September 2013 – Spring Creek Homesteading News

(PDF version: September 2013 – SCHF News)


September 11 – Second Annual Plow to Plate Harvest Dinner

Fall in Central Pennsylvania brings the bounty, beauty, and variety of the fall harvest.  To celebrate the harvest, the Boalsburg Farmers Market in cooperation with the Mount Nittany Winery is sponsoring its “Plow to Plate Harvest Dinner” featuring the vegetables and fruits that ripen as the last of summer’s crops are replaced by those that thrive in the fall.

Some of the best chefs in Happy Valley will prepare soups and side dishes from both summer crops, including eggplant, peppers, okra, garlic,onions, melons,  and from fall favorites including  acorn and butternut squash, pumpkins, kale, spinach, other fall greens, kohlrabi, and apples.  They will also offer main dishes using  pasture-raised, sustainably produced local meat, and deserts.

The dinner will be held at the beautiful Mt. Nittany Winery on Wednesday, September 11, and will gather a number  of our area’s best chefs, including Jamie Steffen (Nittany Lion Inn), Charles Niedemyer (Nola’s Joint), Ben Stanley (El Gringo Tacos), Bob Ricketts (Fasta & Co), Nathan Brungarten (Mount Nittany Inn),  Paul Kendeffy (Gamble Mill Restaurant and Brewery),  Harrison Schailey (Harrisons), and Andy Rose (Elk Creek Café)  to create a variety of dishes from ingredients from the fall harvest of Boalsburg Farmers Market vendors.

Tickets ($35 per adult, kids under 12 free) are available at the Boalsburg Farmers Market (Tuesdays, 2:00 to 6:00 at the Pa Military Museum in Boalsburg), at Webster’s Café, 133 E. Beaver Ave. in State College, and at the Tait Farm Store on Route 322 East of Boalsburg. Vineyard and Winery tours begin at 5:00 PM, with dinner starting at 6:00. The Winery is located at 300 Houser Road, off of Brush Valley Road.

In addition to tours of the vineyard and winery, guests will be able to talk both with the chefs and some of the Boalsburg Farmers Market farmers  throughout the evening about their farms and the joys and challenges of growing for the local community. Guests will receive a complimentary glass of Mt. Nittany wine. Music will be provided by “Richard and Papa”, Richard Sleigh and Gary Brubaker, two long time State College musicians. They will team up for a duo of guitars, harmonica, violin and singing of tunes from many eras and genres, encouraging all to join in the singing and fun.

Speaking of the event, market co-manager Tony Sapia observed that “This will be a celebration of local food and wine, a tribute to the quality and variety of the local food available at the Boalsburg Farmers Market, and an opportunity to meet some of our best local chefs.”Part of the proceeds from the dinner will be given to support school gardens in the State College Area School District and the Boalsburg Market’s “Learning Kitchen” cooking demonstration in 2014.

September 12 – “Our Energy Future” Public Forum at PSU

Penn State will be hosting an informational public meeting “Our Energy Future: A Long-Term Commitment to Reduced Consumption and Emissions: 2013-2050” from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12, in the Hetzel Union Building Auditorium on the University Park campus. Speakers will update the community on Penn State’s energy plans for the near and long-term future, including the conversion of the West Campus Steam Plant from coal to natural gas andthe route of the new gas pipeline through University Park.

The meeting will address the age and capacity of the University Park campus steam plants and necessary compliance with Environmental Protection Agency Clean Air Act emissions regulations that will take effect in January 2016. Penn State has succeeded in reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases by nearly 18 percent since 2005 and has set anambitious new reduction goal of 35 percent by 2020. Speakers also will present the University’s potential beyond-2020 energy and greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategies.

The meeting will conclude with a moderated question-and-answer period, and responses to all questions submitted will be posted online.

September 14 – Autumn Homesteaders’ Potluck 

6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Katherine & Josh’s house – 156 West Hamilton Ave. Max. 20 guests. RSVP at 237-0996 or SignUpGenius. Kids & elders welcome: big table, lots of toys, backyard sandbox.

September 17 – Local Foods Dinner #2 in Redifer Commons 

Following up on the smashing success of the first PSU Local Foods Dinner on April 24. See Rachel Hoh’s full report here.

September 21 – Oyler’s Organic Farms Workshop Series (Biglerville)

Sept. 21 – A is for Apple, Nov. 2 – Fermented Foods, Nov. 21 – Savory Winter Soups, Dec. 7 – Christmas Cookies for Kids

October 2 – “Naturally Green: Student Engagement in Sustainability” at Shaver’s Creek

Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center and Penn State Sustainability Institute present Naturally Green: Student Engagement in Sustainability on Wednesday, October 2 from 1:00 PM until 4:30 PM.

Spend the day at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center celebrating the incredible work of successful student organizations in Penn State’s zero waste and sustainability efforts.  Discover ways to create similar programs in your school or business and how to get people involved.  Cost is $8.00 per person, $5.00 per student, and includes a zero-waste snack.  Transportation is provided, with bus stops at the HUB at University Park at 11:30 AM and at the State College Target parking lot at 12:00 PM. Registration.  Call Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center for more information at 814-863-2000 or 814-667-3424.

