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New Garden Art Show at the Belfast Co-op




The month of March is the THMS art show at the Belfast Co-op.  We have been doing this for at least 8 years and it is always fun to see what new ideas the kids come up with in Mrs. Sproch’s class.  The title this year is “You say tomato, I say tomato”.  Tomatoes in clay, acrylic, pencil, block cut and charcoal are displayed.  We also set up a full size farmer with a clay head and a basket of flowing tomatoes.

Jeremy Alex fund donates to potato project

The Jeremy Alex fund has donated money  to grow potatoes to be made into fresh French fries.  The fries will be cut and stored at the new Coastal Farms facility set up to process and store fruits and vegetables for local farmers.  We plan on highlighting the facility so more farmers will become involved and we can serve local, organic fries to the kids at the middle school.  Go to http://www.coastalfarmsandfoods.com/ to find out more!

Wild weather hits twice!

Two winter weather events have shaped the fortune of the garden project in  recent weeks.  The first was a rain and high wind event (70 MPH gusts) which resulted in the loss of one large lexan panel.  I was in Dominica visiting my daughter so the rest of the team worked into the night to close up the hole.  Upon my return the kids and I put greenhouse plastic film over the area so it will be watertight until repairs can be done in calmer weather.  The second was a large snow storm which dumped almost 30 inches of snow.  We will be spending the next few days shoveling the south side of the greenhouses so the sun can reach all the beds.  Farming in the winter can also be challenging!

On a side note I will be in touch with the greenhouse manufacturer Harnois about the susceptibility of their greenhouses to high winds.  This is the third time we have lost lexan in 10 years even though we have ropes over the greenhouse.  The pressure of the lifting panels actually snapped the ropes.  One panel of lexan 72 inches by 24 feet delivered to the school is over $700.  Please research thoroughly before building school greenhouses.


THMS (in the form of THMS) raised beds almost complete

The final design for the THMS raised beds was completed in early December and we had super weather to build and fill the beds by Christmas vacation.  Today was the last day of school and we weathered rain and wind to fill each bed with some soil and we will have plans for planting ready for our spring.  Below is a picture taken from the second floor.


Banner cantaloupe year

The cantaloupes at the middle school were previously grown in the hoophouses and did well but this year we grew them in the garden (starting from seed) with only row covers until the plants were large enough to take off the cover.  The summer was not unusually warm but the melons really took off and we were able to harvest many large, sweet melons.  The best variety was Hannah’s Choice from FEDCO seeds.  We may try to transplant seedlings started in  the greenhouse next year and compare with seed grown directly in the garden.  A testament to their sweetness (the melons) is exemplified by the smiling faces below.

Troy Howard’s GREAT GROWING… Garden


At the Common Ground Fair T.H.M.S got 74 ribbons. There are a lot of blue first place ribbons. There are some red and yellow but not much. Here at Troy Howard we are very proud of our growth in our 380 ft long garden. We had this one pumpkin that weighed 48.1 pounds that grew in our garden that also got a 1st place ribbon like our carrots. We also had some of our beans and potatoes. We compost our leftover food from our lunch and we also recycle our paper for our compost/ soil. Our soil helps our crops to grow huge and fresh with no bad chemicals. We got 1st place for our potatoes, beans, squash and other plants like flowers, rosemary, cowboy and pinto beans. We use worms and other helpful little bugs/ insects to help keep our soil fresh and healthy and good for the environment.

This year Troy Howard was very successful at the Common Ground Fair. We have two rabbits, one chicken and over one hundred students to add compost and soil. Our school garden is 380 feet long. We had huge corn stocks in the garden before we cut them down. We also had a really big tomato. We had A GOOD year for growing this year. We also sell our crops that we grow so if you are looking for some freshly grown fruits/ vegetables stop by in your spare time sometime next year and take a look at our produce. Stop by also to see all our ribbons from every year we go to Common Ground Fair!! Hope to see you soon.










My Blog

On Friday, September 21, 2012 the Ecology team went on a field trip to the Common Ground Fair. It was a warm sunny day. In my group was Mr. Lovejoy, Austin M, Matt H, and of course me. One of the many cool things at the common ground fair was a composting toilet. You use the toilet, flush it then it goes into a bucket .Once the waste is composted you take it and throw it in a garden. A big reason I think we go to the Common Ground Fair is it’s fun ,and our school grows vegetables and takes them to the fair. We won first prize multiple times. I liked the animals also. There were bunny rabbits, horses, cows, bulls, donkeys and bees. The sheep dogs were awesome; there were five dogs. They must have lots of training to listen so well and know where to herd the sheep. I’ve been learning stuff for fourteen years and I still don’t follow directions well. At the common ground fair the food is the best. I like the fries but the only downfall is I’m always broke and the food is really expensive.

