Monday, July 15, 2013

Fun at the Farm

Coleman & Manny with 8 week old chicks
Just prior to the devastating flood at the end of June, the farm hosted some memorable events - a father/son weekend as well as our first Adventure Camp outing with Pine Forest Camp.

As we move into the middle of July our solar powered pump which went under water during the flood, but had continued to work for two weeks after, is now no longer functioning. We will have to address this soon, as we need to provide regular water to all our plantings inside our high tunnel, as rain does not enter from above.

There are not a whole lot of new updates to make this time around.  Our three sheep that survived the flood are doing fine, as are our bees. We found some sections of wood from our sheep shelter, and spied the roof way downriver along a bank, but it appears it has been buckled in half.

Our raspberries took a beating the last night the sheep were in our orchard, as they must have jumped our 2 foot fence that keeps the poultry out, and helped themselves to a heavy browsing session on our berry bushes.   If they enjoyed this we are fine given what they went through a couple of weeks back.  Sadly they still seem to be looking for their fallen comrades.

Katherine hit a bump, but was a good sport about it!
Old School Farm also has two terrific apprentices this year as well and we wanted to share their bios along with a lot of photos of all the good times at the farm. We felt this was important to do as we continue to clean up and heal emotionally following our losses of five sheep and other structures and systems on the farm.

Katherine Agnew:  I'm Katherine, a rising fourth-year student at the University of Virginia with majors in history and French and a minor in global sustainability. I hail from the central region of the Old Dominion State, home to a burgeoning local food scene thanks to the area's fertile farmland. I became interested in the convergence of food, sustainability, and public health after watching Food, Inc. two summers ago, and since then, have followed my alimentary passion all the way to Honesdale, Pennsylvania. I'm excited to better understand how food is produced, enjoy the beautiful Pocono Mountains, and acquaint myself with the so-far wonderful agricultural community here in Wayne County. In my free time, I read, knit, and consume more peanut butter than the average person should.

Tyler Hess:   My given name is Tyler Hess and I am a homo sapien searching for purpose amidst a civilization in decline. In addressing the multiplicity of crises occurring throughout the world, I am attempting to center myself in an agrarian based ethic while simultaneously wondering how to slow the ongoing 6th massextinction. I mostly focus on food and energy production with a desire to re-connect with the land that has given birth to all that is life. This is my third summer attempting some type of small-scale agricultural apprenticeship. During the fall semester of this year, I finally finish an undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky and thus graduate with a minor in Sustainable Agriculture, in addition to a self-designed major that includes wide-ranging interests in Philosophy, Soil Science, Anthropology, Forestry, and Environmental Sociology. While I have molded my university track to actually be enjoyable, many other things take up my time too; like backpacking journeys, late-night campfires, mead-making, fermentation experiments, knitting, reading voraciously, wandering the woods, writing, painting, cooking, listening, and cycling where safe roads can be found.

For the remainder of this posting we will let all the photos from earlier this summer speak for themselves, and get everyone caught up with more progress at the farm next time around.

Your Friends at Old School Farm

Tim drives the Ferguson

Tim, JP, Sage, Coleman and Owen a the falls

Bird skull found down near the high tunnel

Blanched OSF spinach ready for freezing

Lots of spinach...

Newborn turkey polts within enclosure inside turkey pen

Jackie from WNEP visited the farm to do a piece on Al Benner's moss business -

Spinach salad with free range eggs and bacon

Massive asparagus plants - perhaps we should plant a lot more?

Cousins - Coleman, Addison, and Owen

Cousins cookout - venison and OSF turkey sausage

Uncle Rob cooks farm pond sunfish filets

Cousin Ben pays a visit to the farm

Cooling feet in the spring house pond

Old Brick Al found in Dyberry - his wife's, dad's, and his initials (David Alan Benner)

Cousin Sophy and Uncle Rob

Dave and Dave clean and vac the barn floor prior to staining

Beautiful but poisonous Foxglove (Digitalis)

Poison Ivy prevention - Jewel weed.

...just crush the stems and smear the juice on soon after exposure

Dave explains to Ben the pizza oven


Musclewood tree (Hop Hornbeam)

Frog eggs

Talking irrigation

Birds stay cool under stand of Elderberry

Carrots, greens and herbs on roof garden

Black Mint - great for tea

Coleman is a real fan

 Pat & Jim Sanders stop by to visit with the Benners

The Benners celebrate their 9th anniversary at "The Ledges" in Hawley

Elderberry Flower pancakes - delicious

Elderberry stand - spreading rapidly - great for pancakes, wine and for poultry feed

Owen finds out chickens love thinned green peaches

Peach crop came in heavy again and had to be thinned to every 6"

Tyler learns to drive the Ferguson


Calm before the storm

The Dyberry provides much enjoyment, but is also a force to be reckoned with

Nice young bullfrog

Pine Forest Campers arrive

Farm Manager Dave Campeau stokes oven

7 year old artwork

Private farm tour

Pine Forest Camp Director Stacey Polsky gets her camper's attention

The Old School "Farm Challenge" gave campers a chance to test their knowledge about farm life

Everyone enjoyed picking...

...and eating snow peas

Milkweed plants pepper the pasture -
the only plant monarch butterfly caterpillars eat

Before the flood

Lamb's Quarers - a very tasty garden weed

pea picking and eating was a big hit

homemade dough rises

Pizza prep about to begin

the line forms

Andrew - one of many happy campers  

counselors finally get to make their pies

The maestro of the earthen oven

fresh spinach and egg pizza 

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Stacey with her homemade pie with OSF spinach picked by campers

loading up the wagon


Swimming in the Dyberry - it was hard to get the kids to leave

Pre-flood images of garden

calm before the storm
Successful fishing trip at neighbor Katlynne's farm pond