July 21, 2017

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Ironwood Web Update

Well, it seems we’ve turned the corner into a bit of the late summer weather and have experienced a couple days with the daytime temps hitting high 80’s. Nothing in the 90’s yet, but when we compare what the weather is going to look like say in mid-January, well, we’ll take the heat. We’ve not had much rain this week but the lawns and forests still look very green. Grass is growing well in our acres of fields and we’re hopeful for a second cut of hay in the future

The gardens look great with some excellent yields coming off every day. We have installed a post sprinkler system that operates on a timer so the residents can take abit of a break from the daily watering chore. Garden tending times have been changed from afternoon to morning to escape the heat of the day. We harvested over 60 lbs. of Peas this past week with another 40-50 lbs. of salad greens. And we continue to plant into this week. And, yes, we planted pumpkins, so we’ll have some carving fodder come October!

Japan was the host country for Ethnic Night. Chicken Katsu, Crispy Edamame, and Yakasoba Stir Fry was served up. Dorayaki was enjoyed for dessert. The Ethnic Night has become the highpoint of the culinary week at the Farmhouse, very participatory and very tastefully done.

Canine class this week to a short field trip, by foot, to the Beaver Pond, where beginner Retriever training was accomplished. They started with some basic obedience and ended up with dogs in the water fetching tennis balls. It was a great event for the dogs as it was a very warm afternoon and the kids got to watch the dogs have a very “cool” time plying their retriever instincts.

Exercise enrichment took a bold new turn this week with the FH kids heading to the Belfast Celtic Festival and participated in the 5K Celtic Canter! Everyone had a blast and we had one of our female residents finish first in her age group! It was very well attended and our residents represented themselves, their families and Ironwood very well. I fully expect there to be a few more of these in the future. In the spirit of the Celtic Festival the residents had an exercise routine this week that was a 5 station circuit fashioned after the Highland Games. Also, they had a cheese stick race, to correspond to the Cheese Roll Event. Quite a sight. Frye Campus has had a Disk Golf Pole installed and it is getting a ton of use! I think there may be more coming in the future.

Been another busy week here on our beautiful summer campus. Have a great week and thanks for allowing your child to be part of our lives.

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July 14, 2017

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Ironwood Web Update

And a fine hello and happy Friday to all, from our beautiful campus nestled under Frye Mountain. As noted in previous updates, but worthy of repeating, is the absolute incredible weather we enjoy this time of year. Night time temps usually rest in the 50’s-60’s with daytime highs touching low 80’s. And when the Canadian air comes streaming down bringing low humidity and clear cool air? And night time is high 40’s with daytime highs barely make mid 70’s, well, that’s why we love our Canadian neighbors so much! Here in Maine we call this “good sleeping weather”. And your children sleep well here, logging 10 hours a night at Frye and 9 hours at the Farm!

Oh, and of course they eat very good as well. Farmhouse enjoyed another of their signature Ethnic Nights with the Country of Mexico being the host country. Beef and Cheese Quesadilla’s, Black Beans, Mexican Rice, Sweet Corn Salad and Mole Sauce, all capped off with Deep Fried Ice Cream! Well, well many happy amigos, and amigas at the tables that night. Important to note that the night is not just about the food, the entire country’s history and culture is studied by all residents. A stellar night had by all.

Canine training this week was, well, let’s call it an “event”. Staff Ronanne will send out a “calling all dogs” request to staff so we don’t really know how many dogs actually show. We have our stand-by of 2-4 dogs, which is what we started the session with, and ended with 11! Turned into quite the “dog show”. Each of the residents took a turn of running the class and had a great opportunity to show off what they’ve learned. In addition to the usual regimens the kids got to work with a hearing impaired dog this week. After the session the kids filled a kiddie pool with water and allowed the dogs a cooling off time.

Exercise enrichment this week saw the kids working in pairs. The support of a “buddy” in exercise was introduced as there is always strength in having someone encourage and enhance a regular exercise routine. Each morning staff guides them through their exercise with many different exercise types, Hindu-Push Ups, Lunges, Side Planks, Dynamic Push-Ups, Mountain Climbers, Explosive Lunges, are some of the titles, which candidly, make my muscles sore just writing their names! The FH group will be heading for the Belfast Celtic Festival this weekend, and will be participating in the Kilted Canter 5K. 4 staff led groups will take the kids depending on their levels, some will run and some will walk, on the very fun 5K. It is really great because there are residents that will participate in the run part of the event that probably never would have been able to prior to their arrival at IW. Go team IW!

