Sunday, April 28, 2013

Weekly Wrap Up on the Farm

As we wrap up our second week here at Woodsong Hollow, here are a few photos around the farm. 

Feeding the chickens in the morning is fun. When we take the feeder down to refill it, this white hen always climbs on top to eat. 

She's one of our favorite birds. She's very vocal and likes to walk around clucking loudly. 

We had a lot of hands on the farm today. Dave and John, a short term work exchanger from Philly, seeded an area where the pigs were last year. Jeff and his son Ty built a new pond in the woods and cleared out a little pool by the house. Nitya and I worked in the garden and completed the brick wall around the herb bed. 

Hello spring time! 

We also worked on mulching the garden beds with this, which is old bags of mushroom substrate from Joe and Angie. It makes great mulch! 

Putting cardboard down in all the paths is a great way to control weeds without the use of pesticides. Getting all the paths lined is a work in progress. We picked up the huge cardboard boxes from the recycling center last week. 

It was beautiful weather for working today. We had lunch in the front yard. 

In the mason jar is homemade yogurt, which Nitya and I made this week. It's a bit tart because we forgot about it and left it sitting out too long, but it was great to learn to make it, and it's still good. We'll do another batch soon. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Tale of Philadelphia and the Camera

Today was our day off, and we decided to take a trip into Philadelphia, which is only a little over an hour away from our work exchange. In true nomad style, we decided to ignore the suggestions of our GPS and find our own way into the city through back roads and suburbs. We got really lucky with our zig-zagging route---we ended up driving through a gorgeous suburban area and found several yard sales. I walked away with two free books from a guy who had put a box of free books on his sidewalk, an old pot we're going to use to make crystalized ginger, and a new sweater, under $5 together. 

We also came across Wissahickon Valley Park, which was a real treat. Today was a beautiful 72 degrees, and everything has recently sprung into vibrant green life. The park, part of the Fairmount Park system, was the perfect space for walking, biking, or just enjoying the day. We highly suggest it if you're in the area! 

Bridges and water are such a great combination for photography. 

Watch out for this! There was tons of poison ivy alongside the trails, so keep your eyes peeled if you decide to forge a new path here. We don't have a poison ivy problem like this at our work exchange, thankfully. 

We were really impressed by downtown Philly. It seems very compact; not that wide or long, but built up, with very narrow streets lined with interesting looking shops and places to eat. This was Washington Square, one of five public squares originally designed by William Penn when he envisioned the city. 

Independence Hall. We ended up just looking at the Liberty Bell through a sneaky window because the line to get inside was so long. 

We want to take a moment to thank everyone who is reading our blog----we have over 2,500 views now! At the beginning of our trip, we couldn't have guessed how important and enjoyable keeping this blog would become to us. We are truly appreciative and happy to have so many people along on our adventures. However, we also have bad news. Dave's camera broke. It has an internal mechanical error with the lens and would be more costly to repair than to replace. As you've noticed, photography is a big part of our blog. It is Dave's contribution as well as his artistic expression. We have ordered a new camera, but the cost was pretty hefty because it really needed to be high resolution to continue providing the high quality photos for our blog. We can use our phone camera, but the quality of photos is not the same without the optical zoom and other features of a regular digital camera. If you've been enjoying our blog and would like to help us offset the cost of the new camera, you could make a purchase from our Etsy store---perhaps a photography print or a vintage advertisement to display. We would be eternally grateful for your support. And again, thank you for reading. Have a wonderful weekend! 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Snippets of Farm Life

Our days here on the farm have been busy and productive. Here's a few snippets of what we've been up to. 

Oh yes. We both wore overalls on the same day. Unfortunately we forgot to get a photo of both of us together in them. Next time. Thanks previous work exchangers who left them in the dresser drawers for others to use! 

We got to go and work a few hours for Joe and Angie at the mushroom farm Tuesday. This was Dave descending into the cooker to retrieve the bags of substrate, which will soon be inoculated and colonized by the mushrooms.  

We also pruned some berry bushes at Joe and Angie's. Thankfully they are a thornless variety. Pruning them was really relaxing. 

