Welcome to Painted Hand Farm

Painted Hand Farm is a 20 acre Civil War era farm located in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. We raise meat goats, veal calves, turkeys and organic vegetables using humane and sustainable agricultural practices.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

PA Renewable Energy & Sustainable Living Festival

One of my favorite events of the year is the Pennsylvania Renewable Energy & Sustainable Living Festival held in beautiful Kempton. It is put on by the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association. That's the red Prius being auctioned off. Despite finding a lucky penny prior to purchasing my raffle ticket, I did not win a new car. My congratulations to Samantha Kifer, who did.
The festival has something for everyone! Unable to attend for the entire weekend like I usually do, this year I took my daughter and a friend of hers along for Students' Day on Friday. The noon-time keynote speaker was Colin Beavan, the No Impact Man. Throughout the day, there were numerous workshops held in tents throughout the grounds. My favorite was Weird Alcohol Feedstocks, High Profit, High Yield, Ecological Alternatives to Corn
given by David Blume, Executive Director, International Institute for Ecological Agriculture who spoke about using a wide array of normal and strange crops can flourish in deserts, marshes, marginal farmland that produce 4-30 times the yield of corn and 2-10 times the animal feed per acre for as little as 30 cents per gallon. After his presentation, I was wondering how long it would be before Monsanto or Exxon put a contract out on him. Besides workshops, there are plenty of other things to do, like EAT. You won't find any blooming onions or funnel cakes here...just lots of good food. There's something for everyone, from 'Fake Steaks' for the vegetarians to Jambalaya cooked right in front of everyone. The festival really excells at reducing their environmental impact by requiring all food vendors to use compostable or recyclable service wares. The well-marked waste cans liberally distributed throughout the grounds reflect this as there are three to each station--compost, recyclables and trash. Notice that the 'trash' cans are only 5-gallon buckets. The refuse is regularly picked up by volunteers driving GEM electric utility vehicles. This one is street-legal with a range of 40 miles and a top speed of 30mph. For those of who need to travel a little further and faster, there were plenty of examples of alternatively powered vehicles.
This is a full-sized diesel pick up with a waste oil conversion.
This guy builds and uses solar powered riding lawn mowers.
There were some all-electric cars, too.
There was some good old fashioned horse power.
And pedal power. If you're wondering what that mass of plastic bags is.....
...it's the Bag Monster from Chico Bags. Check out the Bag Monster's blog. The Bag Monster wasn't the only one dressed up to make a point. MAREA volunteers donned the 'trash hat' to raise awareness to festival goers at to what was trash and what wasn't.

There were also vendors offering a wide variety of stuff for sale, like native plants, natually made soaps, fiber arts and fresh vegetables and meats at the farmers market sponsored by PASA. Inside the main building, there were lots of sustainable businesses and organizations with information displays. Dickinson College, one of the leaders in sustainability in the nation, was there along with companies with products made from renewable resources, those promoting sustainable practices such as collecting rainwater in barrels and one of my favorites, Northern Sun. Some of the exhibitors had eye-catching displays. No matter where you went, there were plenty examples of renewable energy in action. This solar collector powered a sound system blaring out classic tunes.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tractors On Parade

When we hear the familiar put-put-put-put of our neighbors' restored John Deere tractors heading down the road, it's usually in July for the the Newburg Rural Days Festival, however, there was no mistaking the sound on Sunday. They must have been having a picnic or tractor rally because a whole line of beautifully restored tractors paraded by our farm. It was a gorgeous day out and I'm sure they were having a fantastic time.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Why We Roast Goats on Labor Day

Long before there was a goat roast at Painted Hand Farm, there was the Skarlatos family lamb roast on the Saturday prior to Labor Day. They had such a cool rotisserie, that we asked to borrow it to roast a goat prior to it being put away for the following year. Given that the lamb roast is always a late night gig that usually culminates with everyone using the hay wagon as a dance floor under the stars and illuminated by a bonfire, we need at least a day to recover before we can toss another shindig.
Even though we now have our own Kane BBQs (here's a great shot of the Kane Clamps--a must for roasting whole animals on a spit), the Labor Day date has stuck. This year's lamb came from Otterbein Acres, just down the road. The grass-fed lamb was phenomenal! As always, Spiro, Danny, Bob and Brian do the carving
And Mac brings home-churned ice cream.
Spanikopita anyone?
No lamb roast would be complete without a ride around the farm on the hay wagon.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Everyone Get Enough to Eat?

