Our Blog : Posts by Dave

Welcome to the Medomak Camp blog, a place for us to share with you, our campers, all sorts of goodies that you might be interested in.  From food and living off the land , to what Medomak looks like in the off-season and a behind the scenes look at our winter office, check back often for all new posts.

My 2013 resolution: even more singing!

February 27, 2013

When I left Medomak in August of 2012, after having an opportunity to sing and play at the campfire nearly every night for the entire summer, I frequently found myself hearing a song and thinking “Oh man! I should have done that one.” Luckily, 2013 is another year and I’ve officially signed on again to return to Medomak this summer as archery and music counselor. So, campers, this is my promise to you: there will be even more music this year! I’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of a few favorites from the past summer, and a few more that I’d love to do this time around. And, of course, I can’t wait to hear new suggestions and take part in some awesome collaborations with campers. Anyway, here’s what I came up with.

Some 2012 hits:

1.) The Princess Pat (who could forget Heidi’s or Dave’s equally timeless renditions of this one?)
2.) My Girl – The Temptations
3.) Yellow Submarine – The Beatles
4.) Country Roads – John Denver
5.) I’m a Believer – The Monkees

and a few new ones for this coming year:

1. 1.) Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen
2. 2.) It Ain’t Me Babe – Bob Dylan
3. 3.) Leavin’ on a Jet Plane – Peter, Paul and Mary
4. 4.) Daydream Believer – The Monkees
5. 5.) Only Living Boy in New York – Simon and Garfunkel

So…What do YOU want to hear this summer?
Rick
Counselor

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Posted by: Dave
Topics: Activities, Camp in the off season

Stick a fork in 2012! Time to sign up for 2013!

September 21, 2012

Summer 2012 is a wrap. Done. Finished. And fantastic!

The families all had a great time, the staff were fun, and the weather was amazing. This is 16 summers of Family Camp for me and it ranked right up there with one of the best ever. Personal highlights were zeroing in on the brown trout (and eating them), teaching disc golf and eating Keira’s amazing chicken.

But now, on to summer 2013. Registrations start October 1st and planning is already underway. Lots of good things coming our way this next summer. Stay tuned!

Dave
Director

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Posted by: Dave
Topics: Camp in the off season, Family

Fun at this year’s Fiber Arts Retreat

August 8, 2012

When by chance I read a Rav post about a Fiber Arts Retreat at Medomak, Maine, I checked their website and said, ” this is too good to be true”…
For those who have shared in fiber heaven this week, you know that there are not enough superlatives to describe the experience…

Although there are scheduled classes and events, you are free to participate as much or as little as you choose…there is a constant camaraderie of fellow fiber enthusiasts gathering in casual groups to spin, weave, knit, crochet, felt, and dye…if you need down time or rejuvenation space, sit under a tree and read, snooze in the hammock, or head to the lakefront…

The teachers are all eager to share their knowledge in a low-keyed casual environment…suggestions and experiences are shared as ideas fly freely…

Ably organized by Casey, the staff and instructors are incredibly tuned into attendees needs and anticipate special circumstances…laughter and humor abound…

Words fail to describe the incredible food…produce picked from the Camp garden could not be any fresher…cheeses and yogurt made on site from the Camp cows…meals with unbelievable fresh herbs and astounding parings of flavors…

As this session closes, I am already planning on returning next year to be engulfed in fiber heaven on earth…

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Posted by: Dave
Topics: Uncategorized

A letter from a returning camper

January 18, 2012

Hi Dave!!

I can’t put in words how happy I am that we’re coming back! We took last year ‘off’ to try to save a little money and rented a condo in Vermont. BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER. lol. We we there about 20 minutes, trying to unpack, get the lay of the land, and Nick starts with “I’m bored”. And I wanted to say ‘Go up to the barn and find someone to play with” And I couldn’t!! We joked with them the whole rest of the week ‘just go to the barn’. And boy did I miss having a dinner bell ring and just coming to the table. :)

On the way home started talking about saving for family camp in 2012!!

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Posted by: Dave
Topics: Family, Guests

Cheesemaking and “Flocculation” and spinning bowls.

December 28, 2011

For someone who really likes food, but doesn’t easily understand the science of making food, cheese making can be kind of frustrating.  The reason for this is that if you ever want to get a consistent product from one batch to another, there are certain principles you have to master or at least understand.

