Monthly Archives: October 2013

Fall Harvest

Fall has finally arrived here at Pathfinder Ranch. The days are getting shorter, the air is getting crisper, and, most importantly, the pumpkins in our garden are ready to be harvested!

outdoor education, fall garden, composting

A ripening pumpkin

We have noticed a few changes in the garden in the past few weeks. Our summer vegetables like tomatoes, tomatillos, and zucchinis have slowed down while the cooler-temperature vegetables like potatoes and pumpkins are starting to ripen. We always look forward to these seasonal changes and the new things they bring to our garden!


Pathfinder Garden


Chickens helping with compost

We have quite a few pumpkins in our patch this year and we have started to think of creative ways to use them. One fun way to use a pumpkin is to make pumpkin soup in the shell! The recipe we like to use comes from Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.
The recipe is as follows:

(if smaller or larger, adjust the amount of liquid)

Cut a lid off the top, scoop out the seeds and stringy parts, and rub the inside flesh with salt. Set the pumpkin on a large roasting pan.

(use less if dried)

Roast garlic cloves whole in oven or covered pan on low heat, until soft. Combine with liquid and spices in a large pot, mashing the cloves and heating carefully so as not to burn the milk. When the pumpkin is ready, fill with the liquid and replace the lid, putting a sheet of foil between the pumpkin and its top so it doesn’t fall in. (If you accidentally destroyed the lid while hollowing the pumpkin, just cover with foil.) Bake the filled pumpkin at 375° for 1-2 hours, depending on the thickness of your pumpkin. Occasionally open lid and check with a spoon, carefully scraping some inside flesh into the hot liquid. If the pumpkin collapses or if the flesh is stringy, remove liquid and flesh to a blender and puree. With luck, you can serve the soup in the pumpkin tureen.

New Happenings at the Ranch

We’re getting into the swing of the season and already, we have new and exciting things to report.

We have new helmets for horseback riding and for climbing.

idyllwild summer camp, outdoor education, equine program, science camp

Here are a few of our students out on trail with our new helmets.


Drifter and one of our happy campers about to go on trail.


Canyon prepping one of our students to climb the Alpine Tower.


One of our fantastic students modeling our new climbing helmets.

The Traverse Wall in the Rock and Rec. room got a make-over. 


Here is a before and after picture of our Traverse Wall.


Our Naturalists hard at work on the mural.


Willow and Sunshine painting a picture of an ocotillo plant on the traverse wall.

Meet Sir Simba and Breezy, the two horses who recently joined our Pathfinder family.


Sir Simba is 18 years old and comes to us from Midway College in Midway, KY. ( He is a registered Quarter Horse, and though his size might appear a bit intimidating, he’s quite the gentleman. Peppermints are his favorite treat so far.



 Breezy is a 10 year old registered Quarter Horse and is rather the opposite of Simba in appearances; she’s much shorter and more compact.  Breezy is fond of hats and playing in her water.

Back in Action: Garbology and Reducing Waste

Thanks to Willow for this great blog entry!

Pathfinder Ranch’s Outdoor Education program is back in action! This week, Naturalists welcomed their first school of the season, and they look forward to learning with all of the schools to come.

Here at Pathfinder, we like to do what we can to reduce our impact on the environment. We recycle, pick up litter, measure and reduce our food waste, and try to find creative ways to reuse things. One great way to get ready for a trip to Pathfinder Ranch is to start thinking about how you produce waste. The study of waste is called garbology, and this can start in the classroom with a simple waste audit. In a waste audit, trash from a set period of time is collected, examined, sorted, and classified with the intent of finding ways to reduce the most commonly found sources.

To perform a waste audit, a class should agree on the period of time they want to collect and store their trash. This could be as short as one day or as long as a month! Once all of the trash has been collected, it should be spread out in an open area, such as a basketball court, field, or on a tarp in the middle of the classroom. Students then work to sort items into like piles. These sorting piles can be as broad or as specific as the class wants, but the more specific they are, the easier it will be to find useful results. Classifications, such as items that could be diverted to recycling, items that could be reused, and items that could be replaced with reusable items, can then be applied to further sort the waste.

Once these types of classifications have been made, the class can start thinking of specific steps they want to take to reduce their waste. For example, if students find that most of their waste is in the form of paper, they might decide to have a space to collect paper that be reused for scrap and a space to collect paper that can be recycled. Both of these actions can help a class reduce its impact on the environment.

Good luck, and if you try this out, let us know how it goes!