Let the harvest’s begin! Peas, Lettuce Mix, Lettuce Heads, Spinach, Kale and Herbs. The satisfaction of having the kids harvest and then enjoy their own food is very rewarding. Fresh salads and stir fried Pea Greens have been common fare. The Frye residents had a tasty meal of Greens and Herbs cooked over an open fire! We’ll be planting late Summer and Fall crops-Cucumbers, Lettuce Heads, Kale and Carrots. This week the Farmhouse during their garden time watched a documentary called the Future of Food. This film offered an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind the unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled U.S. grocery store shelves for the past decade. It spawned some great conversation and moved quickly to the importance of “growing our own food here at Ironwood”. It was a great rainy day activity!
The Wilderness Weekend was a smashing success again. For those of you that had children participate I’m sure you’ve heard what a grand time it was! A Sunday departure for the girl campers with the Frye kids being told that morning, was put together by early morning. A long hike to the site and a day of set-up and food prep carried the rest of the day. A 6 mile hike to the top of Frye Mountain was enjoyed by all on Monday with a nice meal prepared over an open fire was enjoyed on Monday. All the while the kids are learning some great wilderness skills, but also the deeper learning about themselves of being self-sufficient in a wilderness setting.

Been yet another brisk week here on our campus. Thanks for allowing your child to be part of our lives and have a fabulous week!

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July 7, 2017

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Ironwood Web Update

Hard to believe that two weeks has surpassed since the beginning of our June Family Weekend. But it has. Which means we are only 8 weeks away from the next joyous FW. We’ve entered the “meat” of our summer here in Maine with long days, pleasant weather, not a lot of rain, and pesky black flies. These are the type of weeks that people visit Maine and fall in love with all that we have to offer. Some even decide to move here, only to experience their first Maine winter and begin wondering why they ever did such a thing in the first place. Really though, Maine is wonderful and the residents are enjoying a summer of their lives in a very special and beautiful place.

July 4th morning saw all of the Ironwood residents, along with staff, gathered around the Frye Campus flag pole for a ceremonial flag raising. The National Anthem was played and staff said a few words. It was quite moving and an exceptional experience for the residents. Then they were off for a day of fun and relaxation. Working in combined Farmhouse/Frye teams the kids had a blast playing kickball, tug-of war, games of skill, and a water obstacle course. I’m certain you’ll all see a few pictures. And the look on the kid’s faces! Oh my, how wonderful to see kids, just being kids, having wholesome fun, in a very beautiful and simple way!

There was no Canine course this week with the holiday. But the Farmhouse did have their Ethnic Night. Ireland was the host country and I have to tell you (being no stranger to good Corned Beef) the Corned Beef that was prepared was out of this world. A fresh Beef Brisket was “corned” in a brine made by the residents and then slow cooked in the crock pot. And of course, the potatoes, and Homemade Irish Soda Bread, along with fresh salad from the Farmhouse Garden made for one incredible night of dining. I must say, our residents usually leave their Ironwood journey with not only culinary skills, but with some outstanding culinary experiences.

Farmhouse Garden has seen some of its first harvests, while some seedlings are still being planted. Our Director of Sustainable Living, Jacqueline has designed a garden experience that will take us into October/November harvests. It is great to see the kids not only working in the garden, but to see them begin to enjoy the bounty of the garden. All harvests are recorded for an annual yield analysis, and garden staff has begun coordinating harvest expectations with our food order staff so we are actually buying less from the marketplace and eating our own bounties.  10 lbs. of Arugula and lettuce mix was harvested along with 10 lbs. of Snap Peas. Although Jacqueline reported the Snap Peas harvest was closer to 12-13 pounds with about 3 pounds being consumed by the “pickers” before getting to the baskets! The kids get a complete nutritional/growing experience, even down to the Maple Syrup of which many residents helped in putting up in the early spring. The 20 gallons of Syrup is still in the pantry and being used weekly. It is amazing to see the reaction of, and wholesome good feeling, the kids get knowing they are consuming what they grew and or worked so hard at to get it to the table.

