One of the more labor intensive crops grown at the Mountain School are dry beans. These are the kinds of beans you might buy in bulk at the grocery store and soak or simmer for hours before eating.
In the fall semester, students harvest these bean plants and string them up so that they can be hung in the cow barn. During the rest of the semester and through the winter, the water in the plants slowly evaporates. Once the plants are dry, spring semester students complete the final step: removing the beans from their pods and sorting them by bean type. There are many ways to go about it: stomping on bags full of plants and using a vacuum cleaner on reverse to blow away the plant matter and keep the beans, or just breaking the pods by hand and collecting the beans. Either way, the end result is a mix of beans that must be sorted by hand according to variety.
Click below to listen to a chat between Pam (chef) and Luke (student) about Mountain School beans.
Our sugaring season had an early start due to unseasonably warm weather in February. Sam Kelman, our sugarmaker pictured below, has reported that we made a record-breaking amount of syrup in February alone. Now that the weather has cooled off and the sap has stopped running we are no longer producing syrup, but we’re looking forward to the remainder of the sugaring season once temperatures start rising again.
Sap gathering is a two-step process. Each student has two 5-gallon buckets. First, we collect the sap in those buckets. Then, we pour the sap into barrels at dumping stations scattered throughout the sugarbush.
After we gather enough sap, Sam boils it down to maple syrup in the Sugarhouse.
Click below for some conversation out at the sugarbush with Sam, Luke, and Chloe.
As the harvest season wraps up, we have more time to pursue other activities on campus. Francisco and Dan, for example chose to spend their time learning how to cook.
The Fall 2015 semester has an affinity for playing the ukelele. These instruments can be heard before (and sometimes during) study hours, during dorm check-in meetings, and in between classes. This is Annie playing for Kareen, our French teacher.
Students also have opportunities to interact with local residents. Venecia (left) and Kyung Mi (right) often have long dinner conversations with Ruth (center), who is the mother-in-law of one of our math teachers, Kathy Hooke.
A few weeks ago, a group of students took advantage of the trails in Vermont and participated in the Foliage Five 5K run in Thetford, Vermont.