Posts Tagged: seasons

Winter Reflections

Tracks in the snow

Tracks in the snow

After three fun-filled weeks of training, school groups, and classes, it’s hard to believe that winter break was less than a month ago! As January comes to a close, we have been reflecting on how important it is to step away, and how exciting it is to come back.

Frosty sage and a frozen lake

Frosty sage and a frozen lake

Our staff comes from all over, and when we closed for the holidays, we spread out to every corner of the United States. Naturalists could be found frolicking in the forests of Vermont, snow-shoeing in Montana, reuniting with their dogs in Texas, spending family time in Washington, and even road-tripping through the Midwest. Those who relaxed up here at the ranch were able to witness something exciting, too – the first snow of the season! Whether watched through a window with hot cocoa in hand, or caught on tongues and rolled around in, the snow was enjoyed by everyone lucky enough to see it, and pictures were sent to those of us who were too far away.

No matter where we spent our break or what we spent time doing, a common thread between us all was the time spent with family and friends. Living a wanderer’s life, it is so wonderful to have the opportunity to wander back to the people we love, even just for a week or two. That time spent away from work, reflecting on our lives, friendships, and growth, was truly a blessing. It was a nice reminder that no matter how long you are away, you can always go back home.

We hope everyone had a happy holiday season! Whether you spent it on a faraway adventure or snuggled up in your living room, we hope you spent some time reflecting and celebrating with the people who matter the most.

Happy winter, from our family to yours!

Seasons Greetings

Season’s Reflections

As yet another season comes to an end here at Pathfinder Ranch we take a moment to reflect back on this fall’s accomplishments. By the end of this week we will have seen almost 2,400 students. We started the season with sunshine and some thunderstorms, and will be ending with rain and cold. Through it all staff and students alike have kept positive and enthusiastic attitudes.

We were lucky enough to make it through this busy fall with minimal illness for Ranch residents including our horses, farm and nature center animals. Unfortunately, some of our free range chickens were taken away by local coyotes, but we’re hopeful for new Silkie chicks in the next few weeks! Hopefully our January and February schools will get a chance to see newly hatched chicks!

One of our most exciting additions to the Ranch is the High Tunnel. It is currently home to many seeds and starter plants that will weather the winter inside, and give us a head start on next spring’s garden plans. It has also proven an excellent shelter from the much needed rain showers over the past few weeks.

Overall this season has been full of improvements, growth and excitement. Here’s looking forward to an equally amazing spring!

Students enjoying a geology class in the National Forest.

Students enjoying a geology class in the National Forest.

Season of Thanks

Time is flying by here at the Ranch; we can’t believe it is coming up on the end of our fall season! We are having such a great season, and since Thanksgiving is a few days away, we figure, why not look back at all we have to be thankful for!?

First, we are thankful for the rain that the Ranch got this past week! You know we will take any rain or snow we can get, but the fact that it came over night and didn’t force any of our classes inside was even better! Plus, who doesn’t like waking up to the fresh smell of rain and ribbonwood?

We are also thankful for the cool fall temperatures and the beautiful leaf colors all over the Ranch! One of the most beautiful views to see the changing leaves is on the horse trail. What an amazing sight!

Some students are enjoying the fall colors and beautiful landscape during their horseback ride!

Some students are enjoying the fall colors and beautiful landscape during their horseback ride!

Our new Silkies are fitting in well with the other chickens at our farm!

Our new Silkies are fitting in well with the other chickens at our farm!

 

We have had a few new additions to Betsy’s Farm! We now have three Silkie chickens and two Silkie roosters. They are loving their new life at the Ranch and are a great addition to our farm. The students love watching them and getting the chance to pet them while out at the farm!

 

 

 

Pathfinder is also thankful for our friends and supporters! In case you missed it, we had an amazing time at the Food Truck FriendRaiser on November 16th at The Living Desert! We saw so many old friends and made a lot of new ones, too, all while listening to great music, eating delicious food and enjoying The Living Desert exhibits!

