Craftsbury Outdoor Center Blog

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Videos from our favorite Bulgarian Cinematographer

PM vidsPepa has passed along some of the footage from the Glacier trip. Get a bit of sense of what the GRPers were up to the past month.

Skate Day
Classic Day

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Deconstructing Wilbur’s

A shell of its former self – a partially deconstructed Wilbur’s on August 27th, 2014

If you’ve been around the Outdoor Center much this summer you may have noticed the slow disappearance of Wilbur’s, the building near the hoop houses at the end of Lemon’s Haunt. Wilbur’s is being deconstructed by ReSource and some of the salvaged material will be used by the Center while the remaining material will be sold to the ReSource Store, which provides families and individuals in crisis with building materials and reduces the amount of waste placed in landfills.

The Center purchased the building three years ago and reviewed options for its future. Ultimately, it was decided the building had issues that were hard to remediate: an outdated and energy inefficient construction style, it would have been difficult, and not cost-effective to upgrade to meet our needs.

The Wilbur’s site will not be vacant for long as the Center plans to start building cluster of 6 cabins there next spring. These cabins will be built to replace the accommodations currently offered by Tamarack. The cabins will be simple and energy-efficient and will support a variety of guest needs with single, double, and triple units currently planned for construction.

So what about Tamarack? With a bad foundation, inefficient heating system, and poor insulation, Tamarack is not in good condition. While Tamarack could be renovated, this very expensive proposition would still not address its location in the natural drainage path of the skating pond and the swamp feeding the pond. Thus, once the cabins are finished, Tamarack will also be deconstructed.

When you’re at the Center please feel free to stop by the Wilbur’s site and check out the changes taking place!

Wilbur’s one week later from the opening picture – just the foundation remains!

 

Some salvaged windows.

 

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Recipe of the Month- Almond Orchard Apple Crisp

That nip in the morning (and afternoon, and evening) air can only mean only thing:  fall is coming! Luckily fall brings some of our favorite things: foliage, pumpkins and squash, cozy sweaters, and most importantly, apples. The trees around the Center are loaded with them, so it’s the perfect opportunity to make a classic dessert dish, apple crisp. This version gets a slight twist with almonds in the crisp layer, but retains all the crunchy sweet goodness of the original.

Oven 375°
Yield- 9”x13”

3 lbs. sliced apples (with our without skin)
½ cup flour
1 ½ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 lemon (juice)
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon

Almond Topping
1 ½ cup rolled oats
2 ¼ cup flour
2 ¼ cup brown sugar
1 ½ cup chopped almonds
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. nutmeg
1 lb. butter + 2 Tbsp

Butter hotel pan. In pan, mix drained apples, flour, and cinnamon. Toss to coat. Then add sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice. Toss to coat.

Mix topping in a large bowl and mix together flour, brown sugar, oats, almonds, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Melt butter, pour over top and mix well until mixture becomes coarse crumbs.

Put mixture on top of apples, gently press topping down. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes -1 hour.

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Garden Harvests

The previous garden post focused on the garden plants and layout, in pictures, but intentionally omitted an important part of the garden – the harvesters!  As mentioned in that post, the garden workers are a crucial part of the gardening operation.  Tending plants and harvesting vegetables takes no small amount of work – here is a series of photos of garden workers around the Outdoor Center this summer. And a few photos of particularly nice flowers too!

Skier Liz Guiney with a beautiful bin of tomatoes

Skier Liz Guiney with a beautiful bin of tomatoes

Pam, Amy and Liz survey the tomatoes earlier in the summer.  By now the vines reach the roof.

Pam, Amy and Liz survey the tomatoes earlier in the summer. By now the vines reach the roof.

