

Nance comes from good stock, as they say. Her family’s been in the nursery business for 149 years. Currently, her parents run and own Beaver Creek Nursery and Song Sparrow Farms . Growing up in rural NW Illinois, surrounded by a family who worked with plants, Nance couldn’t help but learn more than most. But there are two reasons she’s asked to teach internationally: 1.) She’s curious and seeks out knowledge through doing. People ask her how she knows so much about so many things and she says, “Take a peek at my hands. I get my hands in the dirt.” 2.) Nance makes the complex understandable in an enjoyable way. Her laugh is infectious and a joy to be around. 

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50 variety of beans!

In her city life, Nance heads up The Ground Rules. She contracts with select companies and restaurants to handle their organic waste stream, advising, teaching, bringing their waste to nearby nearby community gardens to be composted to remediate Chicago’s soils and grow more food.

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as the sun sets, the light…

The rural property where Farm Camp happens isn’t a traditional farm (it was a few generations ago). It’s more a nature preserve, with plenty of room to roam among all the diversity and wildlife. It just so happens that the 50 acres produces a great deal of food (actually, probably more than conventional Illinois farms, whose corn feeds cars & cows). The place is gorgeous and that’s one of two reasons why we’re excited Nance’s hosting Farm Camp (and be a resident teacher).

The other reason: No matter where Nance speaks or what is written about her, her message is consistent: experiencing nature directly is awesome. It not only helps us make connections in our everyday lives, but being aware of our surroundings is a richly rewarding experience in and of itself.

Here’s to exploring and having fun,
Tim. 🙂

P.S. There’s a lot that’s written about Nance recently. One of my favorites: http://shawndramiller.com/2015/04/10/the-ground-rules/ and one on foraging: http://www.latimes.com/home/la-hm-forage-20150214-story.html. If you have a spare hour to listen to a podcast: http://www.rootsimple.com/2015/02/038-the-ground-rules-with-nance-klehm/ or less time: http://www.mikenowak.net/podcasts/?p=episode&name=2015-04-26_2015-04-26_2015-04-14_nance_klehm.mp3

Why We Do What We Do.

Why We Do What We Do.

Elena forwarded me an article recently. My first reaction was, I don’t have time to read it. Still, I clicked the link. The first line reminded me why we launched Farm Camp:

The environment is not separate from ourselves; we are inside it and it is inside us; we make it and it makes us.
~ Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, Amazon shaman

Connecting kids to nature brings joy to our lives. And the best part is that kids absolutely love it. Whoever said learning can’t be a blast is crazy!

The article’s here.

Our host Nance Klehm feels the same way: a recent interview of Nance in the LA Times.

We hope to see you at one of our upcoming events 🙂

Pictures from Early March

We’ve started seeds in a couple of spots, including with help from a local greenhouse.photo 3photo 1photo 4photo 5The farm has six hens. Elena & Tim  ‘shopping’ for more (and ducks), plus getting goats & a couple of sheep and calves (from the neighbors) who come to feast on the mid-summer fresh forage at Farm Camp. See enlarged chicken ‘run’ and paddocks.

IMG_6499IMG_6504photoIMG_6465There are countless nooks & crannies to explore, plus loads of walnut & pine to use in the workshop (& in the ‘loft art center’). The bees emerged strong & ready for forage.

IMG_6479IMG_6484IMG_6508IMG_6497Wild berries along the creek’s edge, the soccer field (yes, we mow it down mid-summer), and Tim sprinting through ‘Pine Hall.’ Nance says Tim may be the fastest (part-time) farmer (over the age of 40) in all of Orangeville (population 793).

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In about 120 days, kiddos start arriving….We’re repairing and expanding the fencing to grow more fruits, veggies & herbs this season to feed more hungry kiddos.IMG_6469IMG_6474 IMG_6476

More on Camper Accommodations

More on Camper Accommodations

 

After loads of discussions with tent manufacturers, we chose the 5000 Ultimate Pro Model from Stout Tent and are thrilled. IMG_8322

 

 

 

 

 

 

From early 2015: Our property has a farm house (solar panel powered) and a big barn. The counselors and campers stay nearby (in the woodland, at prairie’s edge) in large, canvas tents. Since our days will be full of activity, the aim is to provide an environment that leads to a full night’s rest. Campers will all be on their own cots. Each tent is extra large and will house no more than a handful of campers and an adult counselor.

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Also for the 2015 season: If you’re looking for a place for the family to stay before or after Farm Camp, take a peek at Inn Serendipity, a fantastic bed & breakfast just 11 miles to the north and run by John & Lisa.

 

 

WHAT A DAY LOOKS LIKE FOR A CAMPER:

WHAT A DAY LOOKS LIKE FOR A CAMPER:

Optional start (for early risers): fetch eggs, garden harvest, make breakfast

Breakfast:
Buckwheat pancakes, fruit oatmeal, fresh berry, mint & power greens smoothie

Morning Options:  
exploratory forage
soap making workshop
gardens tour & lunch prep

Lunch:
Wild salad, black bean & egg burrito, squash salsa, roasted potatoes

Afternoon Options:    
creek and prairie scavenger hunt & learning wilderness survival skills
composting 101 & planting fall crops
taking photos of animals & making picture frames

Snack Break:    
Sunflower granola parfait & watermelon

Late Afternoon Options:
free play/camper chosen project
dinner harvest and meal preparation

Dinner:
Custom mini pizzas, summer salad and blackberry cobbler

Post Dinner:
Telling stories around the bonfire with popcorn. Then stargazing.

Exhausted. Fall into Bed.

 

Note about Food: This isn’t about healthy food, it’s about making tastebuds dance while providing energy that lasts and nutrients that strengthen, in an environment that screams ‘I love this!’ It’s kid inspired and kid created. And, yes, since everyone’s tastebuds are different, we offer lots and lots of choices with different flavors and textures. For the food not grown on site, like the grains and beans, it will come from friends at nearby farms, like Hazzard Free Farm and Breslin Farm.