Category Archives: Moose Hill CSA

Musings of a Sidewalk Explorer: Gardens

Ms. Patti, one of our educators who has been teaching preschool and kindergarten aged children at Moose Hill for 25 years, continues her daily walks around her neighborhood and shares what she sees and a few fun activities and resources for you.

I so enjoy seeing flowers along my walking routes, and whether the beds are perfectly weeded and mulched, wildly cozy, or somewhere in between, I appreciate the work that goes into maintaining flower beds. I have always been a student of botany (trees, wildflowers, and other non-cultivated plants), but I now consider myself an accidental gardener. My first real dig at gardening came with coordinating Moose Hill’s first Native Plant Sale. Not being versed in actually planting/growing anything (other than a failed attempt at potted tomatoes…a squirrel got most of the them), my initial question was, “Remind me again the difference between annual and perennial.” It’s been almost 15 years since then and I now love getting my hands into the soil and dirt under my fingernails. Currently in my flower beds Mayapple is up, a few trilliums have flowers, columbine is just starting to bloom, and lots of greenery is filling in with the hope of more flowers to come. Each spring it’s truly is like seeing old friends after a long absence.  

My personal gardening philosophy is to dig a hole, put the plant in, water, and see what happens; I’m definitely in the let-it-grow-wildly-cozy camp. I try to place plants in their ideal growing conditions, but if I have an empty spot and a plant…in it goes. I have discovered that most will grow if placed even remotely close to their preferred conditions (they may not be as robust, but they will grow and thrive). As I enjoy the process of gardening, it is also important for our local pollinators (butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and the like). So, I hope you will find time to get your hands into soil, and if you don’t have space…just appreciate the gardens in your neighborhood. 

Celebrate plants! Here’s a few ideas:  

Plant anything and watch it grow. 

Read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. The final page will let you know how to care for seeds. 

Watch a particular tree/flower and track its growth. 

Try an underappreciated vegetable.  

Support Moose Hill’s Native Plant Sale (being held at the CSA Barn at our farm) and pre-order from our selection of native perennials.  

Join Moose Hill’s CSA for 18 weeks of fresh organic produce with options for helping harvest or not.  

Let us know about your gardening adventures! Be well and stay safe. 

How to Shop Safe and Local

While the Nature Center, Gift Shop, and trails remain closed during this time, the farm will be open and we hope that you will continue to support the local vendors that we partner with to fill our gift shop shelves. Though you can’t shop through us right now, you can still easily shop directly with many of our vendors for all of your upcoming gifts, gardening, or grocery needs – it will be easy to see why we have been so proud to partner with them at Moose Hill.

The two current best ways to directly support Moose Hill are by joining us as a member, taking advantage of the new member special for just $32, and by joining our Organic CSA, where you can get 18 weeks of fresh vegetables worth $27-$32 a week. Guaranteed fresh vegetables without needing to remember to place an order each week – what a great deal! We will be starting our CSA program on time in late May. Arrangements will be made for a safe pick-up process for shareholders and farmers if the COVID-19 situation continues into the CSA season. By purchasing a CSA share now, you’re giving valuable support to our farmers as they continue to work to provide fresh, sustainable food for our community.

While we can’t physically sell the great products from our local partners in our shop right now, we want to help you reach them virtually, or contact free, and continue to show them some love. Visit the list below to check out what your neighbors and community members have available.

CatBird Design – Greeting Cards / Nature Photography / Jewelry and More
Cilla’s Creations – Cement Garden Decorations
Chickadee Seed & Feed – Bird Seed, Feeders, Garden Supplies, Feed, and More
Country Farm Candles – Family Owned Hand Poured Soy Candles
Good Life Creations – Personalized Gifts & Decor
Ink’d – COMMUN-A-TEE T-Shirts and Masks
Jim’s Organic Coffee – Local Coffee Offering 15% Off Your Online Order
Mass Audubon Shop – Limited Version of the Usual Online Shop
Nelumbo Healing Arts – Nature Art, Jewelry, and Hand Crafted Self Care Products.
Our Corner Booth – Handmade Wooden Home Goods & Decor.
The Petal Peddler’s Shop – Unique Handcrafted Paper Flower Bouquets
Ring by Ring Designs – Handmade Jewelry
Simpson Spring – Local Grocery Goods (Including Local Meat), Fresh Spring Water, Gifts, and More
Tea Guys – Local Tea
TreeHouse Farms – Local Eggs, Meat Birds, and More
Ward’s Berry Farm – Local Groceries, Plants, and Moose Hill Maple Syrup
Yellow Ochre Studio – Original Gouache Paintings & Giclee Prints

We hope you are all staying safe and healthy and miss you dearly. Thank you for your continued patronage and shared love of nature.

A Wandering Naturalists Notes

Michael, who worked part-time for Mass Audubon for 15 years before joining the Moose Hill team permanently 10 years ago, is our very own wandering naturalist. He is always on the move, notices everything in nature, and has a passion for sharing what he sees. Michael can make anyone see just how amazing nature is – no matter where you find that place – in your town, at the shore, in the mountains. As with all of us, he is enjoying some daily walks on the streets in his town and shares the spring activity that is happening outside now.