Liz in the tomato jungle

Liz in the tomato jungle

Weeding and pulling out old scallions. From left: Mary (SBTC rower), Pam (garden guru), Maggie (GRP rower)

Weeding and pulling out old scallions. From left: Mary (SBTC rower), Pam (garden guru), Maggie (GRP rower)

Kaitlynn (GRP skier) and Mary (SBTC rower) weed beyond the onion patch

Kaitlynn (GRP skier) and Mary (SBTC rower) weed beyond the onion patch

Rowers Mary and Maggie clean vegetables at the sink

Rowers Mary and Maggie clean vegetables at the sink

Picking kale

Picking kale

Onions!

Onions!

Beautiful colors of swiss chard

Beautiful colors of swiss chard

Green and yellow zucchini and summer squash, boxed and heading towards the kitchen

Green and yellow zucchini and summer squash, boxed and heading towards the kitchen

GRP skier Ida with a big bunch of parsley and garlic scapes

GRP skier Ida with a big bunch of parsley and garlic scapes

We have a large patch of flowers for making arrangements and decorations

We have a large patch of flowers for making arrangements and decorations

Brilliant red flowers

Brilliant red flowers

Foxgloves

Foxgloves

Echinacea flowers

Echinacea flowers

Posing with our flowers. GRP skier Caitlin (author), on left, GRP rower Jamie on the right, on a particularly hot and humid day in the garden

Posing with our flowers. Myself, Caitlin, on left, GRP rower Jamie on the right

Flower arrangements! Pam and Amy gave most of us gardening girls lessons in flower arranging, which is a fun way to keep the COC looking great!

Flower arrangements! Pam and Amy gave most of us gardening girls lessons in flower arranging, which is fun!

 

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Recipe of the Month- Garden Fresh Caprese Salad

There is technically still one day left in the month of August, so we figure it’s not too late to post our Recipe of the Month. It’s especially not too late to post a recipe this good; it’s all about simple, quality ingredients here. The greenhouses here at the Center are bursting with vine-ripened tomatoes, and the basil is flourishing behind the garden fence, so what better than to combine those two fresh ingredients with a little mozzarella, and create the perfect summer salad? Caprese makes an ideal light lunch or a delicious appetizer and the visual appeal can’t be beat. It’s also so easy that it won’t take longer than 10 minutes to make, and probably even less time to eat!

Yield- however much you want!

Local vine-ripened tomatoes (preferably from a farmer’s market or a nearby garden)
Fresh cow’s milk or buffalo mozzarella
Fresh basil
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the tomatoes ¼ inch thick, repeat with the mozzarella. Wash and dry the fresh basil. On a platter, arrange the tomato slices, top with mozzarella and garnish with basil. Optional: Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Buon appetito!

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2014 COC Gardens in Full Swing

The Outdoor Center gardens are bigger and better than ever this summer!

There are two main vegetable gardens around the COC campus in addition to a few smaller areas with edibles, and numerous flower beds surrounding most buildings. The main vegetable garden is located behind the office, with another garden in an upper field beyond our woodshed and garage.  Growing vegetables and herbs on-site keeps us directly involved with the food chain, from seed to plate – it’s a way to help keep our operation as local and sustainable as possible.

Rows of pepper and squash plants overlooking Big Hosmer

Rows of pepper and squash plants overlooking Big Hosmer

While our gardens don’t account for nearly all of the produce served in the dining hall (much of the rest is from Pete’s Greens and other local farmers!), every day during the summer at Craftsbury you’re bound to be eating a few things grown within hundreds of feet of the dining hall!

This year, we are growing the following:

Herbs: basil, parsley, cilantro, dill, oregano, thyme, tarragon, chives, mint, lavender

Vegetables and various other edibles: Peas, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, sweet and hot peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, kale, swiss chard, beets, onions, scallions, garlic, green and purple beans, nasturtiums, strawberries  ….and probably some others that I’m forgetting at the moment!

Ominous skies over one of the two tomato greenhouses

Ominous skies over one of the two tomato greenhouses

Green peppers

Green peppers

Marigolds at the end of a row of parsley. Marigolds help discourage bugs.

