Saturday, October 19, 2013

Puffballs, Painting, Pizza, and Projectiles

October has seen some fun and interesting activities both on and off the farm.  For starters, Owen Benner spied these giant puffball mushrooms on his way to school in Philadelphia.  They are most delicious when sauteed in butter and, or olive oil.

Other events of note include rookie crossbow enthusiast and Old School Farm owner Al Benner splitting an arrow from 25 yards out while target practicing for deer season.

Several friends were also up at the farm over the Columbus Day weekend (he never really "discovered" North America you know).  It was nice to take a couple days off to do some biking, hiking, and enjoy fresh farm food together with friends and family - the weather was simply stellar.

We recently purchased a grader blade for our old Ferguson tractor so we can re-grade our gravel and dirt drives and plow snow as needed.  The unit was manufactured in the Carolinas and is of the highest quality and very thick steel. Dave performed much research prior to deciding on this unit - it also has many adjustments so it can be used for many different applications.  If you are ever in the market for one the company is called   In a matter of minutes Dave was able to completely smooth out our sloped driveway that had been rutted and washed out by heavy rains.

We are also currently finishing some hand painting of signage for the farm - doing it the "old school" way by hand drawing letters and then painting freehand - not easy.

Our old toilet that was most likely original to the 1925 home finally gave up the ghost.  Leaking from hairline cracks, it had rotted the tongue and groove maple/cherry floorboards beneath, and they had to be cut out and replaced.  Dave did an amazing job of somehow getting the old warped spare boards from the attic to fit together and we now have a new hunk of porcelain installed where the old gal had previously resided for close to 90 years - we were sorry to see her go - well sort of....

Tomato, pepper and eggplant production continues to be robust - we figure we have now well surpassed 2,500 pounds of tomatoes harvested this season inside our high tunnel, and we anticipate continued output of these crops for at least another month.  We have also seeded the greenhouse with a winter crop of spinach.

The sweet potatoes in the raised beds are out of control and continue to grow like crazy - the warm compost in these elevated beds is ideal for these tubers.  Sun Chokes really
took off up in the
Transplanting Sunchokes - a great year round  "survival food" 
orchard area and we have since transplanted them around the perimeter of the orchard.  These can be used raw in salads or can be baked or stir fried.  They multiply quickly and can be dug any time of year, often lasting right through until the next spring if left in the ground.

We are hard at work making plans for our Farm Camp program for next summer for 12 - 14 year old boys.  We are excited to share our knowledge and farm experiences with others and hopefully instill passion in the next generation of sustainable farmers and stewards of the land.

For now we will simply leave you with a lot more photos taken around the farm during this glorious time of year.   Until next time, be well and soak up those last rays of warming autumn sun.

Harry & Frank Signorello pay a visit and make pizza dough with "Uncle Kevin" (right)
Your Friends at Old School Farm
Sauteed Puffballs

Giant Puffball, Giant Leaf

Dave washes grax giant beets

Roger Hill displays his cornucopia of squash

Sweet Potatoes in raised bed

The new tree stand - nice work Dave!

Sheep bulking up for winter

We have some large sunflower heads - the chickens go nuts for these

Some of the produce coming out of the high tunnel

A very happy flock - many which we hatched out this past spring

Owen Benner - expert frog catcher

Mom pays a visit to the farm

Wooly bugger caterpillars are very numerous this year

Using car headlights, Al and Dave sight in the crossbow

A butternut squash that volunteered from compost later became a meal for chickens

Our somewhat famous Carmen sweet peppers

Another stunning fall day at the farm

A boy observes his pet caterpillars

When you run out of containers at the hight tunnel...

The deadly moss chasm...

Past their prime cukes even get used up

Cherokee Green Heirloom tomato and a milk frother??  Boys will be boys...

Fall harvest colors

Harry Signorello mixes it up in the kitchen

Kneeding the dough

Heading out for a quick 8 mile ride...

Frank Signorello

Uncle Kevin and his charges - Where's the helmet dude ??

Small town flavor - passing your neighbor (Jim Sanders)....

....and his wife Pat while biking

That's right ...we are adjacent to over 8,000 acres of game lands

A 7 year old bikes home along the Dyberry

Lackluster potato crop due to June flooding

Owen and his Uncle Kevin

Corn picked moments earlier roasts in oven

Wow that dough really expanded!

The perfect pie - handmade by a 7  year old

A spelt crusted pie ready for it's 3 minutes in the oven

Up in the tree stand

Sometimes it's nice to just take some time to enjoy good company,  scenery, weather and food...