Early Spring: Late March-mid-April

Welcome to Spring!!  After an exceptionally warm, and dry, January and February (8-9 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 100 year average), this trend continued till late March when temperatures became more seasonable and precipitation more copious.   This, in turn, yielded the beginning of an earlier Spring with daffodills and crocuses up by mid-March, and birds like Pine Warblers returning from their southern, wintering grounds. Here are some of the observations I’ve made over the past few weeks on my Wanderings in my own neighborhood and what I know is awakening at Moose Hill. 

Red Maple flower (male)

Red Maple flowers—male: Some of the earliest of our trees to flower, giving off a “reddish-orange” hue from a distance; Driving along our roads and highways, this is one tree that you can identify clearly this time of year; the male flowers usually appear before the female ones to spread their pollen; with all of the rain and wind during April, many have fallen to the ground, littering lawns and driveways.

Red Maple flower (female)

Red Maple flowers—female: These bright red flowers tend to appear just after most male flowers have opened up AND for good reason, “Why bloom any earlier than you need to?”  New seeds (and genetic potential for the species) will be produced IF they are properly fertilized during the Spring; And IF that happens like usual, flowing water will carry them to a scarified embankment so that they may potentially germinate;  A few late freezes during early Spring (when morning temperatures drop to just below 32 degrees Fahrenheit)  might keep these seeds from even forming, so I am monitoring a few trees carefully.

Willow flowers (male)

Willow flowers (male): this genus of plants (especially the shrubbier species) also inhabits our wetlands and displays its flowers nice and early; One of the most northerly of shrubs, willows are a hardy lot, so no worries about their being able to survive cold temps and snow!  Just look at those little “pussy cat mittens!”

American Elm flowers

American Elm flowers: the Massachusetts state tree is one of the larger species to flower in the early Spring, also within wetlands and alongside streams & roads; still occasionally ravaged by Dutch Elm Disease in certain areas (western MA and up through VT), there are many healthy individuals in our neck of the woods IF you just look carefully enough—check out their classic form (below) and swelling flower buds as you drive along Rte. 27 (from Cobb’s Corner) up the hill to Sharon Center…there is a large individual on the left; Some are still in flower, while others are going to seed.

American Elm

The “vase-like shape” of an American Elm: those 3 trees I just mentioned (in Sharon) possess some of this lovely form, but not quite like those that grow in more open areas of New England.

Carolina Spring Beauty

Green Grass and early Spring Wildflowers!—some grasses flower in open, sunny forests; on lawns (and in protected areas) dandelions have begun to flower; skunk cabbage leaves enlargen, hiding their early Spring flowers; Carolina spring beauty blankets the forest floor of our lower sugarbush—a truly unique habitat in these parts with its deep, alkaline (or “sweet”) soils and almost always adjacent to a flowing body of water.

Spicebush flower

Shrubs—flowering and leafing out. The spicebush (in swamps/along streams, especially those found along Moose Hill Street) are beginning to flower and add a lovely, yellow hue to these habitats; growing at our “eye level”, they are quite easy to see; tiny yellow flowers with a “lemon pledge” type scent. Huckleberries, lowbush blueberries, and a whole host of invasive, exotic shrubs have begun to leaf out as well; flower buds of highbush blueberry begin to swell and soon will open, attracting bumblebees and other insects with their sweet scent.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Red-Shouldered Hawks–I’ve seen a number of these hawks circling overhead and making that distinctive, loud “Kyah! Kyah! Kyah!” over the past 2-3 weeks, often in pairs; Like Robins, Phoebes, Tree Swallows, and a handful of other birds, these are your “long distance migrants” that overwinter down in the southeastern US; So great to hear and see them back again down in these parts!  A pair nested in the swamp across the street from us last year and I am guessing that they’ll favor that again; A little smaller than your Red-Tailed Hawk with a tail that isn’t always so “broad”, besides the reddish coloration in spots and banding, are good field marks.

Pine Warbler

Along with the Yellow-shafted Flickers, Great Blue Heron, Killdeer, Woodcock, Eastern Phoebes, Tree Swallows, Field Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, and a few other species that have returned to their breeding grounds in our area (2-3 weeks earlier than in year’s past), the Pine Warbler has also made its return, filling the piney woods with its musical trill; more often seen than heard, although they occasionally visit bird feeders during April-May.

Spring Peeper

Spring Peepers!—the little chorus frogs have been calling over the last few weeks in the wetlands across the street from our home, as well as down the road in a much larger, Red Maple swamp;  a high-pitched, “peep, peep, preeeep”, almost reminiscent of sleighbells in the distance.

Wood Frog

Wood Frogs—these most-northerly of amphibians started calling (or “quacking”) in larger numbers within our Vernal Pools during the 2nd week of March this year, 2-3 weeks earlier than usual; usually, an “explosive breeder”, with males calling loudly over a few days period and determined to attract females; a few could still be heard chorusing along Moose Hill Street (and Moose Hill Parkway) during mid-April.

