Friday, December 7, 2012

Holiday Greens Workshop and Youth Programs in December


It's not too late to join the upcoming events this month at the Wagbo Farm!

Holiday Greens Workshop



Saturday, December 8, 1pm. 

Get ready to deck the halls with Alana Haley of Roots & Wings Herbs!

Creating a wreath, swag, kissing ball or arrangement with natural materials is an enjoyable way to kick off the holiday season. Even if you've never attempted this before, you'll be amazed at what you create; it’s easier than you think!

Come for a Holiday “make and take” that you’ll get weeks of enjoyment out of. And you’ll be able to say... “I made it!”

If you plan to make a wreath, bring a grapevine wreath form for the base (other shapes okay too). All other materials are provided.

Sliding scale $5 to $15 includes greens and embellishments beyond the ordinary plus instruction. Limited space available. Family friendly. Light refreshments provided.

Pre-registration appreciated. Please call 231-536-0333.


Northwoods Family Nature Club


Sunday, December 9, 1 - 3pm

Monthly gathering of families with children of any age. We have the simple mission of relatively unstructured PLAYTIME in the NATURAL WORLD. Each time we will choose a loosely defined "adventure" and then let the kids take the lead! It's also a great time for parents to meet and talk to other adults whilst the kiddos get down and dirty. FREE.


Jordan Valley Outdoor Youth Programs Presents:
Winter Wonderland - A Nature Stroll for Kids


Sunday, December 16, 1 - 3pm

For this month’s adventure we will be exploring forest and field while we hike along a maintained pathway.

We will visit a stream that feeds the Jordan River, play nature games, have a scavenger hunt and look for tracks and sign of resident native wildlife.

Hot cocoa will be served when we return to the Farmhouse.

Hike is approx. a half mile. FREE.

For more information on these or any of our programs, contact the Wagbo Farm at (231)536-0333 or info@wagbo.org, or check out the events page at www.wagbo.org.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fun with Fabric this Weekend at Wagbo



                Here in Northern Michigan, the seasons provide a steady rhythm of change for our lives.  My spirits are highest when autumn begins to emerge with her icy breaths and vibrant foliage – as the leaves turn color, I am provided with inspiration to alter the color of all of the natural fiber within my reach.  Black walnuts are dropping to the ground, marigolds are still in bloom and ready to be dead-headed, and the apple trees are awaiting pruning; the fall is our last opportunity to harvest the flora found out-of-doors, edibles and dyestuffs alike, that (hopefully) will soon be covered in snow.


                On the last Sunday of this month, my friend, Audrey Atkinson, and I will be hosting a “Natural Dye Play Date” at the Martha Wagbo Farm and Education Center.  We will have 3 to 4 vats of natural dye prepared to “play” in. These may include black walnut hulls, onion skins, apple bark, and marigolds.  You are encouraged to bring your own pre-wetted* silk, cotton, wool, linen, hemp, etcetera, to dip into the vats.  If you have no natural fabric on hand, do not despair, for we will have silk and cotton that has been pre-mordanted (with alum) available to buy.  Also available to purchase will be dyestuffs and mordants provided by Mishiiken Studio of Alanson. 
                * Fabric that has been soaked in water for at least an hour will take up the dye better.


                Come play and dye with us - no experience required! This will be a fun activity for the whole family but please keep in mind that we will be dealing with vats of simmering liquid – so caution with young’ns is advised. Please bring the following if you have them: rubber gloves, string or rubber bands for tie-dyeing, a needle and thread (just in case), and a bucket or plastic bag for transporting wet fibers. We’ll have some supplies on hand as well. Also, we'll likely be working in a non-heated space (except for the stove tops!) so dress appropriately - layers are good. We would love for you to attend no matter your financial situation - a donation of $5-$10+ is greatly appreciated if you are able.  Also, bring some snacks to share if you like and we will do the same – you know we’ve gotta get ready for those cold winter months ahead! 

