Well, the meeting went well last night, but we've still got some regulatory hoops to jump through.
But more importantly - check us out in the New York Times!!
Well, the meeting went well last night, but we've still got some regulatory hoops to jump through.
But more importantly - check us out in the New York Times!!
We had Andrew Leslie Phillips here for the day. The future Freer Hollow Community Center was christened with the one day introduction to permaculture. Alice, Anya, and Terra set up some tables, we sat on a hodgepodge of chairs, coolers, and wooden chests. Each attendee brought a dish to share at our lunch potluck and we had a great walk around the farm in between rain drops!
Thanks Andrew for an inspiring day!
for more info check out: http://www.hancockpermaculture.org/
Well, we had to cancel our may day celebration because of the tremendous amount of work that lies in front of us to get this ecotourism thing off the ground by June. And of course the farm continues to thrive and grow - seedlings to plant, peas coming up, weeds to pull out, lambs being born, chickens to move to new grass, eggs to collect, beef cows to check on. Still, we had a couple of friends stop by yesterday. The day turned out to be gorgeous by the afternoon.
Some lambs were born in the morning - one needed some help getting to its incredibly patient mama, Angel. The little bugger seemed done for after Kate assisted it around 1 o'clock. But by 2 o'clock the little guy was up and trying to nurse on his own. What an amazing thing to watch. He continues to thrive today, with his big sister and patient mama on the lookout.
Mom and dad, aka Nonno and Nonna came over to play . We thought we were going to get some plants in the ground. Instead we put up a May Pole and buried some feathers in the hay and set up a hayride. All per Lucia's instructions, "the hay pile goes here" "is this how long the ribbons should be" Isaac slept soundly while Nonno whiled away the time playing games on his ipod.
Some good friends brought our barn cats back from the spay day at Delhi. thank you bret and laura! Their daughters Elena and Sabine had fun riding in the mule and taking a woods walk where our new tents are going to go. then Lucia and Elena turned into Laura and Mary from the LIttle House on the Prairie for the rest of the evening! Never seen two little girls so enjoy themselves!!
The newest member of our family, Elizabeth, brought her family over for a tour and walk about as well. We all had a great time eating trout lilies, talking about how amazing our creek is, thinking up names for the tents and smashing caterpillar tents (okay, I guess Lucia and I were the only ones doing that last thing).
Of course while all of this is going on Dan and his father were overseeing the excavation of three of the tents sites. Peter cutting out dead trees and dan piling them up to be wood chipped later. The Excavator did a beautiful job: nice level sites, with minimal damage to the surrounding area. Dan and I are ready to move our house over there.
So far our tents are named: sunset, trout lily, creek side, may apple, pasture walk, hideaway, - well we could change a few. But that is wehre we are for now.
Oh, and in case you think that is too much for a weekend, that was just Saturday!
At night, I drove to Delhi to pick up a prospective apprentice, Terra. She spent the night. And after pancakes in the morning we went straight to work transplanting cabbages and lettuce into the garden. We moved the sheep. Terra got to carry a newborn lamb into the new area with its concerned mama bleating all the way. Terra finished transplanting lettuces while dan and I picked up some large saplings from the tent site and replanted them near the house. After a bite to eat Terra and I headed out to Nonna's house to pick up Lucia and Isaac. After a delivery of some diapers, Terra and I headed to Oneonta so that she could catch the 3 o'clock bus to the city. A short visit that will hopefully turn into a long summer stay.
Dan did some more overseeing with the excavator, finished up some graphics work and coordinated some things for tomorrow - for we receive the tents tomorrow!! Yike-o's.
Hope everyone out there had an equally rewarding weekend!
A great group of Hartwick, Pine Lake Campus, students generously donated their time yesterday to pick up tons of rocks, transplant blueberry bushes, and deconstruct an old shed. Our garden has never known so much clear soil!!
Thanks guys. Hope we can return the favor some day!
heading home after a hard day's work
Wow! We had a great weekend learning to shear our sheep the old fashioned way!
Our good friend Amy Gillingham organized the event with the inimitable Kevin Ford!! He is, in a word, The Master (i guess that's two words) Our small group of students from all around New York came together to learn the finer points of preparing shears, assessing the animal, and of course, SHEARING!