Eastern Garter Snake

Eastern Garter Snake—the most northerly of reptiles, at least 2 individuals were observed basking in the sunshine along the Vernal Pool Loop back in mid-March.

There’s so much happening outside – what are you noticing on your wanderings around your yard, your neighborhood, your town?

While the Nature Center, Gift Shop and trails are closed during this time, there are still a number of ways you can support Moose Hill as we prepare for when we once again can welcome everyone back – join Mass Audubon (there’s a new member special for just $32 dollars!); join our CSA, with a regular pick-up worth $27-$32 a week, it’s a guarantee of fresh, organic vegetables this summer; support our partners:

Supporting Our Local Vendors

With the gift shop closed, we wanted to take a moment to highlight ways you can still support the local businesses that you can’t currently purchase from through us. We know that things are tight for a lot of folks out there right now due to so many jobs being shut down, but if you find yourself needing some of the items that our vendors below offer, we implore you to shop local and support these smaller business that are being greatly affected right now.

Country Farm Candles just launched a Tealight Soy Making Candle Kit, which makes a great at-home craft project. They are also working on a video series of candle experiments that can be done at home with the tealights so be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Cilla’s Creations has been busy working on new cement pieces to brighten up your yards and gardens that will be available for purchase curbside with a portion of the profits still going to support us at Moose Hill. Follow her Facebook to learn more details.

Celebrations have become a little different in this time of quarantine but you can still buy gifts of unique jewelry through Ring by Ring Designs on her website. Our entire Nature Collection is available with some new designs that aren’t even in the gift shop yet.

If you are anything like me and have found yourself drinking a little more coffee than usual to get through these strange days, you may need a restock. Jim’s Organic Coffee is an excellent local company that is currently offering 15% off of their online orders. All of their coffee support independent farmers in their countries of origin and their Mexican Single Origin coffee is certified bird friendly with over 100 bird species and over 200 plant species on the farm. Once you get your hands on some of their coffee, be sure to check out all the different ways it can be brewed to perfection right at home.

I know some of you are missing our maple syrup but I have good news. Ward’s is now selling our bottles of certified kosher maple syrup and they are now offering no contact curbside pick-up and home delivery for some of their groceries, including our syrup.

Simpson Spring, located in Easton, is also doing curbside pickup of their local water, meats, cheese, eggs, and yogurt options. You can call ahead or send them a message on Facebook to place an order.

Our organic CSA will be a great way to get fresh veggies in the coming months. Join our summer CSA and receive 18 weeks of fresh, organic vegetables Pickups in Sharon and Mattapan. With shares equaling just $27 to $32 per week it’s a great way to support Moose Hill and the work we do. Register online today to secure your slot. If you have questions about this program, please feel free to email us at moosehillcsa@massaudubon.org.

Right now, we’re still planning to start our CSA program on time in late May. Arrangements will be made for a safe pick-up process for shareholders and farmers if the COVID-19 situation continues into the CSA season. By purchasing a CSA share now, you’re giving valuable support to our farmers as they continue to work to provide fresh, sustainable food for our community.

If you are running low on birdseed, you can support our local supplier and pick some up at Chickadee Seed & Feed on route 1 in Walpole. They have some limited hours but they are a smaller shop where you can go safely without much interaction with other people. Check their Facebook for updates on their hours and protocols.

Lastly, Tree House Farms has fresh eggs weekly and is taking orders to raise meat birds monthly. Check out her Facebook or Instagram for updates on how to order and message her on either platform with any questions or requests.

We can’t wait to see you back up on The Hill when we are able to re-open our doors, but we hope you are all staying safe and healthy in the meantime. As always, thank you for your support of Moose Hill and for supporting our partner vendors!

March Happenings at Moose Hill

It’s hard to believe that March is here! How did that happen? In a winter that has been a true roller coaster ride in temperatures but with a lack of real snow, at least in our area, it has been a great winter to get outside and explore. We’ve noticed a lot of things that have been different – from the sounds we are hearing to the birds and animals that we are seeing. What have you been noticing on your outdoor adventures this winter?

As each day gets a little longer, that weather that we truly look for in mid- to late- February and into March has arrived (at least some of the time). When we begin to see consistent nights below freezing and days that warm to 40-45 degrees F, we turn our programs and hearts to the sugaring season. Even as we enter March, we have already had an incredible start to the season. Maybe it was the tubing we added to parts of our operation, maybe it has been the right combination of temperatures, but either way we have SYRUP. The evaporator has been going and we are delighted with the bottles lining our shelves waiting for you in the Gift Shop. Stop on in, plan on pancakes or waffles tonight or this weekend and enjoy the sweet season!

There are lots of programs to choose this month – but remember, register early to secure your spot. Love a program and want to make sure it really does happen? Grab a friend or two and register together. Most programs need a minimum of 4-6 people and some programs will sell out quickly.

Knee High Naturalists – Tuesdays and/or Wednesdays, 9:30 am-noon: Using games, songs, art, and plenty of outdoor hands-on/minds-on activities, Miss Patti explores the nature of Moose Hill with your 3-5 year old through the changing seasons. While sessions have begun, we still have some spaces available and you can still register. Contact Patti, 781-784-5691 for the prorated pricing.