                Hope to see ya’ll out there!
                -Jasmine Lace Petrie

What: Natural Dye Play Date
Who: Audrey Atkinson and Jasmine Petrie and Y-O-U
When: Sunday, October 28th, 2012.  From Noon-3pm.
Where: Martha Wagbo Farm and Education Center
Why: Because we can!
Suggested Donation: $5-$10

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Now you see 'em...

"Under the willows" at Wagbo
Sometimes you get lucky and something that's hard is made a little easier by its necessity. That is the way it was with the Wagbo willows. I'm not usually one to be overly dramatic but you have to understand (and perchance you do), "under the willows" has always been this neat little place on the Wagbo farm. A quiet spot right in the middle of things yet tucked out of site of the highway. There you could enjoy an idyllic swing in the hammock, relish a picnic at one the tables purposefully placed there, join with a few other folks for a chat (meeting is such a nasty word, isn't it?). Often, we'd circle up the children there to begin a program; or gather adults in an intimate and shady setting for a presentation, demonstration or workshop. Then there were those blessed days when your summertime work was portable enough to allow itself to get done there - whether bookkeeping (via laptop) or beekeeping (prep and maintenance, minus the bees of course) or home-keeping (many a meal has been prepared here).
The scene many months ago, and replayed a few too many times.
That's why, as our aging willows started shedding their VERY large limbs when gusty (and then sometimes even not so gusty) weather visited, it was a difficult conversation to even start, but hard also to ignore. I have learned, a little too personally for my taste, that the beautiful willow is no friend of buildings and each must keep a respectful distance from the other due to some of the inherent properties of the tree itself. And these Wagbo willows, five in number, summer's respite though they were, were much too close to a couple of important structures at the farm - our workshop and sugar shack. Not to mention - simply as an inconvenience - the driveway. I don't honestly know which came first, the fast-growing and mighty willows or the buildings, but it was clear, finally, sadly, that it was the willows that had to go.
The unsuspecting willows on the day of reckoning. 
                          Now you see 'em...
...now you don't.
All in a day's work.



















We have just begun to discuss what might replace them. The high water table here certainly limits our choices, and this too may be lucky in its own way. It's obvious that anything we choose will not soon replace the resplendent shade that "under the willows" provided. But while the best time, as they say, to plant a tree is twenty years ago, the next best of course is right now, and I will take heart in that. It even feels a little exciting, and certainly there's relief and a clearing of the back of the mind where the precarious limbs once dwelt. And in the meantime we're sure to be warmed more than once around a campfire by the remains of the once shady boughs. Perhaps you'll join us sometime?
Not bad, just different, right?
We envisioned a couple of cool tables from the stumps of the
bigger ones, and a way to remind us what once was there. 


And, as we pass the mid-month, I should remind you that we have some exciting programs, listed below, coming up over the last couple of weekends of October that you can still get in on. We're looking forward to them!


Jordan ValleyOutdoor Youth Programs: Bushwhacking & Beaver Tracking  Sunday, October  21, 1– 4pm at Martha Wagbo Farm and Education Center. Suggested donation $5. Pre-registration required. This is the first of a new program series led by Fischer Jex. Join us as we delve into the world and ecology of this fascinating aquatic mammal – the Beaver! We will bushwhack through forest and field to explore an actively maintained beaver pond, dams, channels and lodges. Along the way we will discover evidence of a diversity of other creatures that call a beaver pond “home.” Pack a lunch and be ready to get wet! Suggested age 6 & up. Note: this is an off-trail adventure of about a mile through wet terrain. 

NaturalDye “Play Date” Sunday, October 28, noon—3pm at Martha Wagbo Farm and Education Center. Suggested donation $5-$10. Pre-registration encouraged. Learn to dye natural fibers using area plants with Jasmine Petrie and Audrey Atkinson, local fiber artists. A hands-on experience; bring your own material to dye or purchase some at the class. Bring a snack to share if you are able, not required. This is a grown-up play date but accompanied older children interested in learning are welcome.