Marigolds at the end of a row of parsley. Marigolds help discourage bugs.

Swiss chard in with more marigolds

Swiss chard in with more marigolds

Purple kale and basil beyond it

Purple kale and basil beyond it

Basil

Basil

GRP skier Liz Guiney in the middle of the pea patch in July

GRP skier Liz Guiney in the middle of the pea patch in July

We grew purple snow peas this year, in addition to yellow ones and the more-normal green variety

We grew purple snow peas this year, in addition to yellow ones and the more-normal green variety

Mystery volunteer squash plants growing on a compost pile near the gardens

Mystery volunteer squash plants growing on a compost pile near the gardens

A green squash growing within the mystery vines

A green squash growing within the mystery vines

Hiding within the mystery pile, something orange

Hiding within the mystery pile, something orange

PizzaGarden

The “Pizza Garden” near the dining hall contains pizza ingredients like basil and peppers, as well as herbs including lavender and various thymes

Gardening takes constant work throughout the spring summer and fall, and planning ahead of time as well as prioritizing the work to do each day. Luckily we have a dedicated and experienced gardening team, headed by gardeners extraordinaire Amy and Pam.  A rotating cast of regular garden helpers includes GRP skiers and rowers, as well as SBTC rowers, and various friends and visitors. Especially in the busy growing season months of July in August, we harvest vegetables or herbs about 3-4 times a week, coordinating with the kitchen based on their meal plans and garden produce availability.

While the gardens are not “certified organic” they are effectively organic – we value a chemical-free and holistic approach, aiming to grow food that is full of nutrients and good for the people eating it.  Amy and Pam have extensive experience growing things but are never afraid to try new methods to keep pests away or enrich the soil with nutrients, so we have a combination of tried-and-true and more creative approaches.  Garden soil is somewhat of a “living organism” itself, composed of numerous minerals, organic material, microbes, insects, and many other critters.  Thus we feed it with compost, generated on-site from kitchen scraps, weeds and other detritus, as well as some more unusual things.  This year we’ve been giving all of the gardens an occasional dose of fish, molasses, and sea minerals.

[Numeric sidenote: According to www.gardeningwithmicrobes.com, "in one teaspoon of living soil there are 100 million to 1 billion bacteria,1 mile to 40 miles of fungal hyphae, and 1,000-100,000 protozoa." Incredible! The details of the immensely complex connections between these microbes and plants is not fully understood, but it's been shown that fish and molasses  provide nutrients and sugars to make the microbes and the overall soil happy, so it makes us happy to apply them! Healthy soil --> healthy plants --> healthy people!]

Jugs of fish puree and molasses, next to the watering can used to apply the nutrients to the soil

Jugs of fish puree and molasses, next to the watering can used to apply the nutrients to the soil

On the topic of larger critters, the rabbits and deer have been particularly voracious and plentiful this year, so we have fences surrounding much of the vegetable garden.  Crops that didn’t get planted within the fence, such as the pole beans, have become a snack for the roaming deer.  Luckily for us human consumers, the beans are still growing and the deer seem to be most interested in the leaves!

Pole beans growing over an old greenhouse frame, before the deer stopped by for a snack

Pole beans growing over an old greenhouse frame, before the deer stopped by for a snack

Ideally these pole beans would have leaves all the way up their stalks, but the deer ate them!

Ideally these pole beans would have leaves all the way up their stalks, but the deer ate them!

Earlier this summer the deer nibbled some unprotected kale.  Now it's all growing within a fence.

Earlier this summer the deer nibbled some unprotected kale. Now it’s all growing within a fence.