Crazy Cows

There were so many cows at the Common Ground Fair. There were adults, babies,and milking cows. There was this little cow that looked like it could fit in a box and it looked like it was fluffy. You’re not suppose to touch the cows because your fingers look like carrots. There was a few cows that were so huge they looked liked a boulder. There were even cows that were brown. If you like cows you should check out the animal section at the Common ground fair.

The Experience At The Common Ground Fair

On Sep 21, our class went to the Common Ground Fair. One of the most interesting demonstrations I saw was the blacksmith.

The experience of watching a blacksmith at work was astonishing. How he can bend the metal to form what he is creating?. The blacksmith made a hook for a little kid around ten years old. Watching him make it was great because the machine that was there was so the air would go under the fire to make it keep going, so you don’t have to keep lighting it every time it went out.

Another interesting demonstration was the energy-efficient cars. It had an electric pump with a solar panel to charge it so you don’t have to keep plugging the car in.The car also had a gas tank just in case you run out of power.The only down side of the car is that it costs a lot of money that most people do not have.

The experience of the fair is great for the young mind to teach them to compost their food also to teach them to be more efficient.

Delicious Foods by Tyler N.

On Friday September 21 I went to the common ground fair. There was so many things to see. My favorite part was the food. I had fries, fried dough, and ice cream. The fries were made from Maine grown potato. The fries were greasy but they were good when you put ketchup on them. The fried dough good but greasy and hot. They had real maple syrup to put on the dough. I also had ice cream. The ice cream was made from all natural dairy products. The type of ice cream I had was wild Maine blueberry. The blueberries were grown in Maine. They had all kinds of foods and drinks. The common ground fair has some good foods.

The Amazing Sheep Dogs


Here at the Troy A. Howard Middle school we don’t have sheep or dogs. All we have are Chickens and Bait fish. I leaned from the Common Ground Fair that you need to be patient with the sheep dogs because some of the dogs might be still learning how to herd or to be a good dog too! When you try to teach them stuff don’t yell at them, just keep trying it with them and have treats ready. Then if then do it right give them a treat. When teaching the dog keep the better taught dog out and they will show them how to do it.

Bunnies,Birds And Ribbons….. Oh My!

Finally we were on the bus. We had been waiting to leave for what felt like forever.

You see my school (Troy Howard Middle School) has an Ecology academy(meaning

our focus is the school garden). We were going to the Common Ground Fair as an

academy to enter some of our vegetables for ribbons. I had been to the Common Ground Fair before with my dad in 2011.The drive seemed long enough then of

course we got stuck in traffic. A huge line of cars that seemed to go on for a million

miles. I was excited every time we moved forward just a little. We were in traffic for about 25 minutes. That’s when I saw the sign . The sign said The Common Ground

Fair. The sign made me even more anxious to be there. We pulled up into the parking lot (along with about 200 other buses) and finally found a parking spot and parked.

We then all got out of the bus and formed into our groups. My group was Mrs. Smiths’

group. We then set of into the fair. When we entered the entry to the fair the first thing I

saw was a ton of little shops. Mrs.Smith said “We will shop later first let’s go see the

animals”. So we walked on. We then saw a big fenced in area with two men and five

sheep dogs (border collies) inside. My group decided that this looked interesting.We watched one man instruct the dogs to do tricks like catch a frisbee in their mouth and

herd sheep and ducks into pens. The dogs were so well-behaved. When the man called a command the dog was right there following orders.After visiting the sheep dogs we went to the poultry barn. I was in there for two seconds and my ears were bleeding.

The birds were so LOUD. The roosters were the loudest but the geese were a very

close second. Although it was very loud I did fall in love with some baby quails. Their

little chirps and peeps were so adorable. After leaving the loud I mean poultry barn

we went to the bunny barn. I was in fluffy heaven. I walked down the aisles of bunnies.

I loved a fluffy fat brown bunny. I named him Chubby. I stared at Chubby for a long while. He was just so fat. What did they put in that rabbit’s food? Mrs.Smith told us

it was then time to go. I looked at fat little Chubby. I petted him on the head and said goodbye. When we were exiting the building I noticed a woman selling hats made from alpaca and black and white hat caught my eye . Instead of buying it I just walked on. My tummy growled I was hungry. I told my group and they all agreed they were hungry too.

So we walked down to a long strip of food stands . One of my friends and I decided to get some french fries to share and oh my gosh they were so yummy. We added some sea salt to them and they tasted even better. Me and my group also got doughboys and ice cream! Then after we ate we went searching for our schools vegetables and ribbons.We looked all around the fair …no luck. We were lost and we were running out of time at the fair. Mrs.Smith told us not to freak out. But to tell you the truth in my head I was freaking out. How were we going to find our vegetables and ribbons now? We kept on looking.That is when we saw another teacher from our school. We asked her where our vegetables and ribbons were. She told us right where they were . We walked up to the weird shaped brown building she told us they were in.The whole building was filled with people,ribbons and vegetables.We looked for the vegetables with a twenty on it (standing for RSU 20).We looked around and every once in a while you would hear “found one’’! In the end we had 30 blue ribbons ,30 red ribbons and 20 yellow ribbons.

