Tag Archives: drumlin farm

Edie Sisson’s Ongoing Impact During 50 Years at Drumlin Farm

Edie Sisson is a Drumlin Farm superstar. She has been teaching at Drumlin Farm for fifty years, and during that time has opened countless people’s eyes to the wonders of nature. She believes in living sustainably, and her household includes chickens, geese, and honeybees, and for many years she provided many thousands of fertilized eggs for incubation to schoolchildren across the state, while her late husband, Tom, served as Drumlin Farm’s beekeeper. She also believes, passionately, in social justice and in the power of an individual to make a difference.

In 2007, she founded the Drumlin Farm Outreach and Assistance Resources (DOAR) program to provide scholarship support to make Drumlin Farm available to schools, families, and others for whom the financial barriers were too high, as well as to increase the diversity and accessibility of our community. Thanks to the DOAR Program, many people have been able to experience the magic of nature and the farm first hand. Seeing wildlife up close, getting your hands dirty in the garden caring for plants, and observing the interconnectedness of the natural world are lessons that last a life time and have inspired many, thanks to Edie’s push for inclusiveness.

On November 20, Drumlin colleagues past and present joined with Edie’s family to celebrate both her 90th birthday and her 50th anniversary at Drumlin Farm with a lunch in her honor.  Just a couple of days before Thanksgiving, it was a perfect opportunity to reflect on all that Edie has brought to our community and give thanks for her!

If you would like to make a gift to the DOAR Fund to help support socially diverse programs at Drumlin Farm, please contact Polly Reeve (preeve@massaudubon.org, 781-259-2239).

Crops Update: Week 23

Finally, we had our first frost of the season last Saturday night and are expecting harder freezes this coming Wednesday and Thursday. In light of this, we are hurrying to finish the sweet potato harvest (half the patch yet to go), and will need to cover tender greens by Wednesday afternoon. Today at the stand you’ll find the last heirloom tomatoes of 2018, harvested slightly under-ripe on Friday, but beautiful and flavorful right now. You’ll also find a number of pumpkins and gourds for sale, prefect for pies from scratch, carving, or decorating your home this autumn. It’s easy to impose characters and personalities on the eclectic collection of various sizes, colors, and abnormalities, all of them eagerly awaiting a home!

Harvesting sweet potatoes ends up being very time consuming, in part because of their complicated root systems.

Our other big job we’re looking to complete as soon as possible is garlic planting. October 15th is our target date to have that finished, but we’ve been taking advantage of the warm weather to maximize harvests of summer crops. On Tuesday of last week, volunteers from AER (Atmospheric and Environmental Research) came back to the farm for a second year in a row and harvested carrots, tomatoes and more sweet potatoes (pictured above). They worked so quickly that we had time to weed a few problem areas while moving between harvests.

Harvesting the last of our tomatoes.

On Friday, volunteers from Upland Software helped us pick paste tomatoes for market (pictured above), and then they pitched-in digging, yes more, sweet potatoes. Thanks all for helping us bring in what these amazing fields have to offer! If you’re interested in volunteering in the crops fields during the end of this season or the next, please email our Volunteer Coordinator. We could always use help around the farm!

See You in the Fields,

Your Farmers

Crops Update: Week 22

Still no frost, not even a night in the high thirties. This is unusual, as our low lying fields usually get zapped in the last week of September or first week of October. We expected a frost last Friday night, and so worked that afternoon with 20 volunteers from Shire biotech to scour the eggplant and tomato patches in a last call harvest. Shire volunteers then helped us bring in the last of the popcorn crop, and they even had time to dip their toes into the quicksand of the sweet potato harvest—don’t worry; they made it out alive!

Shire Volunteers

We continued mucking around in the sweet potatoes the following afternoon with 22 students from Brandeis. While it may look like we’re having a fist fight with the soil, we mean it no harm; though I can’t say the same for it, we end each session dazed and badly in need of a nap! And even with all that good help, we’re still only a third of the way through the patch, having brought in over half a ton of sweet potatoes.

Volunteers harvesting sweet potatoes

By way of comparison, 12 volunteers from Global Atlantic helped us harvest 1,100 pounds of potatoes in only an hour this past Thursday. The soil in the potato patch is lighter, and the plants have the good sense to develop their roots in a neat bundle in the space directly below them. Thank you, kind potato plants, and thanks to the volunteers from Global Atlantic, who also helped us harvest peppers in anticipation of that frost that never came.