Daily planned exercise remains a part of the Ironwood experience with the usual Medicine Ball, weight exercises, distance and short distance running experienced every week. Every aspect of healthy exercise is engaged in and discussed. The overriding philosophy being to make a short exercise routine a priority every day so to make it more likely to engage in rather than planned longer sessions that many times do not happen. Couple this exercise with the incredibly good food, and the 9 hours of sleep per night at the FH and 10 hours of sleep at Fyre and you begin to see a very changed and very healthy child!

Wilderness Weekend has arrived with 3 FH girls and 3 Frye girls heading out on Sunday morning. The Frye girls do not know, so please do not tell them so staff can keep the element of surprise and excitement. They will hike about 2-3 miles into or Wilderness site right here on campus. It’s not really that far away, but staff takes them on a “walkabout” to make it a deeper experience. The participants do not know that they are still on IW property and live the experience of being “miles away” from anyone. It is an ever broadening experience for our residents and one they talk of often.

I could go on with the hours of experientials, groups, music class, Tai Chi, Yoga, Horse Back Riding, chores and horsemanship…and more, but I won’t…it’s the “meat” of the summer and time to get out there and enjoy it.

Have a great week and thanks for allowing your child to be part of our lives.

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June 30, 2017

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Ironwood Web Update

Well there, a deep sigh of momentary rest as the activities surrounding Family Weekend wrapped up. While the Frye families said good-bye on Saturday night, after a wonderful meal together, the Farm House residents trickled in through Monday. There is always such deep anticipation and emotion going into Family Weekend and there is, at times, an equal amount of opposite emotion as we conclude the weekend.

We are duly prepared, with the Frye Sunday being a day of rest, contemplation, naps, maybe a hike and good food. Each resident is allowed to process the “in the moment” emotion as some have just spent 2 days with their family that they have not seen for 1-3 months. It is not uncommon for Direct Care Staff to spend much one on one time with residents as they work through the days following Family Weekend. There is also an air of quick re-engagement as there remains much work to be done. It is not uncommon for us to see a surge in resident’s willingness to engage in their program to get to the ultimate goal of family reunification…

Farmhouse residents who had returned by Monday morning were guided on a hike up Hogback Mountain in Montville. There was no FH school Monday so this was quickly put together by staff and a great morning out was enjoyed by all. Noted here before, but worth mentioning again, is that The Hills to Sea Hiking Trail System, abuts and surrounds our campus, with our campus trails hooking up to the HTS network. The HTS network runs 48 miles from the Town of Unity to the City of Belfast and traverses woods and fields with a very small amount of road hiking interconnecting. Of particular interest pointed out to the group this past Monday is the historical significance of the Hogback Mtn trail, as the summit of Hogback releases a tremendous view of the Sheepscot River Valley, and was used by both Native Americans and early settlers as a common vantage and meeting place. Our residents stood where for thousands of years of people have stood looking over the majesty of the valley and onto the Atlantic Ocean.

The routine of good exercise, along with eating and work, remains a focus with the regimen of Frye Loop run, strength station circuits, and soccer being enjoyed this week. The resident’s schedules on both campuses is very busy, yet we do all we can to be certain that physical exercise and activity remains a vital part of their daily routines.

You all had an opportunity to see and in some cases work in our gardens on both campuses. Most recently, the FH garden saw Cabbage, Onions, and more Tomatoes join the garden soil. Considering the challenges of this spring/summer planting with the less than desirable weather, rotating plantings have occurred to both beat the weather and to allow for a rolling harvest as plants ready in the late summer, early fall. Resident participation at the FH is a must for a successful garden and you can tell when it is peak garden work time as the number of complaints of having to work in the garden increases. However, this discomfort is quickly assuaged as the resident’s begin to enjoy the bounty at harvest time. The Frye Garden, of which all families partook in activities in, remains more of a Therapeutic Project Based Garden rather than a production based garden like the FH. The quietness and connectedness to nature along with the nurturing and care are the primary objectives of the Frye Garden. Its beauty this year along with the creativity that has gone into it is really outstanding. Please look for pictures of the Frye Garden and your individual family projects that you did over the weekend in the weeks to come.

Fourth of July festivities are in full swing. Games and food, along with a day off from school will be the order of the day. However, not before our school staff covers the importance and history of such a wonderful holiday.

There is another Ironwood Wilderness Weekend planned for the early part of this week and I’ll have more of that event for you in next week’s update. The aforementioned hiking trail system plays a unique and experienced based format for the residents.