Fledgling Fridays – March 6, 13, and 20, 1-2 pm: Designed for you and your child aged 3-5 and focusing on sensory development, each program has it’s own theme all while creating art, participating in STEAM activities, listening to stories, and exploring the outdoors. In March, we explore many different aspects of the sugaring season!

Climate Cafe: Birds and the Changing Climate – March 10, 5:30-7:30 pm: Join Mass Audubon’s Director of Bird Conservation, Jon Atwood and our TerraCorps member, Maddy, for an evening of discussion. Snack and drinks will be provided at the FREE event held at the Sharon Public Library.

Maple Sugaring Behind the Scenes – March 13, 7:00-9:00 pm: This program is designed for the adults! Learn about how we turn raw sap into maple syrup, complete with a variety of tastings of maple – drinks, waters, syrups – plus visiting the sugar shack at night is an experience you don’t want to miss!

Maple Sugaring Weekends – March 14, 15, 21 or 22, tours between 11 am and 3 pm: This 90-minute outdoor, guided tour includes meeting people portraying characters from the past as they go about their daily tasks, including sugaring. Conclude your tour at our operational sugar house and enjoy a taste of the final product. Head back to the Nature Center to get your own bottle of Moose Hill syrup in the Gift Shop and purchase pancakes, sap dogs or maple sugared popcorn. This program often sells out, so be sure to register to secure your spot!

Nature Nerd Trivia Night – March 18, 7:00-9:00 pm: Enjoy a fun evening of nature trivia. You will learn about the passions of the Moose Hill staff and their curiosity – every night brings laughter, discussion, learning, and fun! March’s theme Small Things in Nature.

Junior Conservation Commissioner Program – begins March 25, 4-5:30 pm: In partnership with Walpole’s Conservation Commission and the Walpole Recreation Department, Moose Hill is excited to provide children ages 9-11 years old a chance to become a Junior Conservation Commissioner. This five-session science and civics program led by Julia, a teacher naturalist from Mass Audubon’s Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, will take place at Blackburn Hall in Walpole with one scheduled field trip to Moose Hill.

Moose Hill Walkers – begins March 30, 8:00-9:00 am: Join Patti for a weekly walk to see the arrival of spring while learning the trails for walks later on your own. A great way to kick start your day and the best value is to register for the series!

Curious about what’s coming? April is just around the corner and so is April Vacation Week – plan early to secure your child’s spot in our popular vacation week programming. We are always adding new programs so check out the calendar often or follow-us on Facebook or Instagram. Have a program you would love to see us do? Let us know, we might just have something in the works.

OR are you already hoping for summer? Summer Camp registration and Summer CSA registration are in full swing!

Scheduling your time seem too much – no worries. Come for a hike on your own. Our trails are open when the parking lot is open (7:00 am-7:00 pm), 7 days a week. Stop in the Nature Center before you head out and let us help you plan your hike.

And while you are here, check out our Gift Shop. We have a wide variety of nature-themed products for sale, many from local artists. We also have Moose Hill branded items and snacks and drinks to enjoy.

No matter how you choose to spend your time this February, we hope that Moose Hill will be a part of your plans – we look forward to seeing you here.

February Happenings at Moose Hill

winter can be beautiful!

And just like that we are half-way through January! In our little area of the state, we’ve had some mild weather and it shows. Weekends have been filled with people getting outside, taking a hike and enjoying the mild winter weather. We love seeing you here at Moose Hill – don’t forget, stop in and say hi to our great staff at the front desk (they can even make suggestions on new hikes for you depending on how long you want to be out), warm up (if you need to) and check out the Gift Shop for snacks and drinks.

February is on it’s way and we can’t help but think about Groundhog’s Day. Did you know that Massachusetts has an official groundhog? Mass Audubon Drumlin Farm’s very own Ms. G. We’ll have to see if her prediction (based on shadows don’t you know) will follow along with Punxsutawney Phil of national fame or will it be different?

Finding a mouse house in the bushes.

But no matter what February 2 brings from these furry prognosticators, we do know that there will be lots of things to explore at Moose Hill – from outdoor happenings to programs and vacation week camp! While you are out exploring, what signs are you seeing? Tracks of squirrels, coyotes, red foxes, fisher, raccoons? Are you hearing new things? Some birds will begin their territorial song and woodpeckers will be heard drumming away as they establish their territories. Will you see us out as we tap trees for sugaring season? Who says February is a slow month – so much happening and we even gain an extra day in this Leap Year:

Brunch with the Eagles – February 2, 8 am-4 pm: Sanctuary directors Doug Williams and Karen Stein are excited for their annual outing to Essex, CT in search of bald eagles and a tasty brunch at the historic Griswold Inn.

Knee High Naturalists – Tuesdays and/or Wednesdays, 9:30 am-noon: Using games, songs, art, and plenty of outdoor hands-on/minds-on activities, Miss Patti explores the nature of Moose Hill with your 3-5 year old through the changing seasons.

Mead variety

Introduction to Mead Making – February 6, 6-8 pm: Curious about the oldest fermented beverage ever produced? This class takes you through the history, the variety, the simplicity (or complexity) of making mead. You will leave class with everything you need to begin making your own mead at home.

