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The land at ClearWater Farm, right beside Lake Simcoe in Georgina, is coming alive… but is it missing something in particular: the magic of the sounds children as they follow their hearts and explore with delight all that happens in nature in spring. Our Education Team still wants to share the magic of the farm with all of you. We can’t wait to see you again at the farm!

#experientialeducation #natureeducation #helpingkidsgrow #clearwaterfarm #outdooreducation #kidsandnature #spring #lakesimcoe

April has come to an end but what a month it has been! Today, as we write this, it’s a bright sunny day, though a crisp one indeed. Annie, “Snapping Turtle” and Heather “Chickadee” took a walk around the farm one morning and stopped first at the edge of Lake Simcoe where we saw ice covered rocks and tree branches, a sight we didn’t think we’d see again until next winter.

This spring has been different from any other on a personal, community and global level. Through all the seasons there are ebbs and flows. Warm sunny days that hint at summer and then winter comes back to visit along with cold bitter winds. We like to picture this transition as a dance between winter and spring where sometimes winter has centre stage again and other days spring has the spotlight.

We’ve been keeping busy on the farm, slowly weaving new routines and creating dreams and goals for the summer. For one we’ve been planting lots of seedlings in the greenhouse! Every day we notice new signs of spring and take a moment to reflect and admire the tree buds that slowly unfurl, the perennial plants that stretch up again after their winter slumber and the sing song of the birds who have returned.

We’ve canned this year’s maple syrup harvest and are so grateful for nature’s sweet treat that has a hint of smokiness from being boiled down over an open fire.

Mushroom inoculation and production is going full steam ahead! Mycelium is eating through the hydrated wood pellets and the oyster, reishi and lion’s mane are beginning to fruit in their grow bags. They have been relocated into their new home, a specially designed mushroom room that’s within one of our greenhouses because these living beings need 90% humidity and 20-degree heat!

Looking for spring signs helps us tend the land with care and thoughtful intentions. There is a beautiful plant called red osier dogwood by the eastside of our forest. Before these friends wake up from their winter slumber, we used some clippers to cut a few of their branches. This is called coppicing, and this encourages the plant to produce more new shoots for the following year. We then use the cut branches for projects such as weaving baskets and other creative crafts.

Throughout the month we have also been closely watching the growth of a few native plants that we have in our forest. With much anticipation and excitement, the wild ginger has sprouted! We look forward to watching them grow bigger and stronger in the next couple of weeks.

We have a beautiful handmade cobb oven that was finally finished last fall. It is going to soon be ready to be used now that the weather is warming up. A finishing piece that Snappy has been working on is an oven door. We are excited to have that additional piece in the next few weeks so that we can start baking outdoors. More updates on this soon!

Lastly, we have also been preparing garden beds. This is going to be a work in progress for the next month. Once the weather warms up and these garden beds are ready, we plan to transplant the plants from the greenhouse in them. We are excited to share more about them in our next blog.

Apart from all the work we have been doing, this time of transition has felt like a time for slowing down in some ways. Reconnecting to this land and to ourselves. To listen deeply to how we can care for ourselves, one another, and nature. Spring is a wonderful season, have you noticed any spring signs? What excites you about spring?

-Annie, “Snapping Turtle” and Heather, “Chickadee”

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