Well, much has happened since saying good-bye just 6 days ago, and much remains to be done before that incredible day of Ironwood Graduation and the family travel home to an exciting life post Ironwood…thanks for allowing your child to be part of our lives.

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June 23, 2017

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Ironwood Web Update

Wow! The first day of Family Weekend is a tremendous whirlwind of activity and emotion. Launched by a family introductory meeting at the Farmhouse School, the day is then set in motion with reunifications, smiles, laughs and yes, tears. All of the emotions you could imagine after not seeing your child for 10 weeks. After that the families head off for a day of family therapies, experientials and some quiet time together.

The Level III, and Level IV residents enjoy a much deserved and looked forward to trip off campus beginning in the mid-afternoon. All Level III’s get to stay off campus on Saturday night. A Level III with their second family weekend get to stay off campus Sunday night as well. Level IV’s will enjoy a complete 3 night family weekend with a return on Monday. Level II residents, while enjoying a great day with family are not allowed off campus for the overnight.

This always leaves the question as to what happens to the Level I residents who’ve not yet been here long enough to enjoy a Family Weekend. Well, staff, usually led by Staff Alex, take great care of our Level I’s, aptly named “Team Orange” to correspond with their Level color, by planning a good mix of activities and work. Today saw them in school for the regular amount of time, followed by a Quesada lunch cooked on an open fire, then a hike with the Frye mini horses. After exercising the small equines, productive time and hikes up to the Totem pole take up much of their afternoon. Tomorrow will see another day of activities, some hiking, all will complete their “cooking over an open fire goal”….and some fun outstanding outdoor fun in the woods and field of our campus. Early summer is a great time for exploration and they will be seeing a lot of the area hiking, reading, and writing…never a dull moment.

Thanks for allowing your child to be part of our lives.

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June 16, 2017

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Ironwood Web Update

The campus is literally abuzz with activity. And when I say abuzz-the sound of many bees buzzing around at once, or filled with a continuous buzzing sound, I really mean we are hearing it. The aliveness of our natural world here is amazing, and is at times, is audible with the incredible “stillness” that our campus affords us. Oh, and the other buzz, or low hum, being heard around here is the forthcoming Family Weekend! Oh ya. It is amazing at how the energies begin to shift to a bit more lighter and jovial as the residents know they will soon be reunited to all of you. It is really a very exciting time and we can’t wait to see you. In light of this we try to keep the kids focused, on task and “in the moment”. Like the bees, there is much to do.

Ethnic Night was a journey to Brazil. A Savory Pork Stew, Cheese Bread and Sautéed Kale met the plates of the residents. Many of the residents took the opportunity to dress up in traditional Brazilian clothing they had made up in addition to the many house decorations.

Canine classes are more expansive and touching into the deeper levels of dog training. Yes, the tunnel is still being used with both dogs and kids becoming more accustomed to it. A level of comfort in getting the dogs to do what they simply would not do two weeks ago is very rewarding. They are not only becoming better at handling dogs, but the residents are encouraged to bring training thoughts and ideas to class to work out strategies with our Canine Instructor, Staff Ronanne. She encourages them to come up with short term training issues and then develop some strategies on their own to train the dogs a new discipline.

The FH residents are preparing for participation in a 5K benefit race! How exciting. Staff Eric, our Director of Physical and Experiential Fitness, will divide the residents into 3 groups based upon desire and ability. Some will run, some will jog, some will walk, and some will bring a dog! All groups will be accompanied by staff. This was very excitedly received by the FH residents and it was even reported that the girls group passed on an ultimate Frisbee workout the other morning so they could run the Frye Loop in preparation for the event. More to come on this.

This has been, by far, one of the worst spring/early summer for gardens here in Maine in a very long time. A late spring and snow loss, late frost deterioration, and a darn cold spring has fueled a garden concern statewide here in Maine. Most organic farmers and even our larger dairy farms are really adjusting to such an abnormality and are hoping for a better than average July/August to boost what is now record slow starts on many crops. However, we are faring OK here on our campus. Yes, we are behind, due mostly to this weather phenomenon, but activity is brisk with more seedlings going in at Frye, along with finishing the fences and residents jumped in this week and planted a few varieties of late flowers in hopes for some floral brightness in September.

Been another exciting week here! As mentioned, things are abuzz! And you’re a big part of the buzz…see you all on Friday. And thanks for allowing your child to be part of our lives.