Tap-a-Tree – February 8, 10:30 am-12:30pm OR 1:30-3:30 pm: This hands-on class takes you through the very basics of tapping a tree in order to collect sap – from selecting your tree to hanging your bucket. We will then take over the hard part of sap collection and boiling it down for the sweet treat we all love.

Cell Phone Portrait Photography – February 8, 2-5 pm: love taking selfies or capturing you and your friends and family while your out on fun adventures but your pictures never quite work? Have we got the tips and tricks for you.

Barred Owl

Owl Moon – February 9, 6:30-7:30 pm: Experience the magic of Moose Hill after dark with a full moon in the sky! This program is especially designed for families with children ages 3-6 although all are welcome.

Fledgling Fridays – February 14 and 28, 1-2 pm: Designed for you and your child aged 3-5 and focusing on sensory development, each program has it’s own theme all while creating art, participating in STEAM activities, listening to stories, and exploring the outdoors.

Conversations and Cocktails: Maple Bourbon Apple Cider – February 15, 4-5:30 pm: Let’s talk maple sugaring while enjoying some snacks and a cocktail. Did we mention that sugaring season is right around the corner and as we gear up for producing our very own maple syrup, let’s enjoy that sweet treat in front of a fire in a few different, tasty ways.

Black-capped Chickadees

Late Winter Bird Identification – February 16, 1-3 pm: From which birds overwinter in our forests to what long distance migrants you might see, join Teacher Naturalist Michael Scutari for a hike to see, and hear, what is happening at Moose Hill and learn some simple techniques for bird identification.

February Vacation Week – February 17-21, 9 am-4 pm: It’s out-of school time that’s fun! Each day has a different theme and we will explore outside as much as the weather allows. Sign up for one day or for all five – before and after care options are available.

stoking the fire

Maple Sugaring Behind-the-Scenes – February 28, 7-9 pm: This program is designed for the adults! Learn about how we turn raw sap into maple syrup, complete with a variety of tastings of maple – drinks, waters, syrups – plus visiting the sugar shack at night is an experience you don’t want to miss!

Digital Photography for Beginners – February 29, 3-5:30 pm: Leap Day seems like the perfect day to learn more about that DSLR camera and gain the confidence to have full control over the image that you are creating. This class has both indoor time and a hike to gain some hands-on experience!

Star Gazing Nights – February 29, 7-9 pm: Let’s check out the stars on this Leap Day!

Curious about what’s coming? March is the height of sugaring season and there are a lot of programs to explore in our busiest, sweetest season! We are always adding new programs so check out the calendar often or follow-us on Facebook or Instagram. Have a program you would love to see us do? Let us know, we might just have something in the works.

OR are you already hoping for summer? Summer Camp registration has begun! And, Our summer CSA early bird registration last through February 29 – register before the price goes up in March.

Scheduling your time seem too much – no worries. Come for a hike on your own. Our trails are open when the parking lot is open (7:00 am-4:00 pm), 7 days a week. Stop in the Nature Center before you head out and let us help you plan your hike.

And while you are here, check out our Gift Shop. We have a wide variety of nature-themed products for sale, many from local artists. We also have Moose Hill branded items and snacks and drinks to enjoy.

No matter how you choose to spend your time this February, we hope that Moose Hill will be a part of your plans – we look forward to seeing you here.

Moose Hill CSA – Radishes and Arugula recipes

The CSA has had a great start and lots of radishes and arugula each week. You may find yourself looking for a change-up in how you can use your bounty of these items. Previously we posted a great recipe for Arugula Pesto and we have told many people about the wonders of roasting your radishes – so good!

A fellow shareholder, Sue, sent in these recipes for a few additional options – enjoy everyone! these sound delicious.

Charlie Bird’s Farro Salad

1 cup pearled farro (6 ounces)

1 cup fresh apple cider 

2 bay leaves 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1/2 cup good olive oil 

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 

1/2 cup roasted, salted pistachios, whole or chopped 

1 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley 

1 cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves 

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved through the stem 

1/3 cup thinly sliced radishes (2 to 3 radishes) 

2 cups baby arugula 

1/2 cup shaved Italian Parmesan cheese 

Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon 

Directions:

  1. Place the farro, apple cider, bay leaves, 2 teaspoons salt, and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes, until the farro is tender. (If all the liquid is absorbed before the farro is tender, add a little more water.) Drain the farro and transfer to a large serving bowl. Discard the bay leaves.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt (many recommend reducing to 1/2 tsp), and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir the vinaigrette into the warm farro and set aside for at least 15 minutes to cool.
  3. Before serving, stir in the pistachios, parsley, mint, tomatoes, and radishes. Add the arugula and lightly fold in the Parmesan so as not to break it up too much. Sprinkle with the sea salt and serve immediately.

