Spring Creek Homesteading News – July 24, 2012

(Sent out to the ConstantContact list-serve a few days ago…)

August Workshops

Spots Still Open in the five remaining Summer Reskilling Workshops. Sign up by calling 237-0996 or by email.

  • Aug. 4 – Fruits, Berries and Herbs – Use & Winter Storage, with LaCreta Holland – 9 a.m. to noon at Friends Meeting House
  • Aug. 5 – Clay Oven Building and Bread Baking with Dana Stuchul and Chris Uhl – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Aug. 11 – Everything Corn! Cooking Class with LaCreta Holland – 9 a.m. to noon at Friends Meeting House
  • Aug. 12 – Building a Rain Barrel System with Josh Lambert – 2 to 4 p.m. at 156 W. Hamilton Ave.
  • Aug. 25 – Everything Tomato! Cooking Class with LaCreta Holland – 9 a.m. to noon at Friends Meeting House

Planning for the Fall series will begin soon. Possible topics: Home Cheese-making; Making Homemade Sausage; Making Scrapple; Cooking (feature TBD); Building a Top-Bar Bee Hive; How to Tie Basic Knots for Home & Farm; Small Engine Maintenance & Repair; Basic Bicycle Maintenance & Repair; Building a Solar Drier; Making New Sweaters from Old Wool Sweaters; Basic Sewing (3 course series); Beginner Quilting; Making Santa Clauses from Apples; Beginner Meditation; Beginner Massage.

Also, if you have a good place to hang a flier – a community or church bulletin board, shop window, etc. – and would like to receive a paper copy of the poster by mail, please let me know and I’ll print one and send it to you for posting.

Other Upcoming Workshops

Saturday, July 28, 10 a.m. Gardening with Cover Crops – with Charlie White. Location: PSU Center for Sustainability Community Garden. Contact Mark Dempsey for more info.

Friday August 3 & Saturday, August 4 – Solar-Powered Greenhouse Workshops at the PCO Organic FarmFest (at the Grange Fairgrounds). Presented by Penns Valley Conservation Association, Envinity and the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund. Workshop attendees will learn how to grow vegetables and fruits nearly year round in a mini-high tunnel using renewable solar energy. This workshop covers siting and building the high tunnel and installing renewable energy in it. The Mini-High Tunnel workshop is scheduled for 4:30 PM on Friday, August 3 and 1:30 PM on Saturday, August 4. Seats are limited to 25 people per class. Please contact FarmFest Coordinator Erin McCracken to save your spot.

August 4 – “Canning Summer Fruits” and “Building a Cold Frame” workshops at PCO Organic FarmFest. Presented by Spring Creek Homesteading.

Full PCO FarmFest Workshop Schedule.

Saturday, September 8, 10 a.m.: Garden-Scale Composting – with Rick Stehouwer. Location: CFS Community Garden. Details TBA.

FRIENDS & FARMERS COOPERATIVE MARKET – August Meetings

The steering committee for the Friends & Farmers Cooperative grocery store will meet twice in August – Wednesdays, August 1 and 15, both at 7 p.m. at Webster’s Bookstore Cafe. Check out the Voices article Carolyne Meehan wrote about the Friends & Farmers Co-op in the July/August “Local Foods” issue (see page 8).

They’re continuing their work on legal and financial foundations. If you’d like to help out during the start-up phase, or are interested in being a member of the co-op when they’re ready to sign up members, email membership coordinator Elizabeth Crisfield at

AUTUMN POTLUCK – September 20 

Next Quarterly Potluck is Thursday, September 20 at 6 p.m. at the State College Borough Building, 243 S. Allen St. Please RSVP so we can keep a count and plan accordingly.

FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE COMMUNITY GARDEN – UPDATE

Thanks to John Everhart of Everhart Landscaping, the four-foot wire fence and two wooden gates are up, including four sturdy wooden corner posts. This week we’re bringing the leftover hay and compost inside the fence. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be building a few more raised beds, mulching a few patches that got missed, maybe weed-whacking and laying some wood chips on the upper paths, and creating some new benches.

I’m also working on a written summary of the process of renovating the garden as it’s unfolded over the last few months to capture material, financial and labor inputs, to be used in advocating for more community gardens over the next few years.

Homebrew Club – Now Forming

Dustin Kennedy is organizing a Homebrew Club, following his column in the Centre Daily Times June 28 – “Calling all home-brewing aficionados.” I think he’s aiming to have a first organizing meeting sometime in August; the group is currently choosing a name. Email Dustin Kennedy for more info.

Downtown Tool Stores & Tool Banks

Hardware StoresLast e-newsletter, I wrote about an idea for a downtown urban farm supply store. Since then, I attended a business startup workshop offered by the Small Business Development Center at Penn State and decided starting a for-profit business isn’t a project I’m interested in doing. Instead, I’m planning to lobby the owners and managers of existing area hardware stores (Ace, Lowe’s, Home Depot, True Value, Triangle) to see if any of them are interested in opening a branch store downtown, possibly with a membership feature allowing interested downtown residents to help them pay the (currently) high commercial rents while keeping prices the same as at their main stores.

Tool Banks – Several months ago, I reached out to the State College Area Food Bank about funding creation of a tool bank or lending library for food bank clients to borrow gardening tools to use in their home food gardens. Operations Manager Ernest Boyd liked the idea, and I’ve reached out to Cricket Hunter at PA-Interfaith Power & Light for help in finding a State College congregation to host the tool bank in a shed or garage. We’re also contacting local Boy Scout leaders to see if any Scouts might want to set up the Tool Bank as an Eagle Scout project. Will keep you posted as the pieces of the puzzle come together.

Strategic Planning – Spring Creek Homesteading Fund

As we’ve gotten more settled, we’re trying to focus on a few specific relocalization functions, including:

  • Maintaining the blog and email list as information resources for Centre County residents interested in community resilience and sustainability
  • Organizing quarterly homesteading workshops – No more than eight to 10 each quarter.
  • Organizing social events including quarterly local foodie potlucks and monthly Webster’s meet-ups for homesteaders to compare notes, share challenges, pick each others brains for problem-solving, and just hang out. (Thanks go to Cathy Cohan for that meet-up idea.)

Three other key initiatives will be getting time investment for the next few months.

  • Applying for 501(c)3 status with the IRS (lots of paperwork).
  • Pulling together information gathered through the blog for the last few years to draft a hard-copy community food resilience assessment of sorts. “Weaving the Safety Potholder” will hopefully be a useful tool for more advocacy of public relocalization projects, plus a directory of brick-and-mortar resources for urban and suburban homesteaders. It’s shaping up – slowly – through the “Big Picture” page at the blog, with a goal of having it ready for printing by the end of the year.
  • Organizing an Annual Fund Drive – “Friends of Spring Creek Homesteading” – to help support our programs.

Thanks much.

-Katherine

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