As always, for more information you can check out our website at wagbo.org or "like" us on facebook .

Submitted by Jen Lewis, resident volunteer Wagbo cheerleader.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

NEW! JORDAN VALLEY OUTDOOR YOUTH PROGRAMS PRESENTS...


Bushwhacking & Beaver Tracking  


Sunday, October  21, 1– 4pm at Martha Wagbo Farm and Education Center in East Jordan. Suggested donation $5. Pre-registration required. 


Join us as we delve into the world and ecology of this fascinating aquatic mammal – the Beaver! We will bushwhack through forest and field to explore an actively maintained beaver pond, dams, channels and lodges. Along the way we will discover evidence of a diversity of other creatures that call a beaver pond “home.” Pack some snacks and be ready to get wet! 

Note: this is an off-trail adventure of about a mile through wet terrain. Suggested age 6 & up. Please register by phone or email with the names and ages of those in your party plus the best way to reach you.

This is the first of a new monthly program series - Jordan Valley Outdoor Youth Programs (JVOYP) - led by Fischer Jex. Fischer combines his knowledge of the natural world with an eagerness to share his enthusiasm with young and old by exploring our place in nature. Each month will bring new adventures relevant to our locale and the season, touching on ecology and primitive skills while building a connection with our natural surroundings, getting dirty and having tons of fun. Adults are welcome to accompany their children. Events will be based at the Wagbo Farm and/ or nearby Jordan Valley.

Check back each month (or join our email list) for upcoming JVOYP events and we hope you'll come join us!  Tentative schedule includes “Parsnips and Porcupines” (Nov.), “Campfire Cooking” (Dec.), “Skis, Trees and Teas” (Jan.), “Maples in the Meantime” (Feb.), “Walking with Woodcocks” (April).

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Monthly Potluck Series

Live Music with Abigail Lapell... and YOU!
Our monthly potluck series returns on Saturday, the 29th, with a great family-friendly program. This month we're in for a treat by ISLAND's visiting artist-in-residence, Abigail Lapell (see below), who will play a set of her original music following dinner (7pm). Then, we'll head outside to continue the music around the campfire with familiar songs (7:30pm).

Songsheets and marshmallows provided. Feel free to bring an instrument to play, a few percussion instruments will be available.

Family-friendly event, FREE and open to the public. Bring a dish to pass if you are able, never required. Tableware and beverages are provided. Wagbo is located 3 miles south of East Jordan on M66.

We hope you'll join us!


Abigail Lapell is a singer-songwriter from Toronto. Drawing from folk, indie and traditional influences, she’s won over audiences across North America and Europe with her crystal-and-smoke voice, evocative lyrics and s
parse plucked electric guitar. Great Survivor, Abigail’s debut album, was released in Spring 2011. Recorded by Ohbijou’s Heather Kirby, the record features talented collaborators like Jessica Moore (banjo, vocals), Lisa Bozikovic (piano, vocals), James van Bolhuis (drums), Aaron Lumley (double bass) and Julia Collins (violin). Abigail has been featured at festivals including NXNE, Pop Montreal, Winterfolk (Toronto), Sappy Fest (Sackville, NB) and In the Dead of Winter (Halifax), and has shared stages with Rae Spoon, tUnE-yArDs, Snailhouse, Ember Swift, Greg MacPherson and Jim Guthrie, among many others.

"Great Survivor is an emotional chamber, furnished with bare acoustics and anchors around Lapell's confident, smoky vocals. It's an impressionistic debut, one that feels like it comes from inside."
- BlogTO


"Great Survivor is an emotional chamber, furnished with bare acoustics and anchors around Lapell's confident, smoky vocals. It's an impressionistic debut, one that feels like it comes from inside."
- BlogTO

Saturday, June 2, 2012

June Potluck: Birders' Breakfast!