Wow that’s a lot of ribbons !!!!!!! We did really well this year. We left the building after about 10 to 15 minutes and went to a couple of shops. My friends bought things here and there. That is when I remembered the hat . I went and told Mrs.Smith about the hat and she said we could head over to buy it. When we got there I ran over put the hat on my head and ran over and paid for it. Then the hat belonged to me. A minute or two later Mrs Smith said it was time to head back to the bus. I was sad . I wanted to stay longer. But I really did not want the bus to leave without me. So i just followed my group back to the bus. When we got on the bus I looked at my friend and told her all about my great day at The Common Ground Fair.


Common Ground Fair Livestock

By: Jackie


The students on the Ecology team at Troy Howard Middle School went to the Common Ground Fair for the day. At the fair there was many animals such as rabbits, ducks, sheep, horses, cows, chickens, and alpacas. The animals are used for different things such as; the sheep and alpacas are used for wool, the cows and chickens are used for food, cows are also used for manure, and horses are used for traveling (but horses aren’t really used for traveling anymore).

Some venders where selling things they made with sheep and alpaca wool. The venders made neat things with the wool like scarves and hats.

Personally I don’t like the way fairs treat their livestock. The poor animals are pinned up in pens and getting poked and teased by people for most of the day. While at the fair I saw a girl hang off the neck a horse and pulling on his mane and the animals have to put up with that all day. I would be happier viewing the live stock from far away with them in a large pen where they can roam. That way they would happier and so would I.




Sheep at the Common Ground Fair.

Exploring at the Common Ground Fair!!! by:Will

As I hop off the bus my legs hurt(because I’ve been on the bus for over an hour of traffic) I feel so excited. I smell the fried dough and want to get started on my adventure, but I first had to find my group. When I found my group we realized it was only half of us so we spent the first 45 minutes looking for the fest of the group. After we walked for about 10 minutes, we stopped into a seed stand and left with almost $50 worth of seeds, then we got hungry. We ate french fries, fried dough, and had delicious smoothies you could die for. After we ate we all sat on a bench and had a rest. When we got going again we walked around, bought some stuff, and then we went to see the food we planted in our school garden which was entered in a competition. The results? We got 30 1st places, 30 2nd places, and 20 3rd places. We walked around a little more we saw chickens, bunnies, and even saw a sheep dog show. But then before I knew it, it was time to go back. On our way back to the bus I remembered my day as it flashed before my eyes. I take one last whiff of the smell of fried dough in the air as we board the bus and head out the driveway of the Common Ground Fair.


On September 21st our school, Troy Howard went to the
common ground fair! We drove and drove then we were
stuck in traffic for a while, then finally we got to go in. When
we got there we all got in a big group and walked in. I ended
up pushing my friend in a wheelchair the whole time but I
was ok with it. We went into smaller groups and split up,
went to the little kids place first we all wanted our faces
painted and while we were waiting we jumped in the hay
pile. Then we went over to the food. I got french fries that
seemed to taste the same but they didn’t have much salt.
They were better that way. My friend got this cooked
vegetable thing and it looked gross but she said it was good,
so I just said ok and went with it. We all met up at the
common and ate. Some people went and got ice cream and
some went and got smoothies. I tasted my friends smoothie.
It was the best thing I have ever tasted I loved it.  Then I
went to go get one for myself! We went over to the animals,
that was my favorite part. We walked a little bit further and
saw some goats they jumped up on the rail cause ,they
wanted to see if we had food. We walked into a brown barn
to see the bunnies they looked so cute. My friend wanted to
buy one but we weren’t allowed to bring them back on the
bus, so she took pictures instead. There was this one that
had something like a lions main it was so fluffy. By that time
we had to fill out a paper. We had to find a farmer and ask
them if they use older materials or newer. We waited
toward the gate so we could go out with some of the other
people from our school. I bought all of my friends fireman
hats while we were waiting. We all got on the bus and came
back to school, this was probably the best thing ever! I had a
blast and can’t wait till next year it will probably be even
better than this year!


–>By: Emily

HEY! If you are at the Common Ground Fair and have a spare moment or you are looking for something to do, you should go on over to the chicken barn and check out all the birds. There are big turkeys to little quails. If you want you could even buy a chicken! There are also some cool eggs you could look at that would make a yummy omelet. And sometimes there are even cute peeping chicks! When you’re in the chicken barn you may here a loud squawking noise which would most likely be a guinea hen. They might not look the cutest but they’re great for eating ticks and for alarming you when a predator is trying to eat them or your chickens. And my opinion is that the chicken barn is one of the best at the fair! So if you have a spare moment when you’re not busy looking at crafts or eating yummy fair food, you should stop by the chicken barn and check out all the cool birds!