Amy next to one of our impromptu deer fences, the white cloth is protecting cucumber plants

Amy next to one of our impromptu deer fences, the white cloth is protecting cucumber plants

Welcome garden visitor - a bee pollinating a squash flower

A welcome garden visitor – a bee pollinating a squash flower

Unwelcome visitor - snails chew holes into the kale and other plants, so we pick them off by hand at every chance

Unwelcome visitor – snails chew holes into the kale and other plants, so we pick them off by hand at every chance

We're happy to see earthworms, which aerate the soil

We’re happy to see earthworms, which aerate the soil

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Videos from Evan Scales

scales blogWant to relive some of the summer of 2014? Craftsbury Runner Evan Scales shared two cool edits with us, one of Masters week, the other more general. Find them both on YouTube:

Masters 2014
Craftsbury 2014 Scenes

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Going The Distance – Craftsbury Couples

The last couple of years we’ve had all sorts of family combinations at running camp:  father/son, mother/daughter, sister/brother. This was the summer of the Craftsbury Couple: spouses who love running and who came to camp together.

Meet Mary and Art, Matt and Kasia, Michael and Susan and Caitlin and Kristofer.  Susan and Michael are multi-returners from MI. Michael is a doctor and Susan is a physical therapist and coming to Craftsbury gives them a chance to kick back and enjoy the camaraderie of the week.  The other three couples, hailing from CT, IL, and WI came to Craftsbury unsure of what to expect and they left with 2015 registrations in hand. Art let us know that his week at Craftsbury was his first formal training in his 45 year running career. Matt came to us having lost over 100 pounds and taking up running in order to run with Kasia who is a new runner. Caitlin is a cyclist/runner who wanted to share running with Kristofer. For these four couples, running is a way to enjoy time and experiences out in the world together.

Art and Mary at all comers week

These two never missed an opportunity to leap into Big Hosmer – in this case after the Ridge Run

Kasia and Matt came on the recommendation of their friend, Craftsbury Wall of Famer Ed Sell

New runners, Matt and Kasia stretch before the hill workout

Caitlin and Kristofer entertained us with tales of frigid winter runs in Wisconsin

Caitlin and Kristofer with Kim on their last morning at running camp

Michael and Susan with our sports nutritionist Chrissy.

Michael and Susan on the last day of camp with Coach Lynn. It’s always hard to say goodbye.

 

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Summer of Stretching

This was Stretching Summer at the running camps. Realizing this quotidian task was being neglected made the coaching staff vow to make the runners stretch and stretch some more. The runners stretched: every runner (including coaches), before and after every workout, every day during each week of camp. All. The. Time.

Teens Sam and Rachel work on eagle pose

Coach Pierre captures eagle pose

Coach Melissa partners with Eilidh during high school week

Bryce concentrates on getting it right

Masters stretch at the Common

Masters stretch after the track workout

Phoebe gets it done during all comers week

Coach Laurie and Willie lean on each other

Mary and Kim stretch their calfs during all comers week

Mike bends to the task

Claudia and Kim prove even stretching can be fun with a friend

Stretching in a beautiful place equals enjoyment at running camp

 

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All Comers Synergy, Part 2

More highlights from All Comers week:

The sunlit veranda was the perfect place to gather for our group photo

The coaching staff: Donna, Brett, Pete, Bobby, Lynn and Laurie

Suzanne stretches before the workout on the Common

Jen and Kasia warm up before they run fast

Coach Brett flies around the Common

Art keeps moving during the fartlek workout

Grassy feet after the barefoot Common warm down

Coaches Pete and Laurie keep the tent from flying away during an idyllic beer, wine and cider social

Mike, Ed and Matt chat it up

Kim, Willie and Mike are strong friends

Matt was suprised by a hand-made birthday cake. With wife Kasia’s specs in hand, local junior athlete Ani created a beauty with fresh strawberries on top

Mike and Coach Pete roll past on the Ridge Run

Coach Laurie, Mike, Willie and Fred finish the Ridge Run in style

Thank you all comers runners – we had a terrific week. The summer’s running camps are over. See you in September for the two autumn Foliage and Running weekends!

 

 

 

 

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