Homesteaders’ Quarto – May 29, 2013

REMINDER – Homesteaders’ Survey!

Thank you to the 56 Spring Creek Homesteading e-newsletter readers who have filled out the survey as of today. If you haven’t yet, please check your inbox, click through with your unique survey link, and fill out at least  #1 if you want to keep getting the newsletter. Starting with the July 2013 issue, e-newsletters will only be sent to people who have answered “Yes” to that first survey question. If you are not already a subscriber, you can subscribe here.

REMINDER – June 22 Summer Potluck Picnic

Spring Creek Homesteading’s next informal, family-friendly quarterly community potluck will be the Summer Potluck Picnic on Saturday June 22, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Spring Creek Park, Pavilion #2. RSVP at SignUpGenius.

REMINDER – Upcoming Reskilling Workshops

$12 suggested donation. Call 237-0996 or email to sign up.

  • (This Saturday) June 1 – Planting a Pollinator Garden & Building a Bee Box with Justin Wheeler – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 301 South Garner Ave.
  • June 22 – Common Weeds of Central PA and Non-Herbicide Strategies for Management with Elina Snyder – Saturday 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Keller Street Community Garden.
  • July 6 – Building Rain Barrels with Justin Wheeler – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 301 South Garner Ave.
  • July 13 – Building a Backyard Chicken Coop with Woody Wilson – Saturday, 9 a.m. t0 1 p.m. Host family/location needed! Pay $200 for materials, get free labor and a finished coop by the end of the workshop!

August 3 – PCO FarmFest Homesteader Workshop Series:

  • 1:00 p.m. – Using Cover Crops in Your Backyard Garden with Gene Bazan
  • 2:00 p.m. – Gardening for Pollinators & Native Bee Conservation with Justin Wheeler
  • 3:00 p.m. – Backyard Chickens with Nellie Bhattarai
  • 4:00 p.m. – Canning Summer Fruits with Josh Lambert

Tigress Summer Squash Transplants Available

(From Woody Wilson of Wilson’s Home Farms

PSU’s plant science department has an early planting of squash in 4-packs that will not be planted. Woody Wilson is co-ordinating distributing these plants to community gardens and other interested parties. Please contact Woody  for more information. These plants are free, but we ask for donations to cover PSU’s material cost.

Brush Available for Hugelkultur

A blog reader writes: “I have a rather large supply of old brush/wood that I am using to construct my first hugelkulture and will have lots left over.  I wonder if anyone you are in touch with would be interested in using it?  I live 15 minutes north of State College.  I would really love if someone else of like mind could put it to use in their own garden.” Let me know if you’re interested, and I’ll forward your email to the reader.

May 31 – Volunteer Opportunity at Arboretum – Plant Chestnuts

(From Stephanie Dempsey, Chapter Administrator of the PA/NJ Chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation)

We will be planting over one thousand B3F2 American chestnut hybrids for The American Chestnut Foundation at the Penn State Arboretum on Friday, May 31, Monday, June 3 and Tuesday, June 4. Anyone is welcome to join and participate for as little or as long as you’d like on any of the days. If interested, please contact Stephania by r phone (863-7192) for more information and to let them know to expect you.

June 4 – Tuesday Downtown State College Farmers Market Preview

(From Betsy Green)

The market is open from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays on Locust Lane.

  • Larksmirth Manor:  Hardy locally proven perennial plants & spring cut flower in season from Sarah’s garden.
  • Green Acres:  Amos will be bringing green garlic, spring onions, rhubarb, asparagus, head lettuce, and raw honey.
  • Bell and Whistle:  French macaroons in new flavors every week, & as always, gluten free baked goods and vegan items for sale.
  • *NEW Dn’D Farms:  Dessie now has homemade laundry soap!  Her meat & produce CSA shares are available.  Also available: beef & pork.
  • Underhill Farm:  William will hae 3 different kinds of pixelated yarns.  Come check them out.
  • Egg Hill Gardens:  Betsy has beautiful heirloom & hybrid tomato plants, potted herbs, cut flower arrangements and all kinds of healthy greens!
  • Hidden Hollow Farms: Rachel always has a huge array of baked goods & fresh produce.
  • Gemelli Bakers:  Look for assorted flavors of baked granola, semolina loaf and pepperoni bread.
  • *NEW VENDOR: Crystal Hollow Farm:  Menno will be bringing lamb, pork, beef & veal, along with green garlic, spring onions and lettuce.
  • Cottage Confectioner:  As always, Samantha will have her delicious tea cookies and tea cakes.  *NEW-lavender lime tea cookies & strawberry corn cakes!
  • Sun & Moon Creations:  Tammy has Natural Insect Repellent just in time for the humid weather.  Also, natural soaps, essential oils and soap nuts.
  • Spring Bank Acres:  Have you ever tasted Samuel’s vanilla & chocolate ice cream?  What a great summer treat!  Also available: soy-free, GMO free, chemical free eggs from pastured hens.  Rabbit & chicken meat too.
  • Mosers Garden Produce:  Barrie & Mandy are bringing cut peony flowers and many varieties of lettuce.
  • Red Hawk Premium Peppers:  Check out Dan’s full line of hot sauces, jams, and relishes.  Maybe even grow some of his famous peppers…he’ll have some plants on hand too!

News from the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture

PASA E-Newsletter – May 23 Edition, including:

News from Pennsylvania Women’s Agricultural Network

(From Ann Stone)

Thank you to all that participated in our recent Value-Added Goat Dairy Farminer.  Gwen and Cathy Soult of Wayside Acres Goat Dairy delivered an informative presentation on raising dairy goats, milking, cheese production, marketing, and regulations. The Farminar has been recorded and is available online for future reference. Gwen and Cathy are currently serving as PA-WAgN’s 2013 Dairy & Cheese Production Specialty Mentors. Feel free to contact them (717-567-9235) with questions.