Check out Kevin's book - http://www.amazon.com/Shearing-Day-Handling-Science-Blades/dp/0966915348/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237749884&sr=1-1
checking the blade curvature
kate and amy practicing new skills
kevin overseeing eric's handiwork
Hey all! We need to extend a HUGE thank you to our good friend Jeff and Dan's parents who watched over our little farm and house while we were away being inspired by other incredible farmers in New York State and the northeast. We came back ready to try some new things and cut back on some others that aren't working for us.
Oh yes and a special shout out to my parents who braved the streets of Rochester with ten small children going to two museums and doing all sorts of crafts so that Dan and I might have a few moments to ponder our lives as farmers.
Check back here to see what we have in store for the new year!!
Many people may think that not much happens on a farm in the snow and ice of January.
Those people are not accustomed to Winter with sheep, chickens, a cow, cats, and dogs. Oh yes and our two favorite farm animals: our children!!
Besides the daily care of the farm, which can be as easy as filling up waterers from the running creek or as difficult as breaking a hole in the ice and fishing around for water, there is a ton of planning that we must do in order to provide our customers with the delicious food that they count on in the warmer months.
For instance, right now we are sitting up deciding what exactly to do about the broiler debacle. A broiler is what we call a 'meat chicken' they are the cross bred birds who if they continue to grow past the 10 week mark their internal organs fail because they cannot support the immense bulk of their body. Not a pretty picture. Not to mention: they can not produce offspring (since they cannot live to the 24 week, egg laying age). This fact alone has pushed us to reconsider how we grow chickens that people want to eat. We want to support truly sustainable agriculture. It does not seem sustainable to be unable to reproduce (this is why we steer clear of GMO crops).
So stay posted to find out how we solve the Broiler issue. Other things we will be doing this week:
*submitting a lengthy seed order to FEDCO seeds (based in Maine. An AMAZING seed co op that, if you grow anything, you should order from. go to www.fedcoseeds.com),
*wrestling with our Bosch propane hot water heater(something is not working right and it has been apart more times than dan would like to count. He is considering becoming a service technician as soon as he figures out WHAT is wrong with ours!)
*picking up grain from our local farmer up in Canajoharie - thank you Peter, dan's dad does this drive for us -
*driving our sheepskins down to the only east coast tannery in Quakertown PA -
*Seeing our local bank about a business loan
*Hosting a toy and clothes swap in the community center on Tuesday!
Hey I have to get to work
Hey everyone. Well, it's getting cold - that's for sure. We had our first really hard frost the other night. My thoroughly unscientific assessment was determined by the 1/4" of ice on the water trough. We've gotten a bit of a reprieve though the last two nights. Been hovering round 34deg.
So, enough of the weather.
I think i've got a few pictures to share...
Isaac loving a tree at the Common Ground Fair in Maine a few weeks ago. (the fair is a really amazing event sponsored by MOFGA. Check it out on the web)
The Common Ground Fair rides (BYO scrap of cardboard)
Our neighbor Craig helping out with our one of final loads of hay for the year (finally!!)
Our friend, and future authentic farm cuisine restaurant owner, Steve helping out with the harvest back in August. (i know, i should be more timely with posting pictures)
Our new driveway being graded. More on this later....
Come on by the farm for fresh chicken tomorrow (today?!) Saturday, August 30th.As you know we process our chickens right here at Stony Creek Farm. We store them in ice-cold spring water for a few hours on the day of butchering so you can come and get the freshest chicken available anywhere!
Also, get a 10% discount since we don't incur any freezer costs on the ones you buy.
We also have all cuts of pork as well as legs of lamb and some beef.
We hope to see you on Saturday anytime after 2pm (or earlier if you want to watch the butchering process)
Well, after some soul searching, and just a general FREAK OUT here at the farm....I have decided to start a list of the things we accomplish everyday...Since I am a lover of lists.
Instead of making the list of the billion of things we have to do, want to do, need money to do...we are going to talk each night at supper about what it is we DID DO each day. Ahh...