But looking ahead, a frost seems likely for our fields this coming Saturday night. We’ll continue harvesting as if that were the case, and you may see row covers going up to protect late season greens. In the meantime, we’re taking advantage of the warm weather and so will have a mix of summer and fall crops available at the stand, in the CSA shares and at market this week.

See you in the field,

Your Farmers

 

Date Ideas for Drumlin Farm Love Birds

Try something different with your budding romance or long term partner with these one-of-a-kind date ideas! There’s always something new and fun to discover at Drumlin Farm, start your own adventure together today…

Upgrade Your Romantic Strolls

There’s so man opportunities to make the most of your time outdoors at Drumlin Farm. Step your romantic stroll game up a notch by joining us on one of our guided walks! Our regular Naturalist Walks explore the sanctuary and cover all things natural that we happen to come across. Or get a little more specific by focusing your time on one feature, like at our Fungi Field Walk. Love birds that love birding won’t want to miss out on Thursday Morning Bird Walks either!

Spice It Up in the Kitchen

Don’t spend your night sitting on the couch watching Chopped again, learn new kitchen techniques and start cooking together! Cooking is a fun way to plan together, bond, and create delicious treats from the heart. Make personalized jams and jellies for your breakfasts or as a mid-afternoon snack at our Jams and Preserves program or create long lasting food to compliment your long lasting love at Pickling & Canning on September 29. Does your partner love Kimchi? If so we bet they’d love the homemade version! Treat them to an experience learning about these time-tested kitchen skills and and taste-tested delicacies.

See the Farm via Hayride

When was the last time you traveled by hayride? Love makes us act like kids again, and our Hayrides are the perfect throwback to simpler times. Take a load off your feet and enjoy our rustic limo ride around the farm site-seeing. Hayrides depart from the Red Barn (weather permitting) every 15 minutes and you can pick up tickets at the admissions window for $2.50/person–a romantic cruise without breaking the bank! 

Dance Together at Our Summer Music Series Concert

Enjoy sweet tunes, a beautiful sunset, a packed picnic, and an ice cream at our last of the season Summer Music Series concert to see local band Say Darling! Relax on the grass and enjoy the music together, or get moving and dance the night away–shoes optional!

Get Away

As beautiful as Lincoln is, sometimes you just want to get away. Take a trip with your sweetheart on a variety of birding and nature-filled trips with Drumlin Farm. Take a day trip birding Plum Island or walk the beach looking for shorebirds in Rhode Island. Make it an overnight trip to Cape Cod or the Atlantic Flyway for even more adventure!

A Fun Errand: Grocery Shop at the Farmstand

Wholesome ingredients make for love-filled meals; treat yourselves to a date night in made with restaurant quality ingredients from our open-air farmstand. Turn a boring errand like shopping for groceries into a relaxing, grounding experience with your partner. You’ll find quality humane meat you won’t see at your grocery store, and a variety of summer produce like watermelon, carrots, cucumbers, rainbow chard, and more. Bring your ingredients home to cook a delicious meal for two!

Take in the View from the Top of the Drumlin

Did you know, on a clear day, you can see Wachusett Mountain in Princeton from the top of the Drumlin? The view from the top of our name-sake glacial formation is incredible at any time of day. At sunset warm colors paint the sky, and at sunrise morning bird activity fills the air. Reach the summit and soak in the view at your next visit. How romantic!

The drumlin at sunset.

Discover Hidden Trails

Just when you think you’ve seen all of Drumlin Farm, you stumble on another side path less traveled by. Many smaller trails and rest areas are tucked away throughout the farm, waiting for you. Grab your favorite hiking buddy and bring a field guide and magnifying glass to discover something new!

Visit the Animals

Have you ever seen an owl turn it’s head all the way around in real life? Have you ever seen a red fox up close? Do you know how different countries around the world imitate chicken noises? Our animal exhibits aren’t just for kids, and you’re guaranteed to learn something new together. Take a picture with our friendly cows, measure your arm span compared to a vultures wings, and feel the fluffy wool of our adorable sheep and lambs. Stroll the farm yard and visit our animal ambassadors on a unique date like no other!

