After the very cold mornings we are having at Castlecrag, comes a period of warmth and sunshine in the middle of the day – a time to treasure and bask in it, just a little, to warm up. In this time between MidWinter and Early Spring, both bulbs and spring blossoms flower. Amongst the daffodils and jonquils, there may not be much jasmine blossoming yet, but the sweet scent is already in the air! As we cannot have parents on campus so much at the moment – we thought it would be nice to bring a little of the campus to you! It is beautiful and blooming!



At the beginning of each gardening class for Classes 1 & 2, Sandra Frain offers the children a cup of warming tea that is made from various herbs freshly picked from the gardens at Castlecrag campus. Leaves of thyme, sage, oregano, four types of mint, lavender and lemongrass make a delicious brew with hot water added to a large teapot. Herbs can help refresh, stimulate, soothe, protect and cleanse the human body. The children have planted, watered and harvested these herbs. They can all show you where these herbs grow and how you too can ‘brew your own tea’. Sandra also helps the Kindy children choose their herbs for fresh herbal tea. Ahh… now we are ready to garden!

From the Glenaeon Newsletter June 25 2020. Full newsletter can be accessed here:





The air is full of yeasts/bacteria. Flour is food to these yeasts. Liquid is necessary for “chemistry to happen”. You are capturing the yeasts in your own environment and you are feeding them flour and water which results in rapid multiplication. You will use some “Starter “ each time you make your bread and you will replenish the “starter” by adding a little flour and water to your jar. The jar is stored in the fridge where the activity is slowed down to a “sleeping” state. When you expose this starter to warmth (room temperature) and add food (flour) and fluid, it will get active and you will have a batter from which to fry pancakes or a baked “wet loaf” (no kneading) or a kneaded loaf of bread.

Starter Materials:

A jar, flour, filtered water

Day 1: mix 3 heaping dessert- spoons each of flour and water.  Stir and see bubbles emerge on top. Let Stand for 9 hours.

Day 2: Add another 3 heaping dessert- spoons of flour and water. Stir and let stand for another 9 hours.

Day 3: Starter is ready to use. If not using immediately, Add another 3 heaping dessert- spoons of flour and water. Stir and cap and store in fridge.


Batter making:

Put a blop (1/4 cup) of the starter into a big bowl. (Stir about 3 heaping dessert- spoons of flour and some water into the starter jar and pop it back in the fridge.)

Add 3 cups each of flour and filtered water (or leftover tea, juice, milk, whey, yogurt) to your big bowl. Cover the batter bowl with a tea towel or bees wax wrap and put it out of the way for about 9 hours. When you see that your batter has grown and is bubbly (active to sight and smell) then it is ready for the next stage. If you need more time before working with it, pop it in the fridge to arrest growth.

(If it gets too sour smelling, add some flour and a wee bit of sweet mashed banana or honey or shredded apple . It is not unusable. It just needs an adjustment. That’s why I call it ‘forgiving’ sourdough. )

If Desired Add:

A splash or 1 dessert spoons of oil (sunflower, coconut, olive, macadamia, butter)

1 dessert spoons of : honey, molasses or maple syrup, jam etc.

A teaspoon of sea salt.

1 tablespoons of Lemon or other juice, whey, vinegar, yogurt, etc.

Any extras such as a sprinkle of dried or fresh herbs, fruits, grated carrots, left over cooked rice/porridge, nuts, seeds, rose petals etc. Have fun!!



Pour a splash of oil in iron pan and allow to heat. Put a spoon of batter in the pan ( for each pancake) and allow to cook until there are lots of air holes indicating that it is cooking through. Flip and cook for 5 more minutes. No toppings are needed but avocado or maple syrup are lovely embellishments.

Wet Loaf Method:

Add 3 cups of flour to the batter.  (Any grains: ie. wheat, kamut, spelt, rice, millet, corn, barley, oats.) When you have stirred up a nice thick batter, then pour it in to a greased bread tin. Leave a 1/4 of your pan for bread rising room. Let it sit for a 2 hour rise. If you are going to let it rise longer then put it in the fridge to continue.  When you are ready to bake,  put the loaf pan into a cold oven on the lower rack. 180c for 90 minutes.

(If you have left over batter can use immediately for pancakes  or it can be used as starter for another time and store it in the fridge.)                         

Kneaded Method:

Add 6 cups of flour to the batter and stir. Sprinkle flour on counter and knead dough until you have a loaf shape. Put your good caring into your bread as you knead. You are making your bread digestible. You are doing the work with your hands that will help your gut when it digests the bread. When the dough is as soft as your ear lobe it is ready.

Put your loaf in a greased or floured pan, leaving a 1/4 of the pan for bread rising. Put loaf in the oven on the lower rack. (180c for 60 minutes)


You can bake right away or you can wait 2 hours.  If you are waiting longer than 2 hours then keep rising in the fridge. If the dough is looking explosive/abundant then bake immediately or put it in the fridge to arrest. If you wait too long the rise will fall and you need to knead it again with more flour. When baked: Let sit in pan for 10 minutes so it contracts/solidifies. OR run a knife around the bread and bop on the bottom of the pan till it falls onto your bread- board. Let it cool 30 min (at least) before slicing.



Extract from Glenaeon Newsletter May 28, 2020. Full Newsletter can be viewed here:


“Class 2 enthusiastically helped to collect wheelbarrow-loads of natural matter from around the campus to the compost, taking turns to move the big loads in teams. Once there, it is unloaded and tipped onto the compost and celebrated with a good jump by the children on it’s springy top! The children have learned so much about the importance of recycling as much natural material as we can on campus, including plants, food scraps and paper. At Castlecrag we have a very small carbon footprint, as all of our recycling and reusing that the children are involved in make a huge difference. Gardening Teacher Sandra Frain was glad to have her larger troupe of helpers back on campus!”



At Middle Cove the garden is missing its young gardeners immensely.

The “school class” that is, students still attending the campus each day, come down to the garden every morning and keep a watchful eye on the vegetables and flowers that are growing, measuring our pumpkins, watching our bees visit their favourite flowers and plant seeds for our winter harvest.  The older students have been coming down to the garden again later in the day and getting to work.  They have been helping to tend the garden beds, harvesting late summer crops, erecting protective barriers to deter our wildlife visitors and enjoying the beauty of autumn in the garden.  We are also doing some preparation in the garden to make way for the new outdoor garden classroom. The banana trees have had to be relocated for the short term.  The children have been a great help in keeping our garden well loved and cared for.  For those missing the garden, here is a video of Sandra Frain taking care of the flowers and vegetables.