Grandmother’s Radish Leaf Soup from Epicurious

Ingredients

3 large bunches radishes

1 tablespoon butter

1 very large onion, chopped

4 russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, chopped

3 cups water

2/3 cup milk (can omit if you would like)

Preparation

Cut leaves from radishes and wash well. (Reserve radishes for another use.) Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add radish leaves and sauté until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add potatoes and 3 cups water. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in blender. Return to saucepan. Mix in milk. Stir over medium heat until hot. Season soup with salt and pepper.

It has also been noted that you an add in the garlic and scallions to this soup!

Moose Hill CSA – Arugula Pesto

A number of people remember this recipe from last year and loved it so we thought we would share again now that you are getting some great arugula. Do you have a favorite arugula recipe? Share it with us!

Arugula Pesto

Ingredients:
4 cups packed fresh arugula
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup pure olive oil
2 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted, plus 1 tablespoon
1/8 teaspoon vitamin C (optional)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions:

Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl, and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put the
arugula in a large sieve and plunge it into the boiling water. Immediately immerse all the arugula and stir so that it blanches evenly. Blanch for about 15 seconds. Remove, shake off the excess water, then plunge the arugula into the ice water bath and stir again so it cools as fast as possible. Drain well.

Squeeze the water out of the arugula with your hands until very dry. Roughly chop the arugula and put in a blender. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste, olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the pine nuts, and the vitamin C, if using. Blend for at least 30 seconds. In this way the green of the arugula will thoroughly color the oil. Add the cheese and pulse to combine. The pesto will keep several days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

Pull out before dinner to get to room temperature. Before serving, add the remaining 1 tablespoon toasted pinenuts.

May Happenings at Moose Hill

It’s May! Cavity Nest citizen scientist volunteers are busy monitoring the cavity nests in our fields while overhead the tree swallows swoop about the field and bluebirds and chickadees watch from their perches on branches. The male turkeys are puffing out their feathers, spreading out their tales and dragging their wings in a display for the females and many a visitor. Killdeer are protecting their nests in the fields as we carefully plant and weed around them on our farm. And each week we are seeing and hearing spring migrants in our forest and fields. Spring is definitely in the air!

Killdeer in the farm fields

After a rainy April, our trails can be muddy and the water on often dry streams are flowing, but that doesn’t stop us from getting outside and exploring as the sanctuary shakes off the winter. The trees are leafing out, the ferns are emerging from dormancy and unfurling along the trails, beautiful flowers are opening in the gardens and the fields, and the farm is being planted and weeded as we prepare for the summer harvest. May is the perfect time to join us for a program – grab a friend or two and register early to secure your spot and help us plan for the day.

Knee High Naturalists – want your 3-5 year old to have a little more nature in their day? Miss Patti and our youngest naturalists will explore Moose Hill – each week will have a new nature- or science-related theme. We still have spaces in either the Tuesday or Thursday morning sessions. Come once a week or come twice – the activities on each day will complement the other day and we pro-rate for sessions already started!

Fledgling Fridays – spend some great quality time with your child. Create art, participate in STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) activities, listen to stories, and explore the outdoors every Friday afternoon. This hands-on, nature-based learning program is designed for children ages 3-5 with an adult. Each Friday we will have a different theme focusing on sensory development. Come for one, or come for all of them!

Moose Hill Walkers – it’s back; time to kick off the winter, get outside and take a hike with Ms. Patti every Monday morning. Come learn the trails at Moose Hill so that you can explore on your own!

Early Morning Birding – bird migration is here. Bring your binoculars and join Vin as you head out in search of spring migrants – all birding levels are welcome from beginner to expert!

Pileated woodpecker

May 4: Saturday Morning Hike – join Teacher Naturalist Julia for a hike that focuses on the changing seasons, local geology, conservation, and Moose Hill quests.

May 4: Firefly Watch Citizen Science; Learn to Study Fireflies at Home – there are more than 150 species of fireflies in North America. Come and learn about fireflies and how your observations can help scientists map fireflies – besides, it’s fun for the whole family!

May 4: Star Gazing Nights – join astronomers from the Astronomical Society of Southern New England for a look at the stars and other night objects through their big telescopes. Be sure to call ahead to make sure the program is running – the weather and sky conditions dictate if this program runs.

May 5: Sunday Saunter; Spring Wildflowers and Neotropical Migrants – take a gentle saunter along the trails of Moose Hill with staff Teacher Naturalist Michael to experience nature through the seasons. This month the focus is on the wildflowers and spring migrants at Moose Hill.

May 10-11: Bird-a-thon! – team Moose Hill is ready to head out and bird for 24-hours in this annual fundraising tradition. Support our team’s efforts to bring home the trophy once again for most species identified in 24-hours by donating today. Our efforts and your donation provide critical funds for the conservation work and educational programming at Moose Hill. We thank you for your donation!

May 12: Mother’s Day Breakfast – celebrate Mother’s Day at Moose Hill with a morning hike followed by a hearty pancake breakfast! Hikes begin at 8 am, 9 am, 10 am, or 11 am. Register early to secure your spot for the day.

May 12 and 26: Forest Bathing Half Day Retreat – a slow-paced guided therapeutic experience promotes wellness through a series of gentle sensory-opening invitations that welcome us to notice more of our natural surroundings.