Birders' Breakfast Potluck
Saturday, June 9th, 8:30 am






Come out to the Martha Wagbo Farm and Education Center for our monthly potluck program! Meet at the Wagbo farmhouse 8:30 am. Take a stroll on the Wagbo property for the “dawn chorus” and identify the birds we see and hear with the help of wildlife biologist Keith Kintigh. A brunch potluck will follow (an hour or so later) back at the farmhouse. Bring a dish to pass if you are able; feel free to join us anyway if you aren’t! Beverages, table service and camaraderie are always provided!

Free and open to the public. This is a family-friendly, all ages event.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mother's Day Leek and Morel Events


Mother's Day Morel and Leek Walk 
Presented in Partnership with ISLAND 
Date and Time: Sunday, May 13th, 10am to 12pm 
Location: Wagbo Cost: $5-$10 suggested donation 

Come take a walk and learn about wild edible plants and spring mushrooms. We will cover what habitat to look for and identication of wild plants and mushrooms. Please remember to dress for the weather, wear hiking footwear, and bring a basket. Stick around to learn how to pickle leeks and preserve morels at a workshop to follow! No preregistration required. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.


Mother's Day Morel and Leek Preservation Workshop 
Presented in Partnership with ISLAND 
Date and Time: Sunday, May 13th, 1pm to 2:30pm 
Location: Wagbo Cost: $5-$10 sliding scale 

There are many ways to preserve morels and leeks. We will cover how to dry and freeze morels, and how to dry, freeze, and pickle wild leeks. Each participant will take home one half pint jar of pickled leeks. If you didn’t attend the walk, that’s okay! Anyone can attend the workshop. Pre-registration required. To register call Yvonne at (231) 622-5252 or email yvonne@artmeetsearth.org

Spring-Time Wild Edibles

Spring-time Wild Edibles 
Date and Time: Saturday, May 12th, 12pm 
Location: Wagbo Cost: FREE 


 Come out to our monthly potluck program for an evening of good food, fun company, and interesting presentations. The potluck starts at 12 pm. Bring a dish to pass if you can; but it's not required, so don't feel obligated! Wagbo provides drinks and table service. The program begins at 1 pm with a hike on the Wagbo property to locate wild edibles! Learn to identify, harvest, and prepare springtime fare. We will also provide recipes to turn your harvest to a tasty dish! Free and open to the public.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

April Potluck: Woodcock Walk


Woodcock Walk
Saturday, April 14th, 7pm 

Come out to our monthly potluck program for an evening of good food, fun company, and interesting presentations. The potluck starts at 7 pm. Bring a dish to pass if you can; but it's not required, so don't feel obligated! Wagbo provides drinks and table service.

The program begins at 8 pm with an evening viewing the spectacularly dramatic courtship display of the woodcock. Find out why they are nicknamed “the Little Brown Ghost” as we sneak through forest and field to experience our local harbingers of spring. Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to encounter the wild animals that live in the Jordan River Valley. Great for individuals, couples, and families! Free and open to the public.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Maple Sugaring Open House

Maple Sugaring Open House
Saturday, March 31st, 10am to 3pm
Donations Suggested


Come out to the Martha Wagbo Farm and Education Center for a fascinating glimpse into our maple sugaring operation! Browse our maple-themed bake sale, take a naturalist-led hike out to the sugar bush, and receive a tour of our sugar shack. Bring your kids out to meet our friendly farm animals and enjoy syrup-inspired games. We will be serving samples of maple syrup over ice cream. There will be a drawing for three syrup-themed door prizes. Local musicians Dwain Martin, Gordon Howie, and Robin Luce will play music from 11am to 2pm. Hope to see you there!



Sugaring Season Begins at Wagbo


East Jordan—Rising temperatures and melting snow signal the beginning of the maple sugaring season in Northern Michigan. The Friends of the Wagbo Sugarbush (FWSB), an all-volunteer group organized by the Martha Wagbo Farm and Education Center, have been preparing all winter for this moment.