Upcoming Farminars:

  • June 11 – Education as a Value-Added Product on the Farm – Noon – 1:00 p.m. Presented by Claire Orner, PA-WAgN’s 2013 Agritourism and On-Farm Education Specialty Mentor –
  • July 1 – Urban Farming – Noon – 1:00 p.m. – Presented by Kirsten Reinford, PA-WAgN’s 2013 Urban Farming, Food Access and Nutrition Specialty Mentor
  • July 15 – Getting Started in Mob Grazing – Noon – 1:30 p.m. – Presented by Judi Radel,  PA-WAgN’s 2013 Animal and Meat Production Specialty Mentor
  • Date TBD – Organic Vegetable Production – Presented by Jennifer Montgomery, PA-WAgN’s 2013 Small Fruits and Vegetables Specialty Mentor

To participate in a farminar, visit PA-WAgN, enter as a guest and participate in a convenient learning opportunity. Also coming up soon:

June 10 – Creating a Customized Food Safety Plan Webinar

Produce farmers interested in creating an on-farm food safety plan are invited to join FamilyFarmed.org and GrowNYC/Greenmarket for the free Creating a Customized Food Safety Plan Webinar on Monday June 10, 2013 at 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EST.

You will learn:

  • How to identify food safety risk areas on your farm;
  • Ways to manage risk;
  • The importance of food safety for growers selling into or hoping to sell into wholesale market;
  • How to create and follow a personalized food safety plan.

The webinar will also address topics covered in the manual Wholesale Success: A Farmer’s Guide to Food Safety, Postharvest Handling, Packing and Selling Produce, which is available for purchase.  Click here to register, space is limited!

June 15 – Two Centre Region Home Brewing Clubs Brewing Together

(From Jens Breffke)

Hello Centre County Black Hops Unit Homebrewers!

After we met twice now at our local microbreweries it’s time to get dirty again and meet for an actual brewing session. I would like to host this brewing session at my place (212 Oakley Dr, State College, PA 16803) on Saturday, June 15, starting at 10 a.m.! I would like to invite everyone who wants to brew to join me with their equipment and we brew all together on my deck/garage/driveway. I am not sure what I will brew yet but I’ll make up my mind soon. I have a potluck BBQ in mind so I will have some sausages and sides here but feel free to bring whatever you like. Plates etc will be provided by me. Bring whatever homebrews you have and want to share to get feedback.

Another news on that occasion: Chris Menseck from the Hoppy Valley HBC (another club in State College) and I met the other day and they want to merge with our club and will join us for the first time on that Saturday. Welcome on board, Hoppy Valley HBC!

I will send out soon an invitation already for a second summer meeting so people can put it in their calendar early on. Cheers and hope to see you soon!

Summer Internship – Penn State Community Garden

(From Scott Salesky, PSU Community Garden President)

The Penn State Community Garden is seeking to hire an intern for summer 2013. Responsibilities include:

  • Holding weekly ‘office hours’ at the garden to answer questions, find practical solutions to problems, provide horticultural advice, as well as lead tours of the garden upon request.
  • Site management tasks, such as filling water tanks, weeding common areas, and maintenance of garden equipment.
  • Assist garden officers in enforcing the gardener agreement, and in planning and facilitating educational workshops.

Applicants for the internship are expected to:

  • Be experienced in vegetable gardening, preferably in organic methods
  • Be in good physical condition
  • Have excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Have strong time management skills and the ability to work independently

The internship position will run for 12 weeks, from June 9 to September 1, 2013. Compensation will be hourly ($8.90/hour), ant the intern will be expected to work about 7 hours per week. To apply, send a cover letter and current resume to Scott Salesky, Center for Sustainability Community Garden president. The deadline for applications is May 31.

Summer Internship – Engineers for a Sustainable World

(From Jordan Crolly)

I am looking to hire an Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) intern for the summer and possibly into the fall and spring semesters. The position focuses on the operation and maintenance of the Solar Smoothie Cart, which is a mobile food sales stand powered by the sun. Other responsibilities include but are not limited to improving ESW’s organization through project development and fundraising.

If you are interested in applying for this position then please send me a copy of your résumé, a brief explanation of why you are interested and why you think you’ll do a good job. I will be conducting interviews via Skype and orientation for the position will be held in State College. If you have any questions about the position then please feel free to ask.

Blog Editor’s Note: More on the Letterpress Plan

I’m hoping to buy an antique press sometime in the next year, or build one – I found some interesting plans online and have an appointment to meet with one of the printmaking instructors in the PSU art department later this week to talk about the possibility of her mentoring me and/or collaborating to build a press over the summer. Penn State apparently doesn’t have a letterpress printer.

My goal is a very small community newspaper focused on sustainability issues (mostly the local food and local energy issues I already cover through the blogs and newsletter.) Maybe one square sheet that’s 18″ by 18″, printed in quadrants on both sides and then folded to be 4.5″ by 4.5″ and distributed through Webster’s, at the farmers’ markets and a few other places.

I’m probably going to keep doing the online updates at least for another year or two – I know there are people who like the convenience of getting the info online, but am also looking ahead at economic and environmental conditions that make centralized power distribution grids less reliable, and would like to be in a position to continue disseminating timely sustainability information even when steady access to electronic devices isn’t something people can count on.

The longer I work on these issues, the more I understand (about myself) that the job I want to have in the local economic system is in the information distribution area, rather than directly in farming or cooking. I love digging up information, organizing it and getting it into the hands of people who can use it.

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