The Animals of the Farm

by Zoe


On September 21st, the Ecology Academy at THMS went to the Common Ground Fair. When we went to the Common Ground Fair, there was lots to see, but what I was really into seeing was the livestock. I really like animals, especially mammals and birds, so I checked out the cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, ducks, guinea hens, and the turkeys. There were many stalls with large and small cows that ate hay, many different goats that were grouped together, and sheep that were either woolly or shaved. There was a barn with many rows of cages full of rabbits and guinea pigs that were many different colors and sizes. Another barn was full of birds, which were the many different breeds of chickens, striped and speckled guinea hens, ducks that were sitting in their cages, and large cages with even larger turkeys inside them. There were a lot of animals at the Common Ground Fair, and I am really glad that I was able to see all of them!

Organic Foods at The Common Ground Fair


The Common Ground Fair has a lot of stuff, from animals, to Maine-Grown organic foods, to a kid-zone with face-painting, and many more activities for them, to live-stock, and many others.

The Troy Howard Middle School students of Ecology went to the Common Ground Fair on September 21st, 2012. Most of the food at the Common Ground Fair, is organic. Well, at least they try to make their food as organic as they can, and when possible. The Common Ground Fair organization people are on their 34th year of serving Maine-Grown and organic food. Over 90 percent of the food is grown, raised and processed in Maine.

Some people prefer organic food while others don’t…like me. Some of the foods and drinks that are at the fair are: apple cider, lemonade, french fries, wood fired pizza, fried dough, and maple products such as maple syrup and maple candies.

I think that the Troy Howard Middle School students had a really good time going to the fair and seeing all of the Maine-Grown organic products.









The Candy Thief

So we went to the Common Ground Fair the other week and it was super fun! We got our faces face-painted. We looked at the bunny and poultry barns. Also we looked at sheep, lamas, horses, mules, and ate lunch.

But it really got exciting when we went to watch the cow pulls. I asked all kinds of questions that I could think of about the cows and also I patted them. At the time I had a maple sugar candy in my hand and while I was patting one cow another cow came up behind me and do you know what he did? He ate my candy right out of my hand!(The cows’ name was Diamond). After that he licked his lips and snorted at me as if to say, “Thanks for the candy, sucker. Ha Ha Ha”.

Everybody thought it was so funny (except for me) and then the cow came up behind me and started licking me and that’s when I started laughing! After that the Day settled down, and we went back to school. But I will never forget the day to the fair and a cow stole my candy!

By Annie W

Fair Fast Food By Sadee


 The food at the Common Ground Fair is just about all organic, from the apple cider to the pizza. There is a wide variety of food there, so you won’t have to worry about being a picky eater. My favorite out of all the food there would have to be a type of candy made purely from maple syrup, I call it maple candy. Though the most popular foods there were the french fries and ice cream, but I’d say pizza is a close third. The food is also all Maine grown, so the food is grown and made in Maine. People who grow the vegetables for this food try to make them as natural as possible, feeding the plants fertilizer that doesn’t have any chemicals in it. The lines at the fair were pretty long, so the food had to have been good. Some food was unique and strange, like pie cones, ice cream cones with pie filling and whipped cream.

Prize Produce!

By: Victoria


At the Common Ground Fair food display competition we had a lot of types of produce that won ribbons. At the end of the day we went home with 30 blue, ribbons 30 red ribbons, and 20 yellow ribbons, with a total of 80 ribbons! We put a variety of produce in the contest, garlic, onions, pumpkins, squash, beans, watermelon, carrots, and lots of different kinds of tomato that won many different prizes! Although we won a lot of ribbons not all of our produce was favored by the judges, for example our onions I watched the judges judge our onions but they didn’t give us the best of scores. I think that all the other schools did a very good job too. Some schools had different produce than ours like Brussels sprouts. I think that the Common Ground Fair is a great experience for kids at our school and I look forward to hearing about future trips.



Our beans↑

Yum Yum!!!

Tyler S.

On my class trip to the Common Ground Fair I ate a lot! So I can tell you that there was some amazing tasting food! I had some chips that blew my mind. They were just that good! But the food there did cost a lot. The reason for that was because everything thing was all organic. Now your probably thinking “what is organic food?” Or, “ewww, organic food… gross”. I felt the same way at first. I thought the food was going to be gross but I was definitely wrong about that! The best part about it being organic is that it’s good for you. Organic food means there’s no processed food and no artificial flavoring. So it’s super good for you! I also had some pizza there and they made their own everything and it was amazing! I thought it tasted better than some of the pizzas I get at the store. I was greatly surprised! I didn’t try everything there but what I heard it was good. Now, I think one of the best parts was it was in such large portions. The chips I ordered came in a huge basket and it was over flowing; it was awesome! So if you are ever there I would try their food; you would be surprised how good it is!!!

