Saturday, August 18, 2012

"Lazy" Days of August...

The lazy days of August are here at Old School Farm, but they are far from lazy for Dave and WWOOF farming volunteer, Hayley Otterness.  Lots of vegetable harvesting and preserving is going on along with the continued building of the bread/pizza oven.  The bees are also busy, and as their numbers multiply, so does their need for space.  Dave is seen here replacing the hive cover after adding another level of forms on which the bees will build more combs for honey.

WWOOF Volunteer Hayley Otterness

Hayley came to the farm back in July to help Dave in Al's absence, and decided to stay on a couple of extra weeks.   Here are some photos of Hayley helping out at the farm along with a few of her own words about the experience...


So, my name is Hayley and since I'm spending some time here at Old School Farm, I guess I could tell you a little about myself.

 I was born and raised a city girl, but have always loved the country.  I am so happy to have this opportunity with OSF to explore farming, get some fresh air, and eat really great food. 

 Wwoofing attracted me because it connects people all over the world with a common interest: organic farming.  Trading work for food is all I really need at this moment in my life, so this was a cool way to spend my summer.

Hayley harvesting cucumbers
 I will take many things away from this experience, many things.  Honestly, there are just too many to list them all.  For instance, the night the turkeys decided they wanted to roost outside in a peach tree instead of kindly going in to their home.  We had to pluck them off the tree, one by one, and put them safely into their coop.  Trust me, it is much more difficult to wrangle up some turkeys then it sounds.  Turkeys don’t exactly love being picked up.  They tend to squawk and flail and it takes a lot of arm muscle to not let one go, which I did a couple times.  All the excitement did eventually end with all fifteen turkeys safely in their coop. 
But, don't think the turkeys are the only exciting part!  Everyday I get to feed my destructive and heroic sides simultaneously by ridding the garden of weeds to save the vegetables! 

 My favorite task in the garden is harvesting potatos.  I mean, seeing as I am an experienced pirate (only in my imagination), I can say it is very close to digging for treasure.  Aaarrgh.

 Well, that is about all I have to share today.  But stay tuned for I go potato hunting regularly...

The farm wall stone base for wood fired oven - roof bump out added above 
Other activities at the farm continue in earnest in preparation for the fall season.  Dave is currently working on finishing the wood fired bread oven and has just finished the stone base.  Next come the fire bricks for the base of the cooking surface and then the tricky part - the earthen dome, made primarily of clay.  The dimensions have to be just right or the heat won't disperse evenly, causing burning on top or bottom of bread or pizza.

Portable, solar powered fencing with mineral feeder in foreground

We continue to move our sheep and portable shelter to fresh grass around the 12 acre pasture and are currently planning a temporary containment area in one corner of the barn.  This will house our two mature ewes, Elska and Freya along with our young ram (as of yet not named) for the fall and winter months for the purposes of breeding.  The three young ewes are not yet old enough to breed and will remain in the shelter in the pasture.  Icelandic sheep are incredibly hardy and only require a wind break and shelter from rain and sun.  Cold temperatures alone will not adversely effect them, as they have two coats of wool - a soft inner layer and a coarse outer coat.

Purple Broccoli (turns green when cooked)

The garden is churning out loads of produce.  Some is being sold locally at markets, but much is being frozen or canned (in the case of pickles) for winter use.

Beds are re-planted with fall crops - spinach, rutabagas, etc

We are also re-planting areas with fall and early winter crops.  We obtained a grant for high tunnels from the USDA and these hoop houses with raisable lower flaps will be used for season extension in our garden.
Some serious roof garden carrots and an old snowmobile
a kindly neighbor gave Dave for easy winter access to
upper pastures
Our young Ram -his horns will soon completely curl around

Snow White cherry tomatoes - amazing flavor

Blanching Broccoli for the freezer

Until next time, enjoy the rest of your summer and please feel free to pass on a link to our blog to others if you are enjoying it...