The Month of Thanksgiving – Day Thirty

For those who came before us, we are truly grateful!

As this month ends, we are giving thanks for the four generations of our family that have made this farm our home.

(1) Andrew and Amy moved from Greene County, Pennsylvania to our farm in 1890. They were in their 60’s when they came . Grandmother Amy, who was always frail, came in her buggy, with her beautiful buggy horse.

(2) David and Hannah were married only about a year when they came along with Grandfather Andrew and Grandmother Amy. They moved from Pennsylvania in wagons, driving their cattle along with them.

(3) Lena and Cecil Ray, Grandma and Poppy

(4) Robert and Dorthy, our Dad and Mom

Restore Yourself

The final day at the West Virginia Small Farms Conference began with a very educational presentation from Linda Whaley from the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health about food safety, especially at Farmers Markets. She sure cleared up a lot of things we were wondering about. Following Linda, Chef Dale Hawkins, a strong advocate for local foods presented information about several research projects he is working on.

And then the presentation we were really looking forward to, “How to Prevent Pain and Restore Yourself”. Margaret Carr, a certified Iyengar yoga instructor from the Inner Life Yoga Studio, had us all up stretching, breathing intentionally and opening our minds. Wow, it really was refreshing!

Margaret Carr compliments of Inner Life Yoga Studio

Pam West of West Farms in Lewisburg spoke about a “Small Farm in a Small Town”. (Could not find a website for West Farms, but then again it doesn’t sound like Pam has time to eat or sleep let alone manage a website) This woman had us all wondering about how much time we must waste. Her accomplishments are amazing; done with one seasonal helper. A SARE educator, she shared her imaginative sustainable management techniques using high tunnels, crop rotations, and her 100 head of sheep among other things.

To top things off for us, Dave Miller from Mountain Diamond Longhorns told us about his farm operation in Tunnelton. This was a treat because we always enjoy seeing Woody at the Buckwheat Festival.

A huge thanks to Tom McConnell and the staff at the West Virginia University Extension Service for this great conference! We are heading back to the farm refreshed, renewed and inspired!

Of Strawberries, Soil and Animals

Back to the West Virginia Small Farms Conference today! Again, a very educational day. First up, Steve Groff from Cedar Meadow Farm speaking about “Soil Health / Cover Crops and Management Techniques”. Steve has traveled extensively sharing information on his “Permanent Cover Cropping System”. He shared knowledge gained from French farmers on their cover cropping techniques. Who knew that tillage radishes could be so interesting.

Photo compliments of Cedar Meadow Farm

Willie Lantz gave a presentation on “Growing Summer Strawberries for the Fresh Market”. His research for the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Office was very exciting. We might have to give this one a try. (Hey, did we mention that we buy chicken feed from Willie’s dad?)

Louis and Megan Roy from White Oak Ridge Farm provided information on “Raising and Processing Pastured Poultry”. This is another venture we have been very interested in so it was great to see what they are doing on their farm. It’s nice to know that there is a family-operated, USDA (almost) approved processor so near by.

Several West Virginia University professors gave presentations ranging from “Ask the Meat Specialist”, “Nutrient Cycling” and “Soil Health” to “Grass Fed Beef” and “Too Far From the Vet”. All in all, another exciting and educational day!

Burning Up the Road

We are attending the West Virginia Small Farm Conference this week. Today is all about energy. Among others, Matt Sherald from Power in My Backyard gave a presentation about ‘Small Wind and Solar Applications for Farm and Home’ that was very educational. We got a lot of information from the USDA, REAP, NRCS and even the IRS (all the relevant acronyms).

One of the most entertaining speakers was Wayne Keith from Alabama, speaking about his “Bio-Truck”.

He actually drove it all the way from Alabama without using a drop of gas. After his presentation we all trudged outside to take a look at it. Pretty cool!