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The Third Annual Farm Festival: Haedalia!

The Kranz Hill Farm at White Clay Creek State Park presents

Fall Farm Fest: Haedalia

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 Farm tours & demonstrations in farming and the fine and practical arts of blacksmithing, pottery crafting, spinning, dance and music; children’s activities: face-painting, interactive story-telling, scavenger hunt, and games; & a bake sale, silent auction, and raffle.

To share with one another our interests and talents, to support the farm’s sustainable agriculture and non-profit educational programs, to celebrate our baby donkey, Tingalao, and our baby goats, Dancer and Prancer, and to dream and plan for the years to come.

Free Admission

Saturday 27 September 2014

10:00 AM to dusk

616 New London Road, Newark, DE 19711

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The 2nd Annual Farm Festival: Haedalia!

Hooray!  The time has come for our fall farm festival, the Haedalia!

We’re busily preparing to welcome you, and what will you find when you arrive? Cheerful farmers and our friends just waiting to share with you the beauty and delights of the farm and the happy, adventuresome possibilities that our non-profit, Omnia Humanitas, encourages in us all.

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 TOURS … There will be tours of the fields, greenhouse, goat paddock, and “Chickentopia”. You can feed the goats ivy and carrot peelings, and grapes and grass to the chickens.

DISPLAYS … There will be a display of the “tools of our trade”,  a slide show about the history of and differences between organic and sustainable agriculture, a music grove with instruments to explore, and a lady of the nobility in Renaissance dress.

DEMONSTRATIONS … There will  be demonstrations of  how to make a soil block, the use of a flame weeder, wheel hoe, and seeder, drop spindle spinning, pottery made on a potter’s wheel, and metal working on a primitive forge.

 FOR THE CHILDREN … The children can enjoy games from the olden days, have their faces painted, take part in a retelling of the tale of Chicken Little and a make-it-ourselves fairy tale , and find their way along what one of our little friends calls, “The Secret Path” (It’s really a tiny bit of deer path we like to traverse!)

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BUILD BENCHES & GUARD GOATS …  This year you can help us decide at which lovely vista points around the farm we should place benches and through your generosity gather the funds to bring home to the farm two goat guardians AKA donkeys!

SILENT AUCTION & RAFFLE … We’ll show you our other plans for the future and listen to your suggestions as well, because, after all, we want you to think of this as your farm too. To bring our future plans to life and to help support your farm and our work, we’ll have a silent auction and raffle.

TASTY TREATS …  We will also have a variety of delectable treats, tea, hot chocolate, and Italian sodas available for purchase.  Water is always provided free of charge.

 MAPS & SCHEDULES …  A map of the farm and a schedule of events will be provided at the information table at the barn. Tours and demonstrations will be scheduled throughout the day and repeated either once or twice. The children’s activities will be available throughout the day. The silent auction and raffle winners will be announced at 6:00 PM, and you do not need to be present to win.

Join us on  Saturday, 28 September 2013,  between 10:00 AM and dusk and enjoy the beauty of our farm FREE OF CHARGE.  We’re so looking forward to your visit, introducing ourselves, and getting to know you.  Welcome to the Kranz Hill Farm!

The Kranz Hill Farm, 616 New London Road, Newark, DE, 19711 USA

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Hooray!  Woolly Bear, one of our goats has delivered her kid, a first for the farm!  Hooray!  Her name is Luna Alba, or Moonbeam to some.  Look for the story this coming Tuesday, but in the meantime, here she is. … Continue reading

Physics on the Farm: Brassica in a Whole New Light

At the farm, we gently wash the vegetables in preparation for the distribution. It’s a meditative process: gently we lay the earth bedecked root crops in the first tub of water. Swish, swish! Swish, swish! One can imagine radish tops as the tail of some exotic koi. One by one, each vegetable in turn, passes through a couple of changes of cool water, so that they’re free of clods and are radiant when you pick them up.

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One afternoon, while washing the collard greens, John noticed that the leaves took on a silvery sheen when submerged. Green above water, silver below. What was going on? The answer is a combination of botany and physics.

Collard Green leaves (as well as the leaves of other Brassica) are covered with a waxy cuticle, a waxy layer that the plant secretes to deter pests from munching its leaves. The waxy cuticle makes the leaf slightly waterproof and that means air bubbles adhere to the surface when the leaf is plunged under water. (Fire ants take advantage of a similar development in their exoskeletons when they make waterproof rafts of themselves to cross rivers or survive floods … but that’s another story!)

