Welcome to Week 7 of Wild Cub Weekly!
"All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost: the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost." -J.R.R. Tolkien
We have been experiencing some frigid temperatures for the past couple weeks now - this being true for most northern states and Canada! Cold weather is very important - our native species have adapted to the seasons and many plants require cold temperature cycles for seed germination and fruit production. There is so much beauty and diversity to be seen in the changes we experience here in New England.
I can say the same for me - growing up doing winter sports, my favorite quote by my dad was and still is, "Embrace the cold, Grace." And then we would both close our eyes, take a deep breath in, exhale, and shake our bodies to release the "chills" and shivers we were experiencing. This especially came in handy when walking out my cabin door in Alaska, at -40F. Burr... When you are out in the cold (dressed appropriately and warming up inside when needed), and experiencing those "chills", try it out!
These cold winter days can seem so long, no matter how much we enjoy being outside, but we can keep our minds on warmer days by planning for spring! One of the ways to plan for spring is by planning for a garden - mapping it out now saves lots of time when it's warm enough to plant seeds.
I would love to hear about last weeks activity, or anything you would like to share from your Sit Spot. Post here or on our Google Drive . Sharing your knowledge with friends is so much fun!
February is Black History Month!
Black history is an important part of New
Hampshire's history; Visit The Black Heritage Trail
in Portsmouth, NH or learn about Underground
Railroad stops in New England.
The First Quarter moon will be on Friday the 19th.
This is when we only can see half the moon illuminated.
It is half way through its waxing phase.
The moon will appear to get bigger every night till it is full!
Peregrine falcons and bald eagles are returning
to New Hampshire to establish nesting sites.
The bald eagle pair has been seen over Bow Lake
(they have nested on Bennett Island for the past few years)
and NH Audubon's Peregrine Cam is lively with
mating falcon activity.
Photo: Shaw Mountain, Tuftonboro, NH on February 14th, 2021
What is a map? Can you describe in your own words what you think a map is?
Maps have been used by our ancestors since they lived in caves. They may have looked a little different than they do now, but by using images and drawings our ancestors could describe where they found and gathered berries, or where a herd of game had been grazing. Maps were used to tell stories or to plan travels - similar to what they are used for today.
For today, a map is a drawing of an area from a "birds-eye-view". Imagine a bird flying over your back yard; what do you think it sees? If you guessed it, the birds sees the tops of everything: the trees, your house, your swing-set, your head...
Start by thinking or drawing what you imagine your backyard would look like, as if you were a bird. What features of your backyard take up more space than others? Relative size - also known as scale - is really important for making maps.
This time of year one of the most exciting maps to make is of your future gardens: what size garden plot, what you want to grow, how many seeds you'll need, etc... So, lets get out a pen and paper, some colored markers and pencils, too!
First make a list of vegetables, flowers, and herbs you want to plant. I made my list of veggies on the left. In the middle row, I categorized them with what type of plant they are; fruiting plant (the flower makes a juicy, yummy veggie after the bees pollinate it), leafy greens and flower (greens you would put in a salad, or broccoli because it technically is just the un-opened flower!), and root veggies (the main edible part is growing under the ground). You can also add a flower section, herbs, or fruit bushes and trees!
I also made a symbol for each veggie so that they are easily identified on the map. This is called a legend or key.
Now, we will draw what we want our garden to look like. I made a fence around my garden so that animals don't get in. Little pathways in the garden are a good way for YOU to avoid trampling down your own vegetables. I symbolized my paths using stepping stones. And, last but not least, a gate! So we can get into it of course...
For the older kids: What direction is your garden going to face? What side of your house does the sun rise from? Where dos it set? Where do you think the sun stays the longest in your yard? If you have a compass (or compass app on a phone), take it outside with you and find out where North, South, East, and West are? Does this matter in growing food?
Using your vegetable legend we made in the first step, draw the symbol of your vegetable where you want it to go! I follow a lot of companion planting guidelines: one fairly easy one to follow, is my rule of 3: plant 1 fruiting veggie, 1 leafy green, and 1 root veggie. There are many exceptions and different way to do this, here is a chart to help!
Parents - This can be done with all ages! I find that having no expectations helps with kids' creativity, which could then be applied more realistically in the actual planting. Growing veggies helps with healthy eating, awareness of seasons, plus fine motor skills, memory, future planning, creativity, spatial awareness, knowledge of food system, personal responsibility, etc... the list goes on and on!
For seed and supply ordering visit:
Highmowing seed company (VT)
Fedco Seeds and Supplies (ME)
Johnny's Seeds and Supplies (ME)
The Vermont Wildflower Farm (VT)
Please remember, with the pandemic, there have been seed shortages. There are a lot of new home gardeners which is awesome, but seed companies must prioritize commercial growers. Local garden centers or small local farms are also great places to buy seeds, and seed swaps with other gardeners are a great way to get more variety in your garden without having to buy as much.
A lot of the plants we could forage in winter are frozen underground at the moment. As we are learning, there are still plenty of options from the trees above ground! On a cold winter day, what is better than a warm beverage to warm you up after playing in the snow? Sure, you could have hot chocolate, but let's "spruce" things up a bit! Literally!
The needles from Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus), a native species to New England, can be harvested and made into a tea. This is the same tree we were counting the branches of last week - do you remember what that means for the trees? The needles are long and slender and the needles are in bunches of 5. You can also make tea with Red Spruce (Picea rubens) sprigs and needles. To I.D these trees and maybe some others along the way, feel free to use our PDF guide.
Once you have harvested your needles and sprigs, heat up some water in a pot with the needles in it. For about every 4 cups, put a handful of needles in. Let the water simmer for ten minutes, pour into your mugs, add some honey if desired, and enjoy! Let me know what you think? Did you like it? Would you have it again?
How to Grow a School Garden: A Complete Guide for Parents and Teachers
By: Arden Bucklin-Sporer and Rachel Kathleen Pringle
Farming While Black by Leah Penniman
A practical guide to small farming that centers Afro-indigenous wisdom
-Grace Bailey, Education Consultant