THMS Garden Project Does Well At Common Ground Fair

Andrew C.


The day before the fist day of the common ground fair two students, Noah and Andrew and one teacher, Mr. Thurston went to the Common Ground Fair fairgrounds. The three did their best to find the best veggies, herbs, and flowers they could so the garden project could win ribbons and money. The money will go toward buying seeds. First place blue ribbons get three dollars, each second place red ribbons get one dollar, and each third place yellow ribbon get nothing. The veggies being judged were potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, beets, beans, pumpkins, carrots, Swiss chard, peppers, squash, lots of tomatoes, watermelon are just a few of the different types of veggies we brought to the Common Ground Fair. We also brought a rosemary and some flowers. We brought a total of 88 veggies this year. Despite the tough judging we got a total of 72 ribbons this year, 27 first place blue ribbons, 29 second place red ribbons, 16 third place yellow ribbons. How do you think we did picking out the veggies?

Rabbits at the Common Ground Fair By: Alia

This year the Ecology Academy at Troy A. Howard middle school took a
field trip to the Common Ground Fair. In the group that I was in we focused
mainly on the livestock. The animal that caught my attention the most was
probably the rabbits. There was a chart of all the different kinds of rabbits, how
much they weighed, and how much they cost. The rabbits were set in cages and
were right next to each other. The cages were fairly small so they didn’t have
much space to hop around. They were all super cute but I think my favorite kind
would have to be the lion heads because their long fluffy hair was super cute and
soft. I had an amazing experience at the Common Ground Fair and hope to go
there again soon!

OMG bunnies!!!!!!!!!!!

Bunnies are so cute, don’t you think so? I do. I saw so many bunnies @ the common ground fair. There were black bunnies, white bunnies, brown bunnies, big bunnies, little bunnies and fluffy bunnies. The cheapest bunny for sale was $35.00. The most expensive one was $80.00. Most of the bunnies were anywhere from $40.00 -$70.00. I would have bought a bunny but I didn’t have enough money to buy one. My favorite bunny was a really fluffy one that looked like a cow in terms of color. Most of the bunnies ate blue seal feed. You can use their waste for fertilizer.

Sheepdogs at Work by Evan K.

After I left the Common Ground Fair I couldn’t stop thinking about the sheepdog performance. There was a new dog this time, I forget the name, they were all extremely well-trained (Thanks to the owners). “But what do sheepdogs do?” you may ask, well I’ll tell you. Sheepdogs are dogs trained to guard or herd sheep, as the name suggests. Now to the fun part, the commands. These dogs know basic commands like sit and stay but they also know commands that normal dogs won’t know, for example slow left and slow right, forward and back and lay down. The owners tell their dogs the commands by simply saying it or sometimes they will use a whistle. The performance will keep you coming back and back as it does me. For anyone who has never been to the Common Ground Fair I highly suggest it and I hope anyone has been there feels the same as me.

The Amazing Animals at the Common Ground Fair by Sam

During the trip to the Common Ground Fair me and some other students from the Troy Howard Middle School saw many kinds of livestock. My personal favorite was the ducks. I liked the ducks but there were many more kinds of livestock like cows, bunnies, chickens, horses, goats, sheep, sheepdogs, and several more kinds of animals. The animals at the fair had many different things to do. The horses were helping with wagon rides around the fair while the cows were brought to the fair for the purpose of winning the farm who owned them many ribbons. The chickens and the ducks weren’t really doing anything special. The sheep and sheepdogs were doing what you might expect, the sheepdogs were corralling the sheep while the spectators watched in awe. The bunnies and goats were doing the same thing as the ducks and chickens while I think that the goats had several competitions for ribbons. This concludes what happened at the fair and also what kinds of animals were there and what the animals were

doing there.

Piggy Play Pals By Jacob P.

On Friday, September 21, my group & I went to the Common Ground Fair, the biggest carnival made just for plants & agriculture. The first thing we went to was the animal farm. We watched the sheep dogs herd the sheep and as we were leaving that exhibit, they were getting 6 goats onto a few hay bales. Then we watched a couple farmers milk a cow. Watching them milk the cow interesting, but it’s easier said than done. Milking a cow is kind of like you’re in art class and you’re trying to make a 2 upside-down cones out of clay on a spinning wheel; you want to grip the base, then slowly go from the bottom to top holding tighter and tighter until you reach the end.

Then, when we were done with that, we went to the small cage animals. We saw some geese, baby chicks, and some bunnies that looked so fluffy that you could use them as a pillow. Finally, when we reached the end of the hall, there was my favorite animal in the entire Common Ground Fair. Pigs. The person that was showing us the pigs went into the pen and picked up a small piglet about as big as my hand. It had little grey eyes and deep red, grey, and pink fur. Then, he put the piggy in each of our arms one by one and we got to individually hold a baby pig. When the piggy squealed loud enough that the momma pig ( she was SO big!!) got up and looked for the piglet, the man put him back in to get some milk from his momma.