Bonus: Remember Your Trip with a Gift from the The Audubon Shop

The Mass Audubon Shop, located at Drumlin Farm, is filled with gifts for nature lovers and more. Pick up a bird feeder for your home, a plush animal for your bed, or a beautiful piece of jewelry inspired by the natural world. Every time you look at it or use your souvenir you’ll think of your special date day at Drumlin Farm and the memories made with your loved one!

 

Crops Update: Week 12

Feeling like the movie Goodfellas this week, we’re frazzled, minding our own business, watching the sauce on the stove top, picking up nephews from the airport, ect. when you glance up and notice a helicopter hovering overhead…look closer and you’ll see there are hundreds of them silhouetted against the evening sky above the fields. Up close, they are turquoise and red, small but enormous relatively, nearly stationary and cruising along above the tractors, others are low to the ground and darting sideways from plant to plant. Yes, it’s dragonfly season, and they are everywhere in the crop fields right now! Take a walk through our trails and fields, and you might be treated to an experience similar to snorkeling through a school of fish, the dragonflies zigging past all around you at impossible angles—right at your face, then straight up and away…

Dragonfly. Photo Credit: Pamela Kelly

If you could hover above the fields like an insectoid helicopter right now, you’d see all our campers spread out over the field for Weed Out #3. You’d see volunteers from IBM planting broccoli and bringing in the last of the storage onions and us hauling basket after basket of corn, tomatoes and watermelons up to the farm stand. Today at the stand, you’ll find more   awesome Awesome-variety sweet corn and outstanding Little Baby Flower watermelons. They are the size of a candle pin bowling ball with pinkish red flesh that is both tangy and sweet and most delicious near the shell-thin rind–and is my favorite watermelon variety of the season. Tomatoes will be occasionally available this week until we expect to be inundated by the weekend. It is that sacred time of year when you can have a basil, corn, cucumber, tomato salad every night! Drizzle it with olive oil, rice vinegar, and salt. To experience the fullness of the flavor, do not cook the corn, eat it raw right off the cob, or cut it off the cob and into your salad. If you’re interested in joining the end of the Summer CSA at a prorated fee, email our CSA coordinator Veronica Gassert at vgassert@massaudubon.org. See our CSA page for more information on our Fall CSA coming up in September.

This past week, with the help of some new and returning faces, it finally felt like we had enough hands to get the job done and more! Thanks everyone for bearing down, harvesting quickly, weeding the perennial garden in the downpour, and placing the shade cloth on the greenhouse during that same storm. The placement of the shade cloth to keep direct sun off the curing onions means that we are very near the end of greenhouse seedling production for the season—only a few rounds of lettuce left to go! Harvests are in full swing, with campers once again picking beans for market and about a dozen community volunteers cutting flower stems for market bouquets. We’ve never had so many people involved with the flower harvest, and it really helped the team have a great day at market. If you or your business are interesting in volunteering and helping us in the field, please email our Volunteer Coordinator Pam Sowizral at psowizral@massaudubon.org.

Thanks to all who worked on the harvest, and thanks to Sarah, Veronica, Susie, Bodhi, and the market volunteers for doing such a great job in Somerville bringing corn, watermelons, beans and flowers to our fans.

See you in the field,

Your Farmers

The Road to Net Zero: January ELC Progress

Progress on the Environmental Learning Center continues at a brisk pace even through the winter weather! Work now has focused mostly on completing the building envelope and beginning interior construction. Here’s a peek at what happened during January.

The month began with huge quantities of insulation going up on both the walls and roof to ensure the building uses as little energy as possible to heat and cool. With 4” on the outside walls and 7” over our heads, we know that our staff will be warm in winter and cool in summer within this net-zero cocoon.

The windows have all been installed now as well, with plenty of weather-stripping tape to eliminate all drafts. The building passed its “blower-door test” (which pressurizes the interior to measure leaking air) with flying colors, registering one of the highest scores our design team has ever seen on a project.

From the outside, the building was temporarily colored in “Mass Audubon blue” as a vapor barrier was installed on all sides to allow the well-insulated structure to breathe properly. This blue will be covered by cedar and metal siding, but we will always know our Mass Audubon roots are there.