This is the field that's been occupying most of our time lately here at Woodsong Hollow Farm. We've gotten the fence repaired, the secondary strand of electric fencing up, the pen assembled, supplies gathered, and feeders and waterers sanitized. Today we were finally able to move the young meat chicks out of the brooder and into their nice new home in a grassy pen. 

One of the disadvantages of life in the country: you get stuck driving behind things like this for a few miles. 

Finally, Dave has found someone else who is just as enthusiastic about using his portable wood stove as he is! Yesterday, Dave cooked several batches of older root veggies for the chickens and some mushrooms for us on his stove. We also had dinner outside sitting around it and got to enjoy the nice evening. 

The back of the farm house. It was so nice yesterday afternoon, our laundry fully dried outside in no time. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Recycling Center Field Trip

Yesterday was our host Nitya's birthday, so we took the morning a bit easy and headed to town to run some errands, one of which was a trip to the recycling center. There's a spot in the kitchen that houses the "weird recycling," the stuff that can't get recycled in the regular bins that get picked up by waste management. We were curious to see where it, as well as a ton of other stuff from around the farm (scrap metal, a broken weather vane, a box of florescent light bulbs, something resembling a rusty anchor) actually ends up, so we packed the pickup truck full and took a field trip. Turns out in ends up in this equally weird and quirky independently owned recycling center, which just celebrated its 42nd year this Earth Day. 

Upon entering the parking lot and paying the $8 fee to drop off our recycling, we were welcomed by the sight of this peacock, who apparently lives at the recycling center. He was really proud to show off to all the visitors. 

I'm not sure how they managed to acquire a recycling center peacock, but the juxtaposition of him with all the junk here was perfect. We could have just spent all day taking pictures of him with different piles of stuff. 

This place was a haven for found materials art. 

There was a pile here for everything. Thankfully Nitya knew her way around, but there were also lots of helpful employees around to help you sort your #1 plastics from your #6's, your styrofoam from your lids, and your electronics from your metals. 

They compress and bundle things like plastic bottles and cardboard boxes, which I assume they then ship off...

...but they also have massive collections of stuff for sale you can browse through, set up in old truck trailers and under various makeshift shelters. Of course I could have spent all day in the book trailer. 

Dave was especially fond of the eyeglass bins. This place would be perfect for anyone looking for supplies for an art project. We could have spent an entire day browsing around. 

The peacock does spend whole days shopping and checking out all the new finds. 

We admit it. We are obsessed with trash. It's fascinating what people throw away, and how other people are able to see it with fresh eyes and utilize it. I'm so happy this place exists to save so much trash from ending up in the landfills. I hope they enjoy another 42 years of turning one person's trash to another's treasure. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Countryside Drives

On our way to Allentown Saturday, we had a beautiful drive through the country. 

This photographic church and cemetery are on aptly named Hill Church road, right down the street from the farm we are staying at. 

The trees in this orchard looked like they should be a commercial for Angry Orchard cider. 

There are tons of orchards in the gently (and not so gently) sloping hills here. 

A view of Allentown in the distance from the crest of a hill. 

This morning, we all went to Jake's Flea Market for a few hours, which was great. Dave and I found eight vintage life magazines, a free record, and a decorative box. We spent the afternoon tying up loose ends of projects from the week around the farm. We're looking forward to moving the chickens down to the lower field and continuing the brick retaining walls and seed planting in the garden as our main projects for this week. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Lehigh University

We took the day off from farm duties to explore some of the surrounding area. After a beautiful drive, we eventually ended up at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. 

Lehigh was a beautiful campus with more of the Gothic architecture Dave really enjoys. It's primarily known for its engineering programs and was originally a technical college. 

It was also a gorgeous day with crisp air and blue skies. 

The outside of the Lehigh's library...

And the inside! This library, with its spiral staircases and rotunda full of books, was a great unexpected surprise. 

So cool! I could just live inside here. 

This is the stained glass dome in the library's ceiling. (!!!) 

This library also had an incredible collection of very old books. This is an original by Mr. Audubon himself from1827. Audubon gave life-size paintings to his publisher, who transferred them to copper plate etchings. They were then printed in black on white paper, and each was hand-colored according to Audubon's specifications. There were only about 200 sets produced, and only about 120 remain today. How cool to see one in person! The book was huge. 

More of the university's really great buildings and geometric pathways winding through lush green space. 

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