Spring Break, Pies, And Greens... Oh My!

by Bronte Sone

How many pies can one sustainability semester student consume? According to our research: approximately one.

Before Spring Break kicked off we decided to celebrate all of our hard work with delicious homemade pie. Each one of us created our own masterpiece, and instead of having a normal dinner that Thursday evening, we chose to eat pie instead. The ten of us circled around the counter top covered with various pies and we took a slice of each. There was a key lime pie, sweet potato, savory meat, banana crème just to name a few. We then went about stuffing ourselves and almost managed to finish off the entire pie buffet in one evening. However, once the sugar highs started to kick in we were cut off.

While most of the Sustainability crew decided that Spring break was for taking a break, visiting friends or being with family, two of us stayed behind in Canton. Myself (Lauren) along with Jake partook in an internship for the week where we each stayed with a community member. My week was filled with great food, various carpentry tasks to complete and also a lot of good conversations with some very interesting and knowledgeable people from the surrounding community.

During my week, I stayed with Ann Heidenreich, in the little community of Turtle Hill. Not knowing quite what to expect I packed up my carhartts and my knitting and prepared myself for whatever tasks might be on tap for the week. Much to my surprise, when I first arrived, I noticed sap boiling outside on a tiny wooden stove. Eagerly wanting to learn more, I asked what I could do to help, and found myself feeding the woodstove hour after hour, until there was finally something that resembled and tasted like maple syrup.

Ann lives in what most would call an intentional community, though unintentional in its planning. The community is so much more than just living next to each other. It is about having similar ideas and values, most of which point back towards food. While Ann lives in a wonderful house and beautiful surroundings, it is not that much different from what most would consider a typical American lifestyle. The best part of the community is the support and the willingness to work together. She has her own garden spot, but there is also a community field used to grow squash and other vegetables. They share resources such as a woodshop, which I used throughout the week. During my week there I worked on building a garage door, a composting worm bin and started to make a wooden stool for myself.

On the last evening of my stay I attended a story telling at the UU Church in Canton. Some of the storytellers were locals while others were from an Ottawa Story telling tribe, who came just for this event. It was a unique experience to be able to listen to these stories and have them be told with such flare and zeal. I enjoyed the good food and the music that went along with it and it was a great way to end my week with Ann.

Coming back from Spring break Heron, Emma DayBranch, and I (Bronte), got to spend about an hour in the high tunnel at Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE). We all got dressed in our usual working clothes and headed out the door. However we quickly shed layers once inside the high tunnel. Despite the cold temperatures outside, inside the tunnel it was like a warm summer day. There was green grass under our feet, sun shining through the roof, and the smell of dirt wafting in the air. I excitedly went over to the garden bed and began digging my fingers into the soil. It was marvelous. We spent the next hour harvesting the greens that had grown in the previous weeks, and then tilling the soil and planting new seeds that will hopefully give us more greens within the next few weeks. After the harvesting and planting was done we returned to the house to wash the greens with salt water, making sure all the aphids (small bugs) were washed off. In total we harvested almost five pounds, and are all enjoying having fresh salads with dinner for the first time this semester.

Looking towards the second half of our semester we are excited to say that our Rhode Island Red chicks have arrived and pigs are on the radar. The high tunnel over at CCE is producing lovely greens for us to munch on and we are starting to plant some seedlings. All things are looking towards Spring, despite the snow coming down right now outside our window.

-Bronte and Lauren