This concluded my trip to the Common Ground Fair and I look forward to going to it next year to see the advancements in technology & agriculture.




The wild bird By: Nikiah

Hello my name is Nikiah. As you know we went to the Common ground fair. We go every year and we try to win ribbons. We won some this year. We had a great time and I learned something new and I will tell you what I learned. I have heard about some animal called a guinea hen. Some of you might know what a guinea hen is but I didn’t at first now I know a guinea hen is a one species is widely domesticated for its flesh and, because it gabbles loudly at the least alarm. I thought that was weird. Many varieties are widespread in the savannas and scrub lands of Africa, and the guinea fowl has been introduced into the West Indies and elsewhere. Guinea fowls are the boys and guinea hens are girls. About 20 in. (50 cm) long, in its typical form it has a bare face, brown eyes, red and blue wattles at the bill, white-spotted black plumage, and a hunched posture. It lives in flocks and feeds on seed tubers and some insects. As you see at the pictures below there are some guinea hens.


–> The common ground fair was fun. It took about an hour to get there from the Troy Howard Middle school with traffic. There was a lot of good Maine grown organic food there, such as potato chips, french fries, fried seafood, lemonade, smoothies, doughboys, and much more.


The fair had a nice dog show and really nice dogs. The sheepdogs where able to catch freebies and put sheep, geese, and goats in pens. They had livestock and it was cows, horses, goats, bunnies, ducks and sheep. There was also a blacksmith.

Our school got 80 ribbons from our garden. We had 30 blue ribbons (1st), 30 red (2nd), and 20 yellow (3rd). Make sure to check out our garden at the Troy Howard Middle School and all the great vegetables that we grow.


Great Livestock

At the Common Ground Fair with all my friends I saw a lot of livestock. One animal I saw at the Common Ground Fair was an Oxen. It was white and had big horns.


Then I saw a pig. The pig was black and white and it was eating grain. Next, I saw a horse it was brown and it was a work horse. After that i saw a sheep it was black and fluffy. Then i saw a goat it was black brown and gray and had a gray goat.


My favorite animal is a cow because they are big and make milk and hamburger and are cute when they are calfs.

Homemade Mania is Warm and Fuzzy


At the Common Ground Fair on the 21st of September (Friday) there were many things that were home-made. My friend took me to the wool tent with her and it was actually pretty cool. One lady was doing the spinning right there as a demonstration. She was doing the spinning with some of her own wool. There was also another woman named Jane who had some alpacas in a small fenced area. She was there to explain all of the processing of how to raise and shear the animals. I interviewed her about her methods and she said she preferred to shear by hand and to use traditional methods other than “hot, heavy and loud” shearing tools. She said she uses no electricity when she sheers. Another thing I noticed was the incredibly soft furs of bigger animals that they had to sell. I also loved the the tent with all the crafts by teens. Some 14-year-old girls made really cute origami swan earrings! There was also things like homemade potholders and tree art (pinecones and things glued to a piece of wood with sayings like “Live Love Laugh” on them). Not to mention the felt mushrooms with little smiley faces sewn onto them! All in all, it was a great experience at the Common Ground Fair!

Friends at the Fair by Katy

The Common Ground Fair is always a blast, but when you’re with your friends, it seems much more fun. When you’re with your friends, you notice more things you wouldn’t have otherwise and laugh more than you would’ve by yourself. When I went to the fair with the Ecology Academy, I had much more fun than I ever have at the fair. We had an awesome chaperon and our “group” was super fun. When you go with friends, like I did, everyone adds their opinion to everything which makes some things funny and also makes you go to fun places you otherwise wouldn’t have. For example, I wasn’t interested in going to the rabbit barn because generally speaking, rabbits make me sneeze, but I still had a lot of fun looking at all of the bunnies and the guinea pigs. Going to the Common Ground Fair with the Ecology Academy is something I will definitely miss when I move on and go to the high school.

The Common Ground Fairs Rabbits

The troy Howard middle school ecology team went to the common ground fair on September 21 2012. Their were many interesting things to look at and many animals. One of the animals we visited were the rabbits. The rabbits were all in individual cages the bigger the rabbit the bigger the cage. The rabbits were also on sale so people were able to buy them.

All of the rabbits looked very healthy like the rabbits we have in our garden and a little frightened, probably because of all of the people. Their were also many rabbits of different sizes ranging from very small and very big ones that were very fluffy. Because of the rabbits being on sale I was tempted to buy one especially the little tiny ones they were so cute.