Here is the list from today:
*built a shoe shelf for the milk house and put up 3 kids coat hooks
*cleared sod away from the base of many willow and a few birch trees
*Organized canning equipment
*brought tools down from woodshed at Kate & Dan's house
*pulled a BILLION nails from reclaimed barn wood= created more lumber to build with (YES!)
*stacked wood in The Big House - for Pete and Karen
*delivered 9 dozen eggs to Lucky Dog Farm and saw a local CSA in action
*Picked up 3 tons of locally grown organic grain and loaded it into the barn
Whew....and that doesn't include our regular chores, making meals, or any of dan's computer work..
As a note, Rush said he plans on running around to do lots of little things tomorrow...this really gives me an idea of just all of the things we can accomplish in a day....
Bring on Tomorrow!!!
First morning near the hen house...this crew got up EARLY to help with farm chores
more photos to come!!
After a day of planting corn, beens, squash, flower seeds, herb seed and 70 degree weather, the Marsiglios and ALPS feel hot and accomplished. De-rocking a garden, digging trenches, building bean teepees, and harvesting tons of compost, the garden that was once bare, now has texture and will soon feed the farm.
Split into four separate groups, we set off to our various farm chores after de-rocking the garden. One group constructed 6 been teepees which allow vines to grow up one of the 5 poles used. Another group began to use hoes to dig trenches later covered by the a third group who planted crops and also harvested compost to cover the seeds. The last group planted corn on a different garden that had also been de-rocked.
Breakfast this morning was at the Marsiglio's home. Mrs. Marsiglio served a delicious meal of orange juice, and large amounts of scrambled eggs and pancakes, plus some oatmeal. The meal was enjoyed by all with a record of 13 pancakes. This meal was an excellent start to our day.
The big red barn was one of the most interesting buildings the ALPS crew has been inside. It was originally designed to hold about 150 tones of hay, 70 tones of grain, and a 7 ton tractor and is probably seen its days but is still amazing. The main barn vertical beams were raised not by crane but by many horses attached to the beam which was on the ground. The horses would pull them upright and them be hammered in. The barn didn't have any screws or nails to build it but was build by wedges and weight balances.
By the time this blog is posted, the ALPS members will be very close to departing from the Marsiglio farm, leaving behind some of the most kind and welcoming people and their animals. This being the first ALPS trip to this farm, the ALPS crew has made a lasting footprint on this farm with trees, gardening, feeding, trails, and memories. The Marsiglio farm trip will last until the ALPS club ends (which will be never!) and will stay in everyones memories until our minds go just like Mason's mind.
Mason Bushnell and the ALPS Club
Friday May 23, 11 students from the ALPS outdoors club of Ridgewood High School ventured up to Stony Creek Farm to help out with some farm chores and learn about some of the components of organic, ethical farming.
After we reached our destination in upstate New York, we were warmly greeted by Dan, Luchia, Isaac, and Kate Marsigilio, the owners of the picturesque farm, who value wholesome, healthy food and reflect these values in their farming methods in a world now caught up in unsustainable factory farming .
First, the group took a walk around the farm, during which we were introduced to the various, free range livestock kept there starting with some chickens, including a few that were roaming outside the fence. Of course the birds could have wandered away but with their food and shelter inside the fenced area we learned they would be no reason to worry. Next, we approached another fenced off area with a small shed built for an animal that we soon discovered was much larger than we expected . Gertrude, the behemoth pig, emerged slowly from the shed, following a host of small piglets. While we thought that the many piglets were surprising, Gertrude was a wonder.
Following this preliminary walk around the farm we sat down at the milk house and discussed the alternative Saturday itinerary that awaited us. A few people began preparing dinner, while the rest of the group unloaded the bus and carried the tents to the campsite, accompanied by the moo of the cow whose grazing area was set adjacent to where the tents were going to be pitched. It was amazing that we were able to fall asleep. We pitched the new ALPS tents and kicked back with a frisbee toss until it was time to built a bonfire. We had everything in place in the fire pit but soon realized the strike anywhere matches Dan procured did not live up to their name as we could not replicate his one successful practice strike executed on on a terracotta block. Once we implemented some old fashioned, "strike normally" matches we got a nice bon fire going until the skies released a light rain that soon doused our "bonfire" sending everyone back to their tents. By this early hour of nine o'clock, we were still able to have a great time for hours after that.