May 18: Salamanders and Citizen Science – learn about our different salamander Citizen Science research projects and practice the protocol yourself. We will hike to the vernal pool and check on some of our cover boards as we search for salamanders at Moose Hill.

Red-backed salamander

May 18: Full Moon Hike – discover the beauty of Moose Hill under a shining full moon with Miss Patti!

May 19: Family Nature Exploration Sundays – explore the wonders of nature as a family as we observe, explore, and discover what is happening in our red maple swamp.

May 20: Moose Hill Mondays – this drop off program for children ages 3-5 years will focus this month on insect investigations with outdoor exploration and play.

May 22: Nature Nerd Trivia Night – don’t miss out on this Trivia Night, our last one until the fall. Learn about the passions of Moose Hill staff and their curiosity. The night is always filled with laughter, discussion, learning and fun!

Is pre-scheduling your time hard to do? You can always come and enjoy a hike on our trails between 7 am and 7 pm (when our parking lot is unlocked) – make sure to wear the proper footwear and have your water! During this time of year the trails can be wet and muddy; the boardwalk in our red maple swamp on the Billings Trail is still flooded – please avoid that section!

When you come, be sure to stop in the Nature Center and check out our Discovery Room – there are a number of touch tables to explore and the focus this month will change from maple sugaring to vernal pools! I notice: what details do you notice about the items on the tables? I wonder: when you look at the items, what questions do you have? It reminds me of: do these items look like any other things you are familiar with?

Continue to the Blue Room where Mr. Turtle is just looking for visitors – this red eared slider has been a part of Moose Hill for 4 years now; read more about why we have him when you visit! On your way to the Blue Room, be sure to stop and take a selfie at the Moose Antlers – if you line yourself up just right, you can capture yourself with a great Moose rack (don’t forget to tag us if you get a great photo; we want to see how much fun you are having)!

And be sure to check out our updated Gift Shop – honey from our fields, rocks and minerals, local artisan products, water bottles, baseball caps, bird feeders, bird seed, and more. If you haven’t been to the Gift Shop lately, stop in and see the newest selection of items we have just waiting for you. And, save the date – we will feature our local artisans with a fair on June 8; come and meet the people and learn more about their craft.

Are you daydreaming about summer? The Farm at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary runs a summer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program with fresh, organic vegetables over 18 weeks. Registration for this program is now open! Pick-up options available Monday, Wednesday, or Friday evenings from 4-7 pm at our Farm Barn in Sharon or Thursday evening from 3:30-6:30 pm at our sister sanctuary, Boston Nature Center, in Mattapan.

Thinking about summer camp? Registration is open for our 70th summer of day camp fun. It will be another great summer with a few new programs!

No matter how you spend your time with us at Moose Hill – we look forward to seeing you here, exploring the nature of Massachusetts at our sanctuary!

Already looking ahead to what’s next? Check out all our upcoming programs starting in June and beyond – there’s always something happening. Wishing for a particular program? Tell us, we might be planning it for the future!

Want to be sure you know what’s happening at Moose Hill? Follow us on Facebook: facebook.com/MassAudubonMooseHill or on Instagram: instagram.com/massaudubonmoosehill

Learn about programs, see the beauty of Moose Hill and experience the fun we have!

April Happenings at Moose Hill

We had a fantastic month of sugaring – from new programs to schools and groups that came out to learn more and, of course, our special fundraising event – Sugaring Weekends! It really was a sweet season…and there is still syrup for sale in our Gift Shop.

skunk cabbage begins to emerge

And now April is upon us and we are ready for spring to come on in full force. We have heard the first of the spring peepers and a few wood frogs here and there – soon the chorus of sound on the Vernal Pool Trail will be loud and the vernal pools will have egg masses growing. The Red-winged blackbirds have returned to the feeders, the Goldfinches have popped into their bright yellows, and the Turkeys are strutting their stuff in full display. We’ve even seen a few pregnant raccoons waddling around. So, while the trails are muddy (and the red maple swamp boardwalk is still flooded) it is a great time to get outside and enjoy the warming sun and a hike on the trails and check out what’s happening this month at Moose Hill. Remember, most programs require registration so we can best prepare – find a friend or two and register early to ensure that programs you are interested in run!

Knee High Naturalists – want your 3-5 year old to have a little more nature in their day? Miss Patti and our youngest naturalists will explore Moose Hill – each week will have a new nature- or science-related theme. We still have spaces in either the Tuesday or Thursday morning sessions. Come once a week or come twice – the activities on each day will complement the other day and we pro-rate for sessions already started!

Fledgling Fridays – STEAM learning for preschool ages kids!

Fledgling Fridays – spend some great quality time with your child. Create art, participate in STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) activities, listen to stories, and explore the outdoors every Friday afternoon. This hands-on, nature-based learning program is designed for children ages 3-5 with an adult. Each Friday we will have a different theme focusing on sensory development. Come for one, or come for all of them!

Moose Hill Walkers – it’s back; time to kick off the winter, get outside and take a hike with Ms. Patti every Monday morning. Come learn the trails at Moose Hill so that you can explore on your own!