With the building nicely sealed, attention turned to the interior as the ceilings and walls took shape. Plastic sheeting over the ceiling joists will hold blown-in cellulose for even more insulation and also noise reduction.

The interior spaces are also now coming to life, and we can see the working spaces for our staff emerge. One fun feature is the custom housing for aquarium tanks in the welcome area, greeting school teachers and camp parents with a wildlife display as they check in for their programs.

Up above, our crew foreman Bob worked long hours to get the curve of the ceiling just right as it ascends from the front door, past a skylight, and into the great room. We hope the rising arc of the ceiling reminds people of a swooping bird or racing clouds overhead.

Next up has been the electrical and network wiring, miles and miles of cables and fiber to keep us all working hard in the 21st century!

January came to a close with a special milestone:  a “beam signing” day where Drumlin Farm staff and friends could leave their names and a special message for future inhabitants and visitors to the building. We were inspired by the well-wishes that will be hiding behind the walls to guide our work, and maybe someday be uncovered by future generations.

The event was also a chance for our staff to get a glimpse inside the hard hat area and imagine how this project will change not just the physical space where they work, but how they will be able to collaborate and connect with the people who come here. We are excited to think of how a Drumlin Farm experience can shape the future of our world.

Look for more updates coming soon. If you would like to learn more about the project, or get involved yourself, we invite you to learn more here.

 

Renata Pomponi

Sanctuary Director

Fun in February

It’s the shortest month of the year but also one of the busiest! Before we’re looking back from March 1st, asking where the month just went and when it’ll warm up, take some time to check out all that’s going on at Drumlin.

 

See Ms. G’s Forecast on Groundhog Day – Friday February 2 at 10:00 am

Will we have 6 more weeks of winter or an early spring? Find out from the Official Groundhog of Massachusetts: Drumlin Farm’s Ms. G! After her annual forecast, explore the sanctuary for new activities and treats.

Move over Punxsutawney Phil, here comes Ms. G!

 

Go Birding In and Out of State

Need to get away? This month, we have two out of state birding trips that are sure to challenge your birding skills. Looking to stay local? Sign up for one of our birding programs that focuses on one of our favorite types of birds – raptors.

 

Preschool Open House – Saturday February 3 at 10:00 am

We can’t wait to learn with you! Give your child a fun, unique, and adventurous learning experience that will last a lifetime at Drumlin Farm Preschool. You’re invited to tour the sanctuary, meet staff, and learn more about our program at this upcoming open house.

Wonders of Wool: Needle Felting – Sunday, February 4 at 1:00 pm

Calling all crafters! Needle felting is a great way to relieve stress and create something from the heart. Take up this easy to learn, Pinterest-worthy, hobby perfect for practicing during the winter.

Doe – a deer – a needle felt deer!

Stew & Brew: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry – Friday, February 9 at 6:30 pm

Warm stew and cold brew, what could be better? Eat, drink, and be merry with stews made from local, seasonal ingredients, including Drumlin Farm-raised meats and veggies. Wash it down with a variety of beers from local breweries including Jack’s Abby, Rapscillion, and Cambridge Brewing Company.

Chickadee Birders: Birding 101 – Sunday, February 11 at 1:00 pm

Share your favorite hobby with your growing chickadees. Children ages 7-11, accompanied by an adult, are invited to learn the basics of birding and identifying. Fair warning, though, they may fall in love with it too!

Don’t Forget! Valentine’s Day is February 14

Love is in the air! Treat the special person in your life to a unique date at Drumlin Farm. Walk the trails hand in hand and enjoy the beautiful vistas from the top of the Drumlin, overlooking the expansive Boyce Field. Who knew farms could be so romantic?

Sign up for the Spring, Summer & Fall CSA – Early bird registration ends February 9th

Receive delicious, fresh, seasonal produce from our  CSAs. You’ll thank yourself for signing up early when enjoying these fresh ingredients all year round.

Salads in the making

 

Get a Little Wild with Wild by the Fire: Sleepy Snakes– Friday, February 16 at 10:00 am

Our local reptiles have been sleeping, but a warm day in February might wake up a snake! We’ll learn how to slither and slide while we listen to sagas of serpents. We’ll also create a snake of our own to take home.

