Saturday, October 24, 2009

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

As the summer days started to grow shorter I began think about our imminent departure and how we will deal with the critters we've collected on our tiny farm. Just maybe, it might be a good idea to test the waters and see if there will be any marketable interest in the agricultural accoutrements we have collected over the past few years. I took a few photos and placed some ads on Craig's List only be blown away by the response. My ad for the chicken coop drew a huge response with people as far away as Albany ready to drop everything and come for the hens and their little shack.

Sky is Falling, Miss Broody and Freckles (Roadrunner astray as usual)

Home Sweet Home

Good bye Sky is Falling, Miss Broody, Freckles and Roadrunner. We will miss your delicious eggs.

We could have sold these ladies in a flash but decided we had parted with too much already. There is always a market for handsome livestock such as these girls, so we will wait until spring. (No, goats don't eat gourds or tin cans either. They do eat poison ivy, briar bushes, brambles, hostas, fruit trees and almost anything except grass)

This year was a poor season for honey bees but I was able to sell four hives rather quickly; and just four to go. Again the interest in anything agricultural amazes me. (try to sell some antique furniture; that is an uphill battle if there ever was one)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

KEETF Green Tour

On Sunday I took a tour of four alternative energy installations in Kent, CT. The tour included an institutional geothermal system, a grid tied photovoltaic system, a grid tied wind turbine system and an off grid photovoltaic, battery bank system. Despite the foul weather (constant rain mixed with snow) the tour was well attended and I was able to take some quick photos:

The geothermal system turned out to be at the South Kent School. Pictured above are the twelve "loops" that lead out underground to the geothermal wells. Aside from this the interior components don't look much different from standard HVAC ducts etc.

The first residence I visited had a grid tied 3.8 KW photovoltaic system that provided 85% of the electrical load for this house. Not too shabby for cloudy Connecticut.

The next grid tied system I viewed was a vertical axis 1 kw wind turbine. This was installed less than a week ago so no performance record was available.

The grid tied systems always include an interior CL&P meter.

North east corner of the off-grid home. Note how the north wall is largely below grade. This house is .6 miles away from the grid; the PV system really paid off here.

The 240 volt inverter, charge controller, battery bank, etc. Note the "on demand" water heater as well. This system provides about 60 amps of power and is backed up by a propane generator if needed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Apple and Pumpkin Picking

Last week end we went to Ellsworth farm in Sharon with the Romanos to pick apples and pumpkins. The weather was perfect and the farm was packed with eager customers searching for the perfect pumpkin. We all had a good time tasting the different varieties of apples and picking the pumpkins right off the vine. There was plenty for everybody despite the crowd. You can see Ellsworth's website here: Link

Andrew can't decide which apples to pick there are so many.

John finds a pumpkin with personality.

It was a joy to spend the afternoon with these young lads.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Martha Goes Aloft

12' coach + 6' woman = 18' above the ground so high!

On our final day in Pennsylvania someone had to go up top to clean the acorns and leaves off the slide outs. Martha decided the time had come for her to try out the rear ladder and overcome her fear of being 12 feet off the ground. She did so with magnificent ease!

When we got home there was an interesting cloud over the lake the next morning. Check out the photo at the bottom.

Will this now become Martha's duty?

Looking aft in the compressed (travel) mode. The galley (left) and dinette (right) each move out about 2 feet to create a much larger living space.

The bunny cloud. Nutmeg, our pet rabbit for 3 years, died a few days later-weird huh.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

More Philly and The Wentz Farmstead

While visiting Greg and Jenny's new digs we took a 10 minute walk to Greensgrow Market. I had seen a story about this on CBS Sunday Morning sometime last year. In summary, Greensgrow is an urban agriculture farm and market on a once vacant one acre lot in an inner city neighborhood near the Fishtown area of Philadelphia. You can learn more about it here Link

On our last day in the Philadelphia area we visited the Peter Wentz Farmstead with Aunt Josie and Uncle Willy. In 1777 the Wentz farm served as headquarters for George Washington when he planned his strategy to keep the British forces from occupying Philadelphia.

Greensgrow street corner

Inside Greensgrow

Unlike the wood barns in New England the 18th and 19th century barns here in Pennsylvania are all built with stone. The Wentz barn is exceptionally well built. Though I have looked I haven't seen an outhouse yet. The expression "built like a brick sh*t house" had to have come from this area.

The Wentz house and garden

A nice old snake fence on the farm

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Nation is Born

On Wednesday we went into downtown Philadelphia to tour Independence National Historical Park with our tour guide, Greg. Our tour began at Independence Hall where our official tour guide (Ranger) gave our group a brief history of what we were about to see. Eventually we were led to the very room where our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were created and signed by the Continental Congress. How these affluent, wealthy men risked everything; life, liberty, and wealth to create our great nation is unimaginable in today's world. I don't see how any American could visit Independence Hall and not be awestruck by the magic of this experience. It has certainly left a lasting impression on me.

The very room where our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed. George Washington sat in the center chair (I sure hope they got their facts straight; everywhere I go George seems to have slept there)

The Liberty Bell is show cased in a separate building opposite Independence Hall. Its perfect placement allows anyone with a camera to take home a beautiful photograph.

Tour guide, Greg, and Mom at the Love Fountain with City Hall in the Background.

Philadelphia is a World Class City. Every where you look you can find beauty, color and stunning architecture.

Martha and Terry at the Love Fountain

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Longwood Gardens

We have wanted to visit Longwood Gardens for some time now. We were not disappointed. The photos describe it best.

After visiting Longwood Gardens, Nancy (AKA our new GPS), guided us for 18 miles to Camping World in New Jersey. Here we were able to fill the car with tire covers, A/C covers, antifreeze and a MaxxAir vent to keep Dessy from freezing this winter.

Triple Fountain Display in the Children's section

Nip and Tuck for a Water Garden

A Cactus Garden

Five Foot Long Living "Bee" Plants

Terry and the Giant Pumpkin

One of Three Tree Houses

The Garden Railway had Four Trains Running

Another Tree House

In the Topiary Garden

One of Many Water Fountain Displays

Martha and the Gourd and Pumpkin Cornucopia Display

Our Favorite
Seven Foot dia. Lily Pads!