The recent warming trend means that sap will soon gush from the trees, and FWSB volunteers will spend long hours boiling it down into maple syrup. Approximately 600 taps were placed this year, and with an average annual yield of one quart of syrup per tap, the FWSB hopes to produce around 150 gallons of syrup. However, in order to produce one gallon of syrup about 40 gallons of water must be boiled off. Which means there’s a lot of work to be done in the “sugar shack”- the small building that houses the evaporator in which syrup is produced.

Further complicating matters is the fact that mild winters often result in a lower sugar content in the sap, which means more boiling and more work to produce the same amount of syrup. In addition, the rapidly rising temperatures may cause the trees to bud, effectively ending the sap run and sugaring season.

However, the FWSB crew remains optimistic that they will have a good time despite weather-related challenges. “We have a new evaporator this year. It’s smaller and more efficient. There’s more work space, more room for tours- it’s much more user-friendly.” said Carl Eklund.

“It’s very enjoyable being here. Hard work- but very enjoyable. The camaraderie is second to none. The guys and gals involved in this operation are great.” said Paul Michael. Other volunteers echo the same sentiment, saying it’s not just about the syrup produced, but about the camaraderie and friendship. Still, syrup production is the ultimate goal, and FWSB volunteers enjoy the fact that their hard work earns them a share of maple syrup.

“Some people devote long hours to the operation and go home with way more syrup than they can use in a year! Other people just stop by to watch how it all works.” Maria Wesserle, Wagbo Program Coordinator said.  “This is a great place for the community to learn about the sugaring process. The sugar shack is usually open for tours, and at the end of March we’re holding an open house.”

The open house will take place on Saturday, March 31st from 10am to 3pm and will feature live music, sugar shack tours and syrup tastings, a maple syrup-themed bake sale, and a drawing for maple syrup gift baskets.

If you are interested in working with the Friends of the Wagbo Sugarbush or would like more information on the open house, please call Wagbo at 231-536-0333 or email info@wagbo.org.

Monday, February 13, 2012

March Potluck: Maple Tree Tapping


Maple Tree Tapping
Saturday, March 3rd, 12pm 

Join the Martha Wagbo Farm and Education Center for an afternoon of good food, fun company, and inspired programming. Potluck starts at 12 pm. Join us with a dish to pass or without. Wagbo provides drinks and table service.

The program begins at 1 pm with an excursion to the Wagbo Sugarbush to tap maples with the Friends of the Wagbo Sugarbush (FWSB)! Our sugarbush is a half-mile hike from the farmhouse, so come prepared for the trip. Bring snowshoes or skis if you have them (and if there's snow on the ground!) and dress for the weather. And remember, the time you spend working for FWSB earns you sweet syrup in exchange! No experience necessary. Bring a cordless drill and 5/16" bit if you have one.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Friends of the Wagbo Orchard

The Friends of the Wagbo Orchard needs your input!


The Friends of the Wagbo Orchard (FWO) will be an all-volunteer group that manages the Wagbo apple and pear orchard. The FWO's goals, policies, and agendas are currently under development; but in general we would like it to look like the Friends of the Wagbo Sugarbush model, in which volunteers receive a share of fruit in return for their work. If you are interested in working with the FWO or would like to guide its development, please send an email to info@wagbo.org

Thank you!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Felting Free-for-all!


Felting Free-for-all!

2010 kip vilten jannetje in actieDate and Time: Saturday, February 11th, 12pm
Location: Wagbo
Cost: FREE

Come out to the Martha Wagbo Farm and Education Center for our monthly potluck program! Lunch begins at 12pm with a potluck in the farmhouse. Bring a dish to pass if you can, but it's not required. Wagbo provides drinks and table service.

The program begins at 1pm with a wool felting workshop. Fiber artists Diane Strezlinski, Jennifer Lewis, and Maria Wesserle will be on hand to teach needle felting and wet felting techniques. Learn to applique designs onto clothing, make three-dimensional objects, and create sheets of felt fabric. If you've never felted before you will be amazed at how simple the process is! Bring a sweater, scarf, or other woolen material if you would like to embellish it. Recommended ages 8 and up.