Mountain Dale Farm

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The Puppies are Gone

The last of the 8 puppies that survived Roxie’s 10 pup litter was purchased on August 13, 2017. However, the new owner requested the puppy, named Rylee, remain at the farm until September 9. They planned to pick her up after their trip to Disney World. We thought it was a good fit as our guests could enjoy her over Labor Day weekend.  However, a few days later, we received an email from the buyer stating,  “Having some things going on and it’s just not going to be the right time to bring a dog into the house. You can keep the money I gave you for her and use it for her. She’s a sweetie and I wish it could have worked out. ”  Well… since the puppy was paid for,  Isaac decided to donate her to a family who had purchased a puppy earlier but, through an unfortunate accident, the puppy was killed.  The new family  was not able to pick her up until September 5  so it gave the Labor Day Weekend guests a chance to meet her until she found a “forever home”.  As you can see, it did not take Rylee long to make up to her new family. Matt Ulmer, the father, was the only one able to make the trip to pick her up.  The Ulmers are a dairy farming family.  So there will be cattle to herd, children to love and protect, and fields to explore. May she have a long and pleasant life. The Ulmer family is grateful to Kyri Menacker who made it all possible.  

Nothing Says Lovin’ Like Something from the Garden…

AND OUR GARDEN SAYS IT BEST!  In late fall Ashley notice the “sea” of lettuce seedlings covering the garden floor.  She and Isaac placed straw bales, like fortress walls, around the “sea” and topped it with some old window sash that Ken had in storage.   The sun warmed it by day and the bales held the heat by night.



In January we peaked inside to find the lettuce had grown slowly from the seedling stage but it had grown.  But it was appropriately at Valentines day that the garden showed it’s “Lovin’ ”  Ashley harvested the lettuce by removing the snow covered windows.

Freshly harvested lettuce.




















It was and amazing sight.  Fresh lettuce from the garden piled high in a basket on a cold and snowy February day.  We enjoyed a fine Valentine’s dinner complete with Gram’s famous Cold Lettuce dressing topping the tender sweet lettuce.  A treat usually reserved for last spring months.

Freshly washed lettuce for salad February 14, 2017


Easter Sunday we had the next round of salad.  Since that time we have had a steady stream of lettuce from the garden.  The rain saturated bales have been torn apart and have become mulch between the rows of asparagus and onion. The window sash has been placed out of sight but ready for next winter.  God sets the seasons, gives us plants and seeds and the intellect to provide bounty when there normally is none.  What a gift!



What a month it was!!

The month of September began with one of the slowest Labor Day weekends in years but the intensity gradually increased to rocket propulsion.  Despite the drought, the tomato harvest kept us busy canning whole tomatoes, tomato sauce, salsa, and spaghetti sauce.

Ashley was interested entering a race.  A friend mentioned a 1/2 marathon to be held nearby on September 10th. She knew the schedule would be tight.  The race was held at 7:30 am 45 minutes from the farm and our annual family reunion was scheduled for 12 noon.  The family reunion is held on the farm so we prepared food the days before so that Ashley could run and still contribute to the family feast.

Ashley completing her first race second in her age category

Ashley completing her first race and finishing second in her age category.

The race day-reunion day was also the day we welcomed the inaugural juncture workshop. We served the participants a turkey dinner at 6:30 pm September 10. Twelve women and two men  some from Pennsylvania, many different states, and Amsterdam  converged to learn and grow under the fine tutelage of Beth Kephart, author, teacher, mentor, and workshop creator, presenter and organizer along with Bill Sulit, organizer and photographer.  Just before their arrival, the farm ran out of water due to the drought.  Isaac and I worked on the water system and were able to maintain water flow and recharge the reservoir.  Despite combined efforts the reservoir level kept dropping during their stay but we had enough to get through the week.  All left inspired. If you would like to participate in a writing workshop, check out


Juncture participants plus Beth and Sally on the last day.

Juncture participants plus Beth and Sally on the last day.


The Hillel students from various colleges in central Pennsylvania converged after the workshop and once again the water held. The weekend ended and it was “off to the fair” September 18-24.

The annual Beaver Community Fair is a highlight of the year and the entire Hassinger family is involved in one way or another.  Ashley is secretary of the fair and is rarely seen those days.  Isaac too is involved and absent.  During this time Ken’s mother, Grace Hassinger, was admitted to the hospital so we were busy visiting her and participating in the fair.  Finally, the fair ended and Grace came to stay on the farm with us after her hospital stay.  During that time the rain came and refreshed the plants, and replenished the water supply enough that it no longer required three times a day monitoring.

Isaac began a fencing project which will total about 5 miles of fence when complete.  It will be a relief to not think so much about cattle getting onto the road when the electric fence fails.

The post that took our phones out of service.

The post that took our phones out of service.


But during the process of fence making the One Call system failed.  Several times posts driven into the ground perforated our underground phone cable. The phone company gave us a temporary fix and the cable runs along our tree lined lane from one end to the other and crosses overhead wound through trees to keep it above trucks, tractors and other farm equipment.

Phone cable going up the tree to cross over the steer shed road.

Phone cable going up the tree to cross over the steer shed road.


Cable to cross over the lane and lots of "perforation" posts in the distance

Cable to cross over the lane and lots of “perforation” posts in the distance


Ken’s mother Grace took a turn for the worse and we had to send her back to the hospital.  Currently she is doing well and looks forward to coming home in a day or so.  The fence is still not complete but that should be done in a few days.  There is always change taking place at Mountain Dale but the month of September was fast paced, excitement filled, soul enriching as God so graciously sustained us and especially provided the water we need.

New fencing and gate at the last turn in the lane coming into the farm.

New fencing and gate at the last turn in the lane coming into the farm.


So far the month of October has been quieter.

Like to square dance?  Check back soon the annual square dance is coming the end of the month. Details to follow another day.






First Load of Barley Sold

Yesterday, we loaded barley into bags to sell to a local farmer.  We worked hard to load because the truck bed the barley was housed on failed to lift.  So, the Toms family, Bryan, Sandy, Seth and Brynna pitched in and filled some bags while Isaac and Yost Speicher worked on the truck to get it to lift.  Brynna has helped her mother measure flour in smaller units but has never used a bushel measure before.  We appreciated their help and the truck problem did not defeat our team it just gave us a late night.

130 bushels of barley ready for delivery

130 bushels of barley ready for delivery.  See the bushel measure in the foreground.