Well, it's official--we survived our 7th annual Labor Day Goat Roast & Picnic, albeit, we're still cleaning up and breaking down while life goes on at the farm. In a way, it's like an early Thanksgiving and a late Fourth of July. This year we managed to go through two goats, a turkey, a ham, twenty pounds of bratwurst, six dozen ears of corn, two gallons of ice cream (cow milk peach & sheep milk blueberry and a gallon of salsa--all produced locally and by many of the guests, as well! We'd also like to thank everyone for all of the amazing wonderful foods they brought along to share. Grandma Buck's Zucchini Banana Pickles were my personal favorite this year.
When it comes to getting the coals going in order to start roasting, Ralph doesn't mess around. As the goat roast continues to grow, so does the number of goats on the spit. This is the first year to roast two goats. For anyone wanting to roast whole animals, I'd highly suggest a Kane BBQ. We're so happy with ours, we now have two. A big thanks to Jamie from Cumberland County 4-H/Big Spring FFA who raised this year's 'guests of honor'.
Guests rolling into Painted Hand Farm in style.

I know you're in Paradise, Jim, but you were here in spirit adding much beauty to the picnic. Maybe someday.....
4-H meets Buy Fresh, Buy Local.
Ralph offers a taste of roasted goat meat to the Shughart family.
Some of our regular customers at the Downtown Carlisle Central Farmers Market.
Judy & Jonas Stoltzfus, of JuJo Acres in Perry County raise the BEST Certified Organic grass-fed Limosine beef.
Mark Toigo, from Toigo Orchards and Melanie Dietrich Cochran of Keswick Creamery, both Dupont Circle Farmers Market veterans, enjoy some downtime after a busy weekend of metropolitan farmers markets.
Mary Toigo (left) supplied the fresh sliced peaches for the cow milk ice cream.
Mary Pat & Rick Henry have been to quite a few of these goat roasts, haven't you? They make awesome fresh salsa with fresh stuff from their gardens.
Even the canine guests had lots of treats today!

The tree people have banded together! Julie (2nd from right) made those awesome pickles.
The Singley family from Bearlin Acres did a phenomenal job at carving the smoked turkey.
The teens keeping the toddler entertained.
This is Dr. Klinedinst, my crack dealer....sorry Eric, you know that's my favorit joke! Seriously, he's a fantastic chiropractor and supporter of local foods. Eric was the original mover & shaker for the Downtown Carlisle Farmers Market and understands the link between the health of ourselves, our communities, our enviornment and the food we eat. Give him a shout if you're in need of re-alignment. I know I'm going to need a fix after this party.
The cornwatchers are my brother, Dave and his friend Steve. They grew up together, worked together, fished together and are now back in college together. Steve has been dating Donna who grew up across the street from the farm. Her parents still live there. All this spread across two counties, not just in the same town. What are the chances..... No one ever goes hungry at the goat roast! Although David & Sheilah from Cedarbrook Farm had to leave early to pick up their son from summer camp, they left another one of those bone-gnawingly scrumptious hams. Last year I caught someone sucking the juice out of the completely stripped bone, just to get one last taste. Their pork is combined with our veal to make the braswursts. Now you know why the links are so delicious.
Although this may look like regular ol' macaroni & cheese, it's made with some of the best artisan cheeses in central Pennsylvania. Yummy!

Babies, babies everywhere!

Hey Mom, I found more of those little fly tents in Target's dollar bins.
"I'm helping to make 'booberry ice beam'" says Madeline after finishing up with her finger painting.