Cheese is essentially a series of chemical processes applied to milk.  The first step involves “culturing” the milk, or adding bacteria so you can develop acid (lactic acid is a by-product of the bacteria eating the milk sugars) and therefore flavor.  The next step is “curd formation”, which is what I’ll be talking about here.  And then there’s “forming the wheel”, followed by “aging”.  Oh yeah, then there’s “eating.”

Curd formation involves a chemical process called flocculation.  Never heard of it?  Neither has spell-check.   Also it is fun to say out loud.  Go ahead and do it…See?  I told you.  Anyhow, flocculation is the process where colloids (in this case butterfat) come out of suspension (in this case suspended in water) and form a floc (in this case a cheese curd).  Here’s what’s happening:  Milk is basically butterfat and protein suspended in water.  When you add rennet, it causes a reaction where the fats gel together and trap the moisture.  The milk becomes the consistency of Jello.  The progression from adding the rennet to achieving the jello-like consistency is flocculation.

So why is this important?  The amount of liquid trapped in the jello-like curd is a major factor in the final moisture content of the final cheese.  Think Parmigiano-Reggiano vs. Brie.  The longer you let the curd form, the more moisture is trapped in the curd.  Okay, sounds straightforward enough.  Here’s the problem…you can make the same cheese one day and the time it takes to achieve a specific curd consistency can be different on the next day.  And there is a scientific reason for that, but I don’t understand it…I just understand the timing varies and that variation matters a whole lot.  So following a recipe that says “let the curd form for 30 minutes” won’t give you a consistent product from batch to batch and that is super annoying.

BUT, there is a trick amongst cheese makers to achieve flocculation consistency and it is also fun to do.  It is called the “spinning bowl” method.

It is very simple.  Once you add the rennet, you start a stop watch, then float a light weight bowl on the surface of the milk and start to spin it.  Since the milk is still in liquid form, the bowl will spin.  At some point, the bowl will stop spinning because the curd has started to form and become Jello-like.  Once that happens, you note the time on your stop watch and multiply that time using a factor specific to that type of cheese.  Hard cheeses like Swiss have a low floc multiplier…like 2.5.  A soft and moist cheese has a high floc multiplier like 6 or 6.5.  So for instance if you were making a brie…let’s say the time it took for the bowl to stop  spinning was 9 minutes and 30 seconds.  Using a flocculation multiplier of 6, you would have a total flocculation time of 57 minutes.  If you made brie the next day and it took 13 minutes  for the bowl to stop spinning, using the same multiplier would give you a total flocculation time of 1 hour and 18 minutes.  However, the final moisture content will be roughly the same.  Whereas if you had simply used a recipe that told you to wait 50 minutes, you would have a very different cheese.  Voila!  Food science.  It’s confusing, but when you spend an entire day making a cheese and then spend the next six months carefully aging that cheese, aiming for consistency is worth it.  For me it is the difference between having people say, “that’s delicious” vs. them politely spitting out the cheese when I’m not looking.  And a positive reaction is really why I make this stuff anyway.  Truth be told, I don’t really love cheese.  I love making it, but eating it?  Did I mention I’m lactose intolerant?  Seriously, I am.

Okay, the whole point of this post is below.  I made two quick videos of the spinning bowl method so you could see what it looks like

floc1

floc2

desired flocculation is achieved, bowl is removed and you can see the Jello-like consistency

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by: Dave
Topics: Camp in the off season, Food

Last Camembert of the batch

December 26, 2011

We’ve upped our cheese-making game at family camp this winter.  Mold-ripened cheeses are the most finicky to make as they require high humidity and low temperatures, but we seem to have figured out the basics.  This little beauty ripened for almost three months and although it was starting to dry on the edges, the flavor was really good (like tangy butter) and the interior (the paste) was soft, supple and creamy.  This isn’t going to be an easy one to do at camp because of the aging conditions it requires, but George and I just might be able to figure out a way to add this one to our Monday night cheese tasting.

 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2011

This year, I’m thankful for great weather and good health to enjoy that weather.  Also Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.

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Posted by: Dave
Topics: Food

Medomak Retreat Ceneter

Participate in adult art and science retreats (or let us host yours) at our beautiful, peaceful and accommodating retreat facility just down the road.
Learn more >> retreats@medomakcamp.com
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Medomak Camp is the first full-season secular family camp to be accredited by the American Camping Association

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