Three Day Weekend Celebration

President’s Day is Monday February 19th. At a loss for what to do with the kids on this free Monday? A trip to visit the animals is sure to excite them while keeping their brains engaged and spending important time outdoors.

Take a February Vacation – Monday February 19 to Friday February 23

Make February Vacation Week a real vacation with outdoor fun activities! With single-day and full-week options, we’re busy with sanctuary explorations, wildlife visits, and educational crafts and activities all week long.

Beekeeping for Beginners – Tuesdays, February 27 to March 27 at 7:00 pm

What’s the buzz? Take action in your life to personally support the hard working pollinators that make so much of our lives possible. Learn the basics of backyard beekeeping and look at honey in a whole new way.

 

 

Crops Update: Vol. 25

Last Farm Stand of the Season!

Yesterday we harvested from all fields for the last farm stand of the year. If you drop by Drumlin today you’ll be greeted by a colorful assortment of carrots, beets, radish, collards, kale and chard along with lettuce, cabbage, squash, potatoes and onions, and bags of spinach and arugula at the stand.

 

Thanks to all who have shopped with us throughout the season. And thanks to the volunteers and staff who kept the stand up and running and conducted Know Your Food programs (complete with samples) all season long!

Fall CSA Spots Available

If you want access to fresh Drumlin veggies year-round, it’s not too late to sign up for the Fall CSA. The program runs throughout month of November with the first pickup today. Get in touch with Farmer Sarah Lang if you want to join.

Root Veggies for Winter

We still have three more Saturday markets to attend in Somerville, as well as a Winter CSA and regular deliveries to our restaurant and school partners through spring. That in mind, we’ve moved more than ten thousand pounds of potatoes into the root cellar and have just begun bringing in the carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, celeriac, storage radish and rutabaga.

Your Farmers

Remembering and Celebrating Our Volunteers

Drumlin Farm relies on the energy and hard work of our many volunteers to accomplish our goals . In recognition of the importance of this vital community, the Drumlin Farm Sanctuary Committee recently initiated the Jonathan Leavy Award for Outstanding Volunteer Contributions. Jonathan, a long-time livestock volunteer who passed away in 2016, and whose smile and friendship are sorely missed, diligently cared for our animals while using his impressive carpentry skills to make improvements to our barns.

Long-time Drumlin Farm volunteer Jonathan Leavy caring for a lamb

And the Award Goes to . . .

On September 23, at our Moon Over the Drumlin benefit dinner, we presented the first annual award in Jonathan’s memory to Fred Costanza. Fred has dedicated more than 14,000 hours of his time and hard work to Drumlin since 2006. He is a multifaceted volunteer who assists staff in caring for our livestock, crops, and property. On any given day you can find Fred plowing a field, programming the root cellar cooling system, fixing a tractor, mucking a barn, feeding the goats, or lending a hand at a special event.

Our staff turn to Fred not only for help with the everyday tasks that keep the sanctuary running smoothly but also for behind-the-scenes projects that we have come to rely on him for. Need a fence repaired, maintenance for the crops truck, a mobile chicken coop relocated, or someone to man the giant spider at Tales of the Night? Call on Fred.

Fred Costanza, first recipient of the Jonathan Leavy Award for Outstanding Volunteer Contributions

The Jonathan Leavy Award plaque can be found in the tack room of our red barn—a fitting location where much of Jonathan’s handiwork can be found. Fred’s name is engraved upon it as the first recipient. Thankfully, his name will be joined by other wonderfully generous Drumlin Farm volunteers in the years to come.

By Pam Sowizral, Drumlin Farm Volunteer Coordinator

 

New Additions: Meet Mick and Prince

Welcome, Mick!

We recently brought home two new rams, Mick and Prince. These woolly gents came to us by way of Kate Collins, who does the sheep dog demos at Drumlin Farm’s annual Woolapalooza celebration in March.

Drumlin staff prepared for their arrival by building a little shade shelter out of recycled materials behind the red barn and setting up an electric fence that extends from the equine pasture to the maple grove.

Over the weekend, 10 ewes joined Prince in the Maple Grove and five were brought to the equine pasture to accompany Mick. By Sunday night all were settled in.

Breeding season has begun! If all goes to schedule we’ll have new lambs in late March.