After a night of Mason's non-stop laughing at random things, we were finally able to fall asleep around 1130. We emerged the next day into a wilderness that gave proof that during the night the subfreezing temperatures had frozen most of the water on the tent. We we up and out by 630 and started off the day with a few farm chores up the hill. The chickens and the pigs needed to be fed and so volunteers filled their troughs with grain, while another group headed over to the herd of sheep to move the their temporary grazing fence so the herd could access new grass. Except for a few stubborn lambs that needed to be coaxed by a wall of ALPS kids, the herd, led by the Aniken, the sheep dog, burst into the new area.
Today, their were three main projects we undertook after splitting into three groups. One group, which included Mason, Sarah, Ms. Stump and Mrs. Marsigilio, weeded and mulched spoil and eventually planted basil and brussel sprouts. The other group, which I was apart of along with Mike, Emma, Alex, Cole and Mr. McCullough, blazed a trail. The third, including Waffle, Sam, Kate, and Julia planted trees with Mr. Marsigilio. Blazing a trail is a multi-step process that requires an array of tools. A few of us used pick axes to cut out chunks of soil and grass, while others raked away rock and flattened out the trail with a shovel. By far, the most fun tool was the rock bar which was used to gain leverage around and move rocks. Planting trees is another difficult job, digging holes about a foot and a half deep and about two and a half feet wide. These 9 plum and apple trees will grow to be about fifteen feet tall and fifteen feet wide. In about five years, they should hopefully bear fruit. The third group, with Mrs. Marsigilio, Ms. Stump, Mason, and Sarah grew corn, basil, and pulled weeds from the strawberry patch in the garden.
Throughout the trip we enjoyed rich, fresh organic food, an anomaly for the ALPS club which usually limits itself to ramen, poptarts and pitas. Breakfast was based around delicious, unpressed oatmeal with a variety of toppings, while for lunch we had homemade egg salad, humus and bean dip which was one of the best organic meals that the group had ever tasted. With the conclusion of lunch we headed back up the hill to plant some corn before taking a half hour trek on the other side of the creek. On the trek, Mrs. Marsigilio explained that catepillars are harmful to the wild cherry trees and impressed the group with her ability to remove writhing masses of catepillers from the trees with her bare hands.
The short trek ended at the new environmentally friendly home that Mr. Marsigilio is building. The house utilizes not only off grid active solar technology through solar arrays but also passive solar design with an impressive use of skylights to achieve maximize energy efficiency. This was a home that was truly amazing in design and structure. The Marsigilio family has a true talent of construction. With plans for a full basement, to a greenhouse, to an underground parking garage, ALPS believes that with their special ability, they will accomplish much more than they plan.
Dinner was an excellent meal including bread, chips, various types of salad, pork fresh from the farm, and chile. And once again the cleaning crew worked on the very involved task of removing the food from everyones plate. Yet, Ms. Stump successfully completed the task of reading to Luchia, and the rest of the group was able to keep an eye on Isaac. For the ALPS seniors, we and the Marsigilios will miss you next year and for those who still have at least year left, we look forward to seeing Marsigilios next year.
THANK YOU TO THE MARSIGILIOS!!!!
Mike and Mason
Thanks to Jim Richardson for these shots from last Saturday's festivities.
If anyone has pictures they'd like to share we would love to have them.
please send 'em to firstname.lastname@example.org. thanks!
Thanks to everyone who came out on Saturday to help us celebrate Spring and all of our wonderful new lambs, AND the opening of our new farm store. By no official count, we'd put the number of attendees somewhere between 75 and 100. Great. Just right. Next time we'll be even more prepared and put out announcements a little farther and wider. We'll have pictures and lots more to say about the event in coming days. We'll also be sending out a little note to everyone who left their contact info on our sign-in sheet. If you didn't sign but you'd like to receive our next mailing please email your information to us at email@example.com.
Thanks again everyone.
Come on down to Stony Creek Farm from 2-6pm today for:
Recommended donation to support our event is $6 each or $10 for the whole family.
Rain or shine!!
hi everyone. We're having a festival on May 3rd.
This announcement will be posted on our main page later in the week.
Check out the attached flyer for more details. Spread the word!!