Great Hollow Wilderness School

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The Apple press, that is!

Autumn for nature enthusiasts and New Englanders alike usually elicits the insatiable desire to harvest. Since Great Hollow is a former apple orchard, it is a fitting theme for Pioneer living, and a great springboard for the study of many things; fruit, trees, winter food storage, and little fruit eating critters found in the middle of apples.

Despite the years passed between now and the days when the root cellar and cider barrels were full, the apples fresh from the trees are crunchy and amazingly sweet. The collecting of apples is no small task as well…. requiring many upreaching arms and basket hauling teamwork. Ethan’s homemade apple press worked it’s magic and everyone enjoyed fresh cups of juice.

Something interesting you may or may not know about apples, is that they are related to some more of our favorite plants: roses, strawberries, raspberries, peaches and cherries! They are all a part of a larger plant family we call the Rosaceae family. The members of this family all share the same numerical pattern of flowers… five petals and numerous stamens. The leaves usually come in odd numbers with one or two pairs of leaflets and a lone leaf at the tip.

On Friday, the Jr. Naturalists continued branching out on apples, along with the other activities they did such as birdwatching, a root study, hearing a wonderful story about Cicadas from Whendi, and making a track trap. (try saying that 5 x fast!)

From a handout coming next week, here are a few quick apple facts:

~The Pilgrims planted the first apple trees in their colony

~Apple trees take 4-5 years to produce fruit

~An average tree can fill 20 boxes that weigh 42 pounds when harvested

~Americans eat 19.6 pounds or about 65 fresh apples a year

~25% of an apple is air

~The largest apple picked weighed 3 pounds

~It takes the energy of 50 leaves to produce one apple

~One of George Washington’s hobbies was pruning his apple trees

~Apples ripen six times faster in room temperature than in the refrigerator

Wow!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~and moving right along… into the brush, is the not so sneaky coordinator out to snap a couple photos of the Wilderness Challenge….

I heard it was an invigorating day!

On Friday, the MicroScouts also had their first day. They were all so cute at lunchtime, circled around drawing in their journals. They day was infused with imagination and wonder, as treasures were uncovered in the forest during a long hike almost to the waterfall. Monarch and Viceroy was the game of the day, proving just how clever a viceroy can be, and how nature creates ingenious ways of keeping her critters alive.

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