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June 9, 2017

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Ironwood Web Update

The grass is high enough in the fields that you can actually see it blow in the wind as the gusts funnel down and around Frye Mtn. Waves of grass tell us we are coming on to our annual “hay season” where the fields will be cut, teddered and baled for winter use. In spite of the inconsistent weather things continue to grow. And our fields do grow; hopefully yielding us two different hay crops this year. The “second cut” is always a shorter grass, usually clover and nutrient rich! Yet, weather permitting, we’ll get the first cut done in the next two weeks.

The girl’s wilderness trip to the far ends of our campus was a tremendous success. We’re certain that if you had a child on the trip you’ve heard all about it. Hiking, fire-tending, outdoor survival skills and cooking on an open fire were just a few of the things that the residents experienced. Most important it gave some of the Frye girls to live, and work with FH girls in an outdoor setting that allowed some serious mentoring to take place. An extraordinary experience for the kids.

Mentoring from existing residents and past residents is a very critical component of our mission. From Level IV residents going to Frye on a daily basis, to past residents coming back a mentor’s presence with existing residents can have an enormous impact on residents program. This past week we were honored to have a past resident who graduated IW 6 years ago and is currently a Sgt. in the United States Marine Corps., I believe you’ll be reading more on him in another section. Yet, it is important to note that mentoring, coaching, or anything to allow a current resident a fresh perspective is important. Many times a visit from a mentor, simply from FH or a graduate can turn an individual’s program around.

Exercise program remains an everyday event with, ready for this? Full body workouts, Ultimate Frisbee, 1 Minute Sprints, Circuit of Stations, Ladder, Kettle, Bell Swings, Farmer’s Carry, Goblet Squats, Bear Crawls, Crab Walk, Sneaky Monkey, Duck Walk, Inch Worm, Kangaroo Jump, Frog Hops, and Scorpion Push-ups! Yes, these are some of the exercises that staff has put together and the kids are participating each week. Maybe next week I’ll begin defining for you what each of them actually are and what they do! Sooo much going on…

The Hoop House is skinned and the ends are framed. Yes, we’re a bit behind, but the mini greenhouses that were put up have assisted in getting many seedlings going, and the hoop house will be in production mode this week. Countless hours continue to be put into the garden with Arugula and Beets going in at the FH garden. The potatoes are up! It was a bit risky as the weather was not very conducive to early planting. Frye received more seeds and the completion of the raised beds. And we’ll be adding a “Vertical Garden”! Sounds like we’re moving up!

Germany was the host country for Ethnic Night with the ever popular German Dish, Wienerschnitzel taking center stage. German Potatoes, Creamy Spinach, Apple Streusel, and Sparkling Lemonade rounded out this culinary delight and there were many “glucklich gesichter” (smiling faces)…

Update from last week- the dogs are still in the 18 foot vertical tube and the boys are right behind them…

It’s been a great week. Weather forecasts for the weekend are high 80’s, low humidity, and many smiling faces here at Ironwood. Have a great week and thanks for allowing your child to be part of our lives!

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June 2, 2017

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Ironwood Web Update

We’ve turned the corner and have finally reached late spring. Yes, late spring for us is June 1st. Not quite full blown summer, but we’ve at least turned the corner. Better days are now headed our way with greater degrees of certainty than ever before! The campus is very, very, beautiful now with all leaves in full form and the gray/browns of winter are but a distant memory. We can’t wait for you to see the tremendous beauty that the children live in every day when you arrive later this month.

Wilderness Weekend is on the launch pad with the group of Farmhouse and Frye girls taking leave Sunday morning for their two day adventure on the mystical and ancient Frye Mountain. The individuals do not know they are going and are told the morning of departure, so if you’ve signed parental release forms, please don’t tell your child. Let’s keep the surprise and excitement factor in place. We’ll report back next week on how exciting this event actually was.