The rabbit house at the common ground fair are in a red barn that does not have a floor. The only thing in the barn is some tables and the cages filled with cute rabbits. Usually the smaller rabbits are at the front of the barn and when you walk farther towards the back the rabbits are bigger and bigger.

The common ground fair is a good place to go for a school field trip every year and the rabbits are definately my favorite thing to visit.

Fun at the Fair By Jessica Clapp

The Common Ground Fair was so much fun. Not only does it never get old but the food is yummy, the animals are interesting, and the vegetables are amazing. plus when you go with your friends you notice more and you have much, much more fun. When we were there I remember going to see the sheep dogs and just sitting there amazed at what they do. I mean all that training must have taken a long time and if I were one of those dogs i would be very nervous doing all that in front of ton of people. When I get back from the fair I was told that all the food is organic, meaning that all the french fries and chips and everything else was made from ingredients made and produced by the people running the stands. Even if we don’t go with our glass next year, I will definitely go with my family/friends next year.



My favorite part of the common ground fair was the bunnies. There were very many different kinds like angora, albino, and many more. Some of the bunnies at the fair were for sale but some were just for showing off their awesomeness. Bunnies are my favorite because they are fluffy, they almost never bite, and they are one of the most cutest animals. We have two of our own bunnies here in our green house. Their waste is used in our compost. Some people like to take care of the bunnies by feeding them fresh food from the garden, and petting them to let them know we love them. The bunnies are the best looking livestock at the common ground fair because, they are fluffy and adorable like the ones below.

Fantastic foods!





Fantastic foods!


September Friday the 21st Troy Howard Middle School Ecology team went to the common ground fair for a day of fun and eating. Now would you rather have organic food from the fair or frozen food from a store? I just have to say I rather have the fresh made that day organic food. Their food is amazing I recommend everyone should go there to at least try the food and look around at the hand made things they make, and the livestock. They have the best ice cream in the world, its different kinds and really really creamy and rich. The french fries and doe boys are great too!!! And you always know its fresh at the common ground fair!!!!!!!!!

Lovely day at the Fair

On the lovely day of September 21st, 2012 Our school went to the Common Ground Fair. While we were there, there was tons of interesting things to look at and observe. One of the things that really stuck out and interested me was the different varieties and how many seeds for sale there were. Mr Thurston told us to pick out lots of seeds for our school garden. Some of the seeds we bought were spinach, lot of mustards, and a ton of other mixed greens. It took the kind lady of Fedco Seeds a long time to add them all up. I cant wait to plant the seeds this coming spring in out school garden. I had lots of fun at the fair and I cant wait to go again next year!



Best ice cream ever (common ground fair) By Seth TROY HOWARD MIDDLE SCHOOL

After buying and eating my lunch at the fair I had five dollars left so I looked for something that was organic I saw the pizza and thought I would get that but then I remembered the ice-cream I saw when I was getting my fries, so I told my friend we should go see how much it costs and a small was about 1 scoop and $3 and the large was about 2 scoops and $5. The guy that sold us the ice-cream asked us to tell him what we thought of it and I said “Best iced cream ever!” although it was expensive, it was worth it.




Home-Made Products At The Common Ground Fair

This year when I went to the Common Ground Fair there was a lot of stuff to do and look at. They had a big tent with a lot of booths underneath it filled with homemade items. There was everything! Ranging from croissants to bird houses to homemade jewelry. There were even little stuffed mushroom animals that Olivia just HAD to get! One lady was selling hoola hoops she had made her herself and lots of people were trying them out. There were also lots of homemade food at the fair that was very tasty. French fries, smoothies,and even ice cream were all there, and they were all locally grown and home-made. It was very cool to see all of the things people can make themselves. If this sounds interesting to you at all I recommend you go next year!

First class Food

On 9-21-12 the Ecology academy went to the common ground. it took about and hour to get there. There was lots of traffic. The common grind fair was great. The curly fries were crunchy on the outside and soft inside. They grow the potato themselves, and had tons. The lemonade was really sour it was like sucking on a lemon. The apple cider was even better it was sweet and really hot. The doughboy were huge, they were as big around as the plate. The pizza was wood fired vegetable pizza, there were lots of toppings such as ,green ad red peppers onions tomatoes, mushrooms , olives and broccoli. The sea food was great they had fried shrimp scollops haddock and clams.


The Animals were cool there were horses, cows, bunnies, hamsters, goats, sheep dogs ducks,geese, and even pigs.



Delicious organic food at the Common Ground Fair


by Noah T.


When the ecology academy went to the Common Ground Fair, we saw lots of organic food stands. When I got a slice of pizza, it was one of the best slices of pizza I had ever eaten, and believe it or not it was organic! There was also pie cones, smoothies, french fries, sausages, and much more to chew on while you’re looking at the organically grown vegetables. So the next time you go to the Common Ground Fair, don’t forget to stop at the delicious organic food stands.

