Every Friday we share some snaps from our 333-acres in Kutztown, PA. Our photographers? The staff members who keep this farm chugging along. Enjoy a sneak peek at what’s going on here at Rodale Institute!

We hear that warm weather is coming this weekend, and that good news was enough to get some of us outside this week – at least a bit more than we have been over the last few weeks.  For starters, Coach spent some time training the oxen, Lewis & Clark, as well as training some of the humans to train the oxen, including Molly Sweitzer and Bill Lenhardt.Training oxen can be something like training a dog.  However, it’s a more humbling experience to watch such a large, strong animal responding to such slight, gentle instructions.  Learning to drive oxen is about timing, precision and consistency.For a first time ox-driver, Molly did a wonderful job.  She’s not quite sure how she got the job in the first place, but that won’t stop her from enjoying her training with Lewis & Clark over the next few months. 

Not everyone was lucky enough to get outside this week.  Poor Valerie Garcia had to stay inside, preparing the curriculum for this year’s interns, based on some of our favorite titles.  Funny, she doesn’t seem too upset about being in a warm office!

What on earth is that thing?!  It’s a compost pasteurizer, of course.  It heats compost in order to kill all weed seeds.  Below, Rick Carr is busy pasteurizing compost for the greenhouses where it will be used for food production and research.

About this time of year, compost heaps like to freeze solid.  Rick is undeterred.  Alternating a pick axe for a shovel, he breaks down the frozen pile section by section, filling the pasteurizer.

It’s important to spread the compost throughout the machine as evenly as possible for the most efficient heating.  By the way, the only heat in this barn comes from the compost pasteurizer.  No wonder Rick keeps it running!

And there you have it.  Job well done, Rick!

Here is one of a series of new livestock shelters currently under construction.  This one is a portable hog house.  This the second of it’s kind constructed so far, see below for the finished product!

And here it is, the home of Lily and Houdini.  They really love it in there.  Houdini’s only reason to come out, as shown here, was to personally request that this photographer leave the premises immediately.  He was very polite, but bootlaces will need replacing.

These geraniums may look warm and cozy, but don’t you think they must long for the crisp breeze of the polar vortex?  You’re right.  They look beautiful just where they are.

Undoubtedly the most thrilling event of the week was the delivery of this years seeds from  the Turtle Tree Seed Company! Here, our own Megan Kintzer shows off the treasured arrival.  Some might say that we don’t get ‘out’ enough, but hey, it’s freezing ‘out’ and that’s on purpose.  The seeds are here