But why would a miniscule layer of air look all silvery? This is where the physics comes in.
Light bends when it travels from one medium to another medium of a different density. In the case of our submerged collard green, from the water into the air bubble on the leaf’s surface. When passing from a more dense (water) to a less dense (air) medium, it is possible for the light to get “trapped” in the bubble and not be refracted back out again. This happens if the angle at which the light enters the less dense medium is greater than 48.6 degrees. At that angle, the light entering the air bubble is reflected off the boundary between the air and the water and does not refract – bend or have it’s speed changed enough to pass back through the boundary. This results in what is called ‘total internal reflection’, and we see a silvery surface. Neat, huh?

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For a more detailed explanation of the physics involved see: http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/refrn/u14l3b.cfm

For more on the fascinating fire ant rafts see: http://www.uvm.edu/~cmplxsys/newsevents/pdfs/2011/ant.pdf

Why Has Spring Been So Cold?

 “The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another.  The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.”

Henry van Dyke in Fisherman’s Luck (1899)

             What lovely weather we’ve been having!   Cool evenings, bright, pleasant days, with a bit of rain now and then. True, it’s not the best for growing – a little warmer and wetter would be a little better – but this year’s cool is far better than last year’s brutal heat wave and drought like conditions.  March, the first month of spring, was more than 4°F colder than this past December, the first month of winter.  The March 2013 average temperature was 11.3° F colder than last March’s.  But why has it been so cool?   It has much to do with something called the Arctic Oscillation.

The Arctic Oscillation is a combined measure of barometric pressure and wind current direction and speed that describes the state of atmospheric circulation over the Arctic.  A “positive” Arctic Oscillation means the occurrence of lower pressures and swifter wind speeds preventing the seepage of cold air into the south which results in warmer than average weather with less snow for the eastern U.S. (See the orange bars in the graph below.)

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Image from:  http://eoimages.gsfc.nasa.gov/images/imagerecords/80000/80804/arcticoscillation_2013.png

           The “negative phase” occurs when there is high pressure in the arctic, and the ring of winds circling the pole are weakened allowing the colder arctic air to plunge into the lower latitudes … our latitudes!  This means more late spring snow as recently experienced by the Midwest, and cooler, drier conditions for us.  But it’s warming up, and the rain is on its way.  In fact, the warmth is good news for our tomatoes and eggplants which, as you can see, are nearly bursting from the greenhouse in their eagerness to get their roots into the soil and their leaves into the sun.

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Hooray for Spring!

What can you do with so many radishes anyway?

A unique shot of our radish seedlings a few weeks back.

Our radish seedlings a few weeks back.

With the cool spring we’ve been having many of our crops are growing slowly, but our radishes are thriving!

This unique abundance sent us searching the web for recipes–what do you do with so many radishes anyway?  Here are links to what we found (and an idea of our own).

Radishes with Butter and Sea Salt

Roasted Radishes with Radish Greens

Buttered Radishes with a Poached Egg

Deviled Eggs with Radishes

For a simple and surprisingly lovely side dish, slice radishes thinly, sauté in melted butter.  Cook them to your taste, about 5-10 minutes.

Distributions Begin Next Tuesday!

When you buy a share in the Kranz Hill Farm CSA you receive not only a share in the harvest for the season, but also a share in the life of the farm.

Melanie and Emily weeding 2012

Those who are so inclined are welcome to put on some gloves and dig in.  There will be formal and informal talks about our current practices and past experiments.

In addition to the work and the science, there is in farming a deep love of the land – its subtlety and beauty, its ways and surprises. Come watch the sunrise over the misty woods. Meet the birds and foxes that call our fields home. Enjoy a picnic lunch under a shady tree.

Under the Apple Tree 2012 close up

There is a little spot of land in northern Delaware just waiting for you to fall in love with it.

When we welcome you to our farm, we are welcoming you to participate in the reality of a working farm.

John and Truck 2011

Welcome to the Kranz Hill Farm.

Shares Available for 2013

CSA Shares Available!

Buy a share with us and receive 25 weeks of fresh, local vegetables, herbs, and flowers

◾Large shares for $600, small shares for $400.
◾Vegetables distributed on the farm in Newark, Delaware.
◾Farmer’s market style pick-up
◾Opportunities for education and participation.
◾Goats and chickens to visit and enjoy.
◾Payment plans available.
◾Children of all ages welcome.

Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kranz-Hill-Farm/121028901408320

Call or e-mail for more information: (302) 540-0912; oh.farm@yahoo.com

Contact us soon to get a full season’s produce! Distributions begin in just a couple weeks.

A Man and His Chooks

Warning Farms are Noisy

 

One of the funniest videos I’ve seen in a long time, lets hope that our goats don’t pick up on this trend!