Lively Livestock

By Carrie W.

At the Common Ground Fair there were many different types of livestock. There were bunnies, chickens, goats, cows, alpacas, all kinds of animals! There were entire barns dedicated to one animal!

One of my personal favorites was the bunny barn. I loved seeing the different kinds of rabbits and which ones won what prizes and which ones were for sale.

I also enjoyed seeing the chickens. They were all different sizes and colors and breeds. The sizes varied from small enough to fit in your hand to absolutely huge. I liked seeing which ones won prizes and if they won prizes, what prizes.

Some of the chickens were for sale, my friend bought two small hens. Chickens weren’t the only birds for sale and that won prizes, there were also guenyfowl, quail, and turkeys.


The livestock was from all different farms and organizations, like the quail, which were from Shady Hollow Farms in Morrill.

There were also a lot of larger animals like cows, horses, and alpacas.

The Common Ground Fair was so fun I went again the next day and it was still just as fun. I hope that we will go again next year.







Selling the Produce

One of my favorite things to do after school is work at the garden stand. There we sell our fresh produce to people in our community. Some times people traveling will see our sign and stop by and checkout what we have. Some of the many veggies we have are Cucumbers, Carrots, Garlic, Melons, Tomatoes, Peppers, Swiss chard, Tomatillos, and Squash. Mr. Thurston helps us with the garden stand. One of the things that come from the Garden stand are… We get money for field trips like the ski trip that we are going to have this winter. It is fun because you can have your friends help you sell the produce. And that’s one of my favorite things to do after school.


Animals at the Common Ground Fair- By Olivia

From tiny bunnies to huge oxen, the Common Ground Fair was full of different animals. There were sheep dog shows you could go see, as well as barns full of different animals for sale. And don’t forget the horse drawn carriages! I also saw little ducklings, snuggling up to their mothers for warmth. There were stables that had cows, oxen and goats in them, as well as pens for lamb and sheep. Some of the chickens were amazing because they had these fluffy feet and colorful coats. If you haven’t experienced the Common Ground Fair, I would definitely recommend going there next year!


The Ecology Team at Troy Howard Middle School was given the privilege of going to the Common Ground Fair and believe it or not all the food there was… Amazingly Organic.

From ice cream to curly fries it was all Maine grown. “I couldn’t believe it was all organic…especially after I tasted it.” “It was great!” but it was expensive. And there was a lot of live stock there. And when i say a lot i mean a lot. There where cows there and goats they were all really cool. They were also very nice. I saw a little kid siting on a sleeping cow! It was funny but I

would not try it!

I saw them milk a cow!

Yummy Organic Treats To Fluff Balls Of Cuteness By:Abigail

On Friday September 21st the Ecology team had a lot of fun at the Common Ground Fair. The food at the common ground fair was really good. The home made ice ream was very good. My friends and I got chocolate and all four of us said it was one of the best ice creams they have ever tasted. My favorite food would have to be the french fries. They didn’t taste like any of the grease filled french fries you get at Mac’Donald’s these were soooooo good and the ketchup really tasted like tomatoes.

The maple sugar candy was really good too the best candy a have had in a long time, it was very sweet so I couldn’t handle eating more then a couple big bites.

Now to the animals the Common Ground Fair had pigs,cows,ducks,chickens,bunnies and many more.The bunnies were so fluffy one looked like it was fat but it was its fur. I kind of felt bad at one point for the bunnies because there were so many people they were terrified. The goats were cute and so friendly so were some of the horses and cows. The sheep dogs were so smart they did a very good presentation on their tricks and stuff really smart animals.

The Common Ground Fair was a very fun experience and there is not one part of it that I didn’t enjoy well besides the porta-potties but I still look forward to going again.

Giant Great Garden





In the school garden I have picked tomatoes and taste tested them, picked beans, and pull up potatoes, I go out to the garden most Tuesdays, its lots of fun.

When I pulled up the potatoes with a pitch fork we had to be super careful not to stab them. Some people picked up the potatoes while others used pitch forks/pulled them up and others washed them. The other half of the class was picking the beans next to us. The garden has many beautiful flowers and veggies, like carrots, beets, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, and much more. We also do composting from the food in our cafeteria. I love working in the school garden with my friends its super fun.





Hey this Alex and I’m going to tell you about the best food ever located at the common ground fair. My favorite food was the homemade cajun fries and the homemade potato chips and the best part is that they are all coming from Maine farms so it makes them extra tasty. Other things you cold try is the fresh harvest pizza I have not tried it, but everyone I ask says that it is excellent. You can’t go wrong with the fresh apple cider, hot or cold because the spices are blended perfectly with apples to make it have an amazingly good taste. So, next year when the common ground fair comes again make sure you come and try the food, look at the livestock, and check out the THMS ribbons.

Hungry yet??