Red-tailed hawk watches us from behind the branches

Early Morning Bird Walks – bird migration will soon be here. Bring your binoculars and join Vin for six weeks as you head out in search of spring migrants – all birding levels are welcome from beginner to expert!

April 2: Ropes of Ecology talk – Shawn Moriarty, the Education Coordinator and Camp Director for Moose Hill had his first booked published last fall. Come learn about his unique team-building and experiential ecological literacy programs that are now a part of the offerings at Moose Hill.

April 5: Star Gazing Night – astronomers from the Astronomical Society of Southern New England take a look at the stars and other night objects through their big telescopes and share it all with you!

April 6: Saturday Morning Hike – Teacher Naturalist Julia will lead this hike focusing on the changing seasons, local geology, conservation at Moose Hill, and Mass Audubon Quests.

giant leopard moth caterpillar

April 10: Nature Nerd Trivia Night – Shawn and Julia have been busy preparing the next round of trivia questions. Grab a friend or two, or sign up on your own and make some new friends on another Wednesday night at Moose Hill! This 21+ event is always full of laughter and learning.

the big vernal pool is starting to thaw

April 14: Sunday Saunter – take a gentle saunter along the trails of Moose Hill with Teacher Naturalist Michael to experience nature through the seasons. This month there will be a special focus on vernal pool ecology.

April 14 and/or April 28: Forest Bathing Half Day Retreat – Tam Willey, a certified Forest Therapy guide, will lead you on this slow-paced therapeutic experience promoting wellness through a series of gentle sensory-opening invitations that welcome us to notice more of our natural surroundings

April 15-19: April Vacation Week – experience out-of-school time with us. The seasons are changing and we will go out and explore those changes and what Spring brings to Moose Hill – each day has a special focus. Sign up for one day or all five!

measuring the red-backed salamander

April 20: Salamanders and Citizen Science – act as a Citizen Scientist for the day in this fun, hands- on program with Julia! With your family and friends, learn about our different salamander Citizen Science research projects and practice the protocol yourself.

April 25: Frog Search – enjoy a short, leisurely evening stroll to look and listen for spring peepers and other calling frogs with Julia.

April 28: Family Nature Exploration Sundays – take time to explore the wonders of nature as a family with Miss Patti. Our destinations won’t be too far, which will leave us plenty of time to observe, explore, and discover what is living in a new location each month. This month we go in search of birds!

April 29: Moose Hill Mondays – not quite ready to commit to the series Knee High Naturalists, but still want an opportunity to add some outdoor time to your child’s day? This monthly 2-hour drop-off program for children ages 3-5 will feature a new seasonal nature theme each month with plenty of outdoor exploration/play complimented with indoor activities and crafts. April will feature signs of Spring; morning or afternoon programs available!

Is pre-scheduling your time hard to do? You can always come and enjoy a hike on our trails between 7 am and 7 pm (when our parking lot is unlocked) – make sure to wear the proper footwear and have your water! During this time of year the trails can be wet and muddy; the boardwalk in our red maple swamp on the Billings Trail is still flooded – please avoid that section!

When you come, be sure to stop in the Nature Center and check out our Discovery Room – there are a number of touch tables to explore and the focus this month will change from maple sugaring to vernal pools! I notice: what details do you notice about the items on the tables? I wonder: when you look at the items, what questions do you have? It reminds me of: do these items look like any other things you are familiar with?

Continue to the Blue Room where Mr. Turtle is just looking for visitors – this red eared slider has been a part of Moose Hill for 4 years now; read more about why we have him when you visit! On your way to the Blue Room, be sure to stop and take a selfie at the Moose Antlers – if you line yourself up just right, you can capture yourself with a great Moose rack (don’t forget to tag us if you get a great photo; we want to see how much fun you are having)!

get your swag and other great items in our Gift Shop

And be sure to check out our updated Gift Shop – honey from our fields, rocks and minerals, local artisan products, water bottles, baseball caps, bird feeders, bird seed, and more. If you haven’t been to the Gift Shop lately, stop in and see the newest selection of items we have just waiting for you. And, save the date – we will feature our local artisans with a fair on June 8; come and meet the people and learn more about their craft.

Are you daydreaming about summer? The Farm at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary runs a summer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program with fresh, organic vegetables over 18 weeks. Registration for this program is now open! Pick-up options available Monday, Wednesday, or Friday evenings from 4-7 pm at our Farm Barn in Sharon or Thursday evening from 3:30-6:30 pm at our sister sanctuary, Boston Nature Center, in Mattapan.

Thinking about summer camp? Registration is open for our 70th summer of day camp fun. It will be another great summer with a few new programs!

No matter how you spend your time with us at Moose Hill – we look forward to seeing you here, exploring the nature of Massachusetts at our sanctuary!

Already looking ahead to what’s next? Check out all our upcoming programs starting in May and beyond – there’s always something happening. Wishing for a particular program? Tell us, we might be planning it for the future!

Want to be sure you know what’s happening at Moose Hill? Follow us on Facebook: facebook.com/MassAudubonMooseHill or on Instagram: instagram.com/massaudubonmoosehill Learn about programs, see the beauty of Moose Hill and experience the fun we have!