September 28 – Seed Saving Simplified – Workshop at the Penns Valley Learning Garden in Millheim

11:00-12:00 at the The Learning Garden at the Millheim Farmers Market. Join Warren Leitzel for an informative discussion and demonstration on seed saving techniques. Penn’s Valley Community Learning Garden is an educational hands-on learning lab inspiring people to garden. Learn the difference between hybrids, open-pollinated plants, cultivars and genetically modified organisms. Find out how you can select plants for seeds, dry them, and the proper way to store them. Millheim Farmer’s Market is located on route 45 West of Millheim in the VFW Pavilion.

September 28 – 2nd Annual Light Step Right Step Festival – “Our Community, Our Water!” 

The Borough of State College and partner Clearwater Conservancy will be hosting the 2nd annual Light Step, Right Step Festival in downtown State College. This year’s festival theme is “Our Community, Our Water” and will be focused on water resource protection, conservation, and best management practices. The festival will include a rain barrel workshop funded through a grant from the Water Resources Education Network as well as exhibitors related to water resource conservation and environmental sustainability, presentations and workshops, children’s activities, and local music and food.

Spring Creek Homesteading’s Josh Lambert will present an applesauce canning workshop at 11 a.m.

Participating groups include: Centre County Conservation District, Centre Region Refuse & Recycling, Trout Unlimited, Spring Creek Chapter, Transition Towns State College, Penn State Student Sustainability Advisory Council, Engineers for a Sustainable World, New Leaf Initiative, PSU American Solar Energy Society, Like Water for Life, League of Women Voters, Environmental Committee.

October 18 – 20 – “Preparing Your Winter Pantry” Hands-on Learning Weekend at Quiet Creek Herb Farm in Brookville 

Learn the key concepts of preparing the fall harvest at your farm or home garden. Learn how to make sourdough and sprouted wheat breads, homemade pizza, collect wild and cultivated mushrooms, make Kim Chi, sauerkraut, pesto, yogurt/soft cheeses, can your own salsa, prepare herb seasoning/tea blends, and fruit leather.

The theory of building a learning community will be applied in hands-on classes which include whole foods cooking, drying, freezing, sprouting, fermentation, and hot water bath canning. In addition to formal classes, the following optional activities are available for those interested: mountain biking (bikes & helmets provided), hiking, yoga, journaling, Sunday worship, and a community music circle (feel free to bring your own instruments!)

Cost:  $275 ($20 discount for PASA members) includes three relaxing days, 6 whole foods meals, practical experience and knowledge to preserve the season’s harvest at your location, take home goodies, and enjoy two creative nights of lodging.  Class limited to 20 participants. Applications Due: October 5. Register by contacting Claire Orner by email or by phone at 814-849-9662. Schedule of events and more available online.

October 18 – 21 – Powershift 2013

Powershift is a large (10,000+) youth climate conference – in Pittsburgh this year – bringing in activists from around the country.


New Yahoo Group 

Jennifer Landry suggested that I create a message group for homesteaders, to help people connect with each other and share homesteading news now that I’m taking a break from blog maintenance. Here’s the Spring Creek Homesteaders Yahoo Group link, including addresses to subscribe, post messages and unsubscribe. It’s an unmoderated “Information-sharing and support group for Central PA homesteaders. Use it to announce events, request help with projects, offer services and anything else homesteading-related.”

Newsletter Subscription Link(s)

In case you fall off this Constant Contact subscribers’ list and want to jump back on, or if you want to pass a link along so friends and family can sign up for the monthly newsletter.

Also, I’m no longer compiling detailed workshop information from a variety of local organization, so readers interested in staying up-to-date with those organizations are encouraged to subscribe to their newsletters directly using the list here.

Homesteaders Handbook & Survey Results

The Homesteaders’ Handbook is now available for free download as a PDF – chock full of information about the local food system in Central PA. Also useful – what Central PA homesteaders are interested in learning and doing, captured through a June 2013 SCHF survey.


If you’re interested in teaching a workshop, starting a homesteading project support group/cooking club, or launching any other local food or local energy project and would like to pick my brain for information, networking contacts or whatever, please email or call me (237-0996). I would LOVE to put my last few years of learning to work by connecting active folks with other active folks to help make good stuff happen.

Homesteader’s Library 

Josh and I have put together a good collection of homesteading books over the last few years. If you want to borrow any, there’s a list of available titles at the blog at a new Library page. Drop in Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evenings 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 156 West Hamilton Ave. (but call first, just in case our whole family has evening activities away from home – 237-0996)

Writing and PublishingStymie Bold Type

Burnout recovery is going well. The first edition of the Homesteader’s Quarto, paper version, will be out Monday, September 16. Paper copies will be available at Webster’s, in the Spring Creek Homesteading shadowbox on the ramp, for 25 cents each. Electronic copies will be available on the blog.

The printing press is still under construction, so for the time being, the weekly newspaper will be printed at a local print shop. Recent acquisition – roughly 1800 pieces of type “from the 132-year-old newspaper/printing plant, The River Press, in Fort Benton, Montana, which opened in 1880 covering local news including new gold rushes, range wars, and a shoot-out involving outlaw Kid Curry. Eventually Montana was declared a State in 1889, and later a great land rush in 1908 to 1913 brought many new homesteaders to the area.” More info about the type.

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