Last, but certainly not least, we are thankful for all of the students, teachers, and chaperones that have been up here at the Ranch this season and all those who are still to come. We love sharing this gorgeous place with you and teaching more about the world we live in!

And what post about the Thanksgiving season would be complete without a recipe for you to share at your table this holiday season!? Hope you love pumpkin as much as our Naturalists!

Pumpkin Swirl Bread:

Ingredients

Filling:

  • 2 pkgs (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Bread:

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 can (15 oz.) solid pack pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups all- purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ½ cup chopped dates

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour three 8×4-in. loaf pans. In a small bowl, beat filling ingredients until smooth.
  • In a large bowl, beat sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil and water until well blended. In another bowl, whisk flour, pie spice, soda, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and cloves; gradually beat into pumpkin mixture. Stir in walnuts, raisins and dates.
  • Pour half of the batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Spoon filling over batter. Cover filling completely with remaining batter.
  • Bake 65-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in bread portion comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Wrap in foil; refrigerate until serving.
  • Just before serving, if desired, in a small bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough milk to reach a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over bread; sprinkle with walnuts.

Yield: 3 loaves (16 slices each).

Thank You for a Wonderful Fall Season

Things were busy here at the Ranch before our season ended in the middle of December! We’ve had a lot of schools visit us over this past fall (about 20 in total). Thank you to all of our fall schools. What a great season! We’ve enjoyed the holidays with family and friends, cooking delicious foods, and building fires to keep us warm on cold nights. Even some of the animals at the Ranch have had the holiday spirit. Take a look!

Gravy, Our Fun Loving Turkey!

Gravy, Our Fun Loving Turkey!

Breezy decided she wanted to be a reindeer this holiday season!

Breezy decided she wanted to be a reindeer this holiday season!

Madonna, Our Spirited Alpine Goat!

Madonna, Our Spirited Alpine Goat!

Garret, Our Bearded Dragon!

Garret, Our Bearded Dragon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When they aren’t playing with the animals and teaching classes, the Naturalists at the Ranch have been hard at work this season designing new programs that can fit into our classes! One of the newest additions is an indoor planetarium that will soon be used during our Astronomy evening program! Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate the way we wish it would, so on rainy or cloudy nights we can potentially use this to help students see constellations and stars in our night sky!

 

We used a box fan to inflate it, and we cut a door on the opposite end to enter!

We used a box fan to inflate it, and we cut a door on the opposite end to enter!

We used black plastic sheeting and duct tape to secure the edges.

We used black plastic sheeting and duct tape to secure the edges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once inside we can project pictures of different constellations, stars and planets that we talk about during astronomy!

If you’re interested in building one of your own or seeing how it works, here is the website: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/education/videos/playVideo.cfm?videoID=28

 

Hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful time of year! Besides the current week of oddly warm temperatures, it has definitely gotten colder and colder here. So, why not warm up with this delicious hot chocolate recipe?!

 

Slow Cooker Deluxe Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate:

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 (6-oz.) pkg. (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips

1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)

2 quarts (8 cups) milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

 

Toppings:

Whipped cream

Miniature marshmallows

Miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Toffee bits

Cinnamon sticks

Peppermint candy sticks

Assorted liqueurs and flavored syrups

Chocolate cookie crumbs

Crushed peppermints

 

Directions:

  • In 3 1/2 or 4-quart slow cooker, combine unsweetened chocolate, chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk; mix well.
  • Cover; cook on High setting for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or until chocolate is melted.
  • With wire whisk, stir in 2 cups of the milk until smooth. Gradually stir in remaining 6 cups milk and vanilla.
  • Cover; cook on High setting an additional 2 hours or until hot.
  • Just before serving, stir mixture again with wire whisk. Reduce heat setting to Low; have guests ladle hot chocolate into cups and top as desired.

YUM!

Happy Holidays and See You Down the Trail,

                             Pathfinder Ranch Outdoor Education Staff