Manhattan Country School will continue MCS En Casa, our distance learning program, for the remainder of the school year.

July 2018

Farm Camp 2018: Week One Offers Gardening, Cooking, Woodworking, Weaving, Water Fun and More

Blog Type:  Dispatches From the Farm Date Posted:  Tuesday, July 17, 2018 Byline:  By John McDaniel, Farm Director

Farm Camp 2018 Week One

Week one of Manhattan Country School’s Farm Camp is in the books. The vegetable gardens have never looked better. The kids have been harvesting, eating and processing broccoli, lettuce, snap peas, summer squash, onions, raspberries and kale. Campers in cooking class have been creating delicious meals with these ingredients and others produced right here at our farm.

Farm Camp 2018 Week One

The kids have started many different projects in textiles class, including needle felting, rug hooking and weaving on the large floor loom. They even collaborated with the woodworking class by sewing bean bags for a game called corn hole. The kids in the woodworking class constructed and painted the platform for this bean bag toss game, which was added to the many things campers can do during their free time. In nature class, one group spent time pulling cattail plants from the pond at the MCS Farm at Meeker Hollow. The cattails are spreading rapidly and taking over much of the pond. The group then planted a native arrowroot plant in its place.

Each afternoon, the campers traveled to Belleayre Lake to swim and boat. The temperatures have been steadily in the high 80s, making the fresh water lake the place to be. Evenings were spent playing some of the usual MCS Farm games such as capture the flag, sardines and kick the can.

Farm Camp 2018 Week One

We spent Saturday at Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y. This world-class facility provided an indoor climbing wall, swimming pools, a gymnasium, racquet courts and a bowling alley. That evening, after a dinner from legendary Brooks Barbeque, we saw the movie Ant-Man. On Sunday, the campers visited Zoom Flume Water Park, where they spent the day in the Lazy River, Mighty Anaconda, Typhoon Twister and Wave Pool.

Monday was our first overnight campout. A group of kids joined Garth and Joe on a hike to the Mountain Meadow. They pitched tents, suspended hammocks from trees, cooked over an open fire and, of course, ate S’mores before crawling into sleeping bags for the night.

Stay tuned for what week two has in store.

Farm Camp 2018: Week Two Features Impressive Farm Skills, Fun and Family

Blog Type:  Dispatches From the Farm Date Posted:  Wednesday, July 25, 2018 Byline:  By John McDaniel, Farm Director

Farm Camp 2018

Week two of Manhattan Country School’s Farm Camp featured our campers farming, gardening, cooking, eating, swimming and camping under the stars. I believe that the amount of work, responsibility and skills our kids possess is often underestimated. They are truly running a farm. Through barn chores before breakfast and again before dinner, they care for the animals that take care of us. They weed, cultivate and harvest the fruits and vegetables that we consume during Farm Camp and the rest of the year. They prepare meals for a group of 25 from scratch using products from the Farm. They keep the house they live in clean from top to bottom. They are responsible for their own social and emotional well-being and that of their friends. Unless you see these extraordinary people in action, it’s hard to imagine all they do while at the Farm.

On Wednesday we had the pleasure of hosting Alexandra Horowitz—a noted scientist, bestselling author and MCS parent. Alexandra helped our kids and staff explore the world of animal cognition. On a daily basis we interact with farm animals on several levels—feeding, milking, calling them from the pastures and socializing with them. Alexandra will be creating some simple studies for our students to conduct. They’ll gather data on animals’ behavior around different people, facial recognition between species and different cues for calling animals to the barn.  

Thursday morning our second overnight camping group packed up and hiked to the Mountain Meadow. The first camping group had set up the tents previously, which allowed this group to move right in. They devoured bean burritos made over an open fire, read in hammocks and gathered around a roaring campfire at night.

Friday night was our first annual “Thrift Store, Farm to Porch Dinner.” The kids shopped at the Roxbury Library Thrift Store during the week to find an outfit for the night. Clothing ranged from vintage 70s to preppy. Some kids turned the items they purchased into something different, turning a t-shirt into a dress, for example. We dined on MCS Farm-raised pork chops, potato wedges, apple sauce and garlic toast. The group ate at a large farmhouse table on our porch, which was strung with lights.

On Saturday morning we traveled to the Farmers Museum in Cooperstown, New York. The museum is a living history village, complete with blacksmith shop, broom maker, apothecary, general store and an inn. Most of the buildings have been moved from around the region and reassembled at the site. A carousel with hand-carved animals is the centerpiece of the village.

That afternoon we went to Interskate 88 in Oneonta, New York, for laser tag and roller-skating. This trip is a long-standing tradition at Farm Camp and never disappoints. Circling the smooth wooden floor on four-wheeled skates while listening to the DJ’s music is something to be remembered.

Our campers’ families traveled to the Farm on Sunday for Family Visiting Day. This is such a sweet tradition that allows families to gather at their kid’s home away from home. This day gives our students the opportunity to lead tours for their families through the barn, the farmhouse, the forests and meadows. Following a casual lunch of barbeque, side salads and delicious desserts families gathered in small groups around the lawn, which made for a very special day.