Taking full advantage of our surrounds here, a group of FH residents went on a hike this week. There is a sign on the border of our property that abuts Frye Mountain State Lands that indicates that there is a monitoring station (hung in a tree to gather the species) for Emerald Ash Bores, EAB. This is an Asian invasive species that bores into our native Brown and Mountain Ash trees and kills the tree. The Maine Dept. of Conservation has placed monitoring stations around the state with their lands next to us as one of them. This discovery of the station in the woodlands prompted a great discussion on “Invasive Species” not just to Maine, but to many of the areas our residents hail from. The Burmese Python and African Killer Bees were just a couple that were brought up for discussion. The group tallied forth from there, hopped and skipped a few of the winter melt runoffs coming down off of Frye, where comments were made out the attractiveness of the area for possible dirt biking opportunities. Staff quickly jumped on this and pointed out the effects of erosion by the disruption to forest cover and top soils. Never an opportunity is missed to discuss stewardship and sound use of our resources.

As if hiking, gardening and athletics isn’t enough, exercise routines were front and center again with Circuit Stations, Box Jumps, Frye Loop Run, Tire Toss, and Obstacle Course being enjoyed by FH residents. The residents have a healthy introduction to balance of fun and vigor with exercise routines. In addition, the residents take great pride in achievement but also in the encouragement they give to one another as they partake in the events. Exercise is to be fun, not just grueling chore. On that note Scottish Highland Game events were enjoyed! A Tire toss instead of iron weights proved a success as it was determined that the iron weights may have been too much, not just on muscles, but on the lawn. A robust Tug O’ War concluded the festivities. It was a great way to learn of other cultures, and Staff Eric even wore his Kilt for the games. No worries please, he did not wear it in “traditional fashion” and was donning gym shorts beneath his attire!

Out of the woods and fields and into the gardens. Yes, it is that time and things are popping. The greenhouse is skinned and seedlings are plopping in the soil everywhere. While waiting for the sprouts that have been planted to join us, more were introduced this week with Head Lettuce, Kale, Summer Squash, Cucumbers and Kitchen Herbs being planted at the FH garden, while Lettuce, Peas, Spinach, and Beets hit the dirt at Frye. Mulch paths, trellis work, and more clean-up is a daily chore. Can’t wait for you to see our gardens!

From woods, fields and gardens into the kitchen with another incredibly successful ethnic night conducted this time with the Country of China being celebrated. General Tso’s, double fried and soaked in sweet sauce, Traditional Fried Rice (eggs and peas), Bok Choi, and Garlic enjoyed main fare status with delicious Glazed Peaches taking up the dessert place on the menu. Green Tea with the tea leaves grown in China was served and traditional chopsticks were used. Oh, and of course, Fortune Cookies ended the celebration. It was reported that this was the most colorfully decorated Ethnic Night so far with paper flags of China and Panda Bears all over the house.

Can’t forget about our Ironwood Dogs and their friends, staff dogs. For Canine Class this week they were introduced to the 18 foot agility tunnel. Now, how do you get an 80 pound Black Lab to crawl through 18 feet of circular plastic the Farmhouse Boy’s group was asked? Well, it was quite calamitous to watch as they coaxed their four legged friends through the new obstacle. The agreed upon method was to have the residents climb into the tube and encourage the dogs to follow! Seems logical? Absolutely! These are 14-17 year old boys! It was quite a sight, and success was met with the dogs experiencing a whole new level of agility training.

At the risk of being long winded I’ll mention the field trip the FH took to the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory in Bucksport this past weekend. A few residents got to stare at their fear of heights in the face as the observatory elevator opens to full length glass walls staring out at the Penobscot River Valley into Frenchmen’s Bay.

Oh, and the Athletic Activity this week was a robust game of Volleyball. My, there is soooo much to write about this time of year. Can you tell? Beats those dull and dank Weekly Updates from January…thanks so much for allowing your child to be part of our lives.

Have a great week…

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May 27, 2017

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Ironwood Web Update

And the uncertainty and mischievousness of the May spring weather continues. If you’re getting tired of hearing about it, imagine how tired we’re getting of it while living in it! But, with the hearty resilience of the early settlers of this unwelcoming and unforgiving land we tally forth day by day. Actually it’s not that bad. We’ve had a few days rest comfortably in the 70’s with mild breezes, yet today sees residents in their winter jackets huddling against rain and black flies as they move to and fro.

In spite of the, and in conjunction with the weather the daily activities go on. The more structured Physical Exercise plans for both campuses has been a huge hit. Each day has a defined plan and is structured to be exciting and not mundane. Emphasis is on the “whys” of exercise here and at home. Exercise should be fun and to assist in overall health, not on aesthetics or what the scale reads; and this is what is instilled in the residents.

Farmhouse Ethnic Night continues to be a highlight of the week with Puerto Rico being celebrated. For those who care to know the menu was Seasoned Grilled Steak, Sweet Potato w/ Bacon, Cabbage Salad with Lime and Cilantro. Desert? Why Banana, Coconut, Pineapple Smoothies of course.

Canine Group was advancing to some Level II tracking skills, along with some new dogs who came to this week’s session Level I tracking was revisited. A great refresher for all-dogs and residents. In addition to the continued module on “tracking”, the “Heal” command was introduced to both trainer and Canine. A great time was had by all until the “Black Flies” forced the group in to the indoor arena for cool down and wrap up.

Gardens are the word of the day, with our Hoop House waiting for the outer skin to arrive. Never fear however as seedlings of Head Lettuce, Chard, Kale, Squash, Cukes, Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplant, Flowers and Pumpkins got their introduction to the soil of Ironwood and will begin their journey. FH Garden saw some Bed Prep, Mulching, and Straw placement (pathways for weed control) occur this week. Frye Garden continues to be prepped with clean up and organization. In addition Seed Peas are in and trellising has been placed.

There is a girls Wilderness Weekend planned for the first full weekend in June. This combination of Farmhouse and Frye girls will be heading out for an Ironwood Wilderness adventure, and they don’t even know it! More to come…

Been another busy week here in our little corner of the world. We hope yours has been as eventful and peaceful as ours. Have a great week. Thanks for allowing your child to be part of our lives.

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May 12, 2017

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Ironwood Web Update

Spring must go on! Regardless of the weather, the campus has been abuzz in activities welcoming the season after winter in spite of weather patterns that are more indicative of March than May. Garden activities are a daily occurrence, long and exploratory hikes are being experienced and spring fun time activities are launching today.

In addition to the simplest spring garden prep activities such as raking and rock removal, the garden has been rototilled, manure has been brought on, the hoop house frame is up, weeding is happening, planting boxes at Frye are being prepped for fresh soil, potato seedlings have been cut, trenches dug and potatoes planted. This may seem a bit early for planting but we have a lot of potatoes to plant. Last year alone we acquired, prepared and consumed over 900 pounds of potatoes on our little campus. Will we grow that many? Eventually we hope to, but we’ll settle for 400 pounds this year! Seedling planting and further hoop house and soil prep will occur this week.

Frye girls had a very beautiful and relaxing hike to the Beaver Pond early this week. Many species of birds were noted along with the many wildlife tracks spotted on the hike “to and fro” through the woods to the pond. Farmhouse weekly enrichment hike was full of adventure, having to move trees from pathways, traversing spring mud holes, poking heads into holes in the ground and trees. Outdoor nature hikes are part of the staple of activity here and gives many residents a new found connection to nature. Many express interest in comparing the natural world and seasons of Ironwood to their native homes.

Outdoor sports activities become more of an enrichment activity this time of year with the Sports Group practicing a bit of kickball. The Wombats and Platypus’ jousted in a bit of a practice match in prep for a full blown competition in the weeks to come.

The Frye Chicken’s (not a sports team, they’re actual chickens) are doing very well with many beginning to lose the “pin feathers” or hairs of “chick hood” and are well on their way to developing full blown feathers. Not quite ready to go outside they are being moved to larger quarters soon for the next step to outside free range chicken life.

Spring Fling is the word of the day today as staff has prepared the campus wide annual celebration of winter’s ending with a day full of games, exercise, challenges and food! Festivities kick off at 10AM with a campus wide gathering at the FH garage where teams and schedules are put together. Off they then go for a day of fun with activities like the “Build a Boat”( craft a boat and float an egg across the trout pond), “Egg Drop”( build an egg crate able to sustain a drop out of the FH garage upstairs window without braking the egg), Tie Dye your own t-shirt, and Obstacle Course( timed to determine the fastest person on campus), Garden Galore( Plantings and Garden beautification-bird feeders and waterers), Horse Agility Course( guide a horse through certain pre-determined obstacles)….and more! School is cancelled for the day and teacher’s, therapeutic staff and direct care staff all join to make this a fun and remembered day for the residents. It’s been a long winter, with sacrifice and hard work, and it’s time to have a bit of fun!!!!!!

So, much happening here as usual. And as noted, spring must go on! Even if we have to make it happen!!!! Have a great week and thanks for allowing your child to be part of our lives.

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