YAP at Smokey House – Great Job!

IMG_0455The Youth Agriculture Project (YAP) at Smokey House came to successful close at the end of August.  Many thanks to coordinator Kevin Keeker, assistant Wyll Everett, and the crew members for their great work in the garden, in the kitchen, at the farmers market in Poultney and in their volunteer work.

Volunteers for Solarfest

Winding up elYAP14 Solarfest doorsectric fences, moving staging platforms, picking up horse poop, and removing hinges from old doors – these are some of the tasks our YAP crew did to help prep for Solarfest.  Solarfest is a 3-day, non-profit, sustainable energy and music festival powered by solar energy.  It is run mainly by volunteers, and our crew  worked four days last week  helping to transform Forget-Me-Not Farm in Tinmouth into a welcoming concert and workshop venue.IMG_0950

 

 

Flowers and Compost Bins

IMG_0869Hot, hazy, and humid… that didn’t slow down our Danby crew in its second week.  With only two days of work this week because of the 4th of July, the YAP crew weeded (everything!), transplanted (flowers by the Smokey House Center  sign) and harvested (garlic scapes, lettuce and herbs.)IMG_0314

 

 

 

We even found time to hike into the woods to check out the work on the Old Sugar House and cool off in the nearby stream.IMG_0866

 

 

 

Our big project, however, was constructing compost bins, based on a design by EMG Master Composter, Ron Hebert. With guidance from Robin Chesnut-Tangerman, we’ve already built three composters for ourselves.  The walls are sturdy 1/2″ hardware cloth, and the latch uses solid wood and good hardware.   This very practical design includes an easy open latch, which makes moving and turning the pile easy.  We plan to offer these for sale at the Poultney Farmers Market soon. (We’re taking orders now – $79 plus tax!)

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YAP 2014 at Smokey House

YAP14 JaydeThe 2014 Summer Work&Learn program is up and running at TTC at Smokey House.  During our first days the crew attacked the weeds in the garden, transplanted seedlings, pulled wild (aka “poison”) parsnip, and learned about mulch and compost.

 

 

YAP14 weather stationPart of the orientation was learning how to take data from the weather station, with guidance from Smokey House Center director Jesse Pyles.

 

YAP14 saladWe also harvested mixed greens and made a delicious herbal vinaigrette for our first kitchen project.

 

 

 

We have a great group of hard workers under the leadership of Kevin Keeler, and we look forward to a busy and productive summer.

YAP14 weeding garden

Cleaning Up with Herbal Soap

YAP handmade herbal soap

After spending most of the summer getting dirty, the Bennington YAP program started working with a “cleaner” side of gardening this fall: making handmade herbal soap.

With help from Jennifer Ufnar, assistant professor of biology at Southern Vermont College, Bennington YAP instructor Katherine Keys has been exploring the many ways to create fragrant herbals soaps. These soaps are all made by hand with pure ingredients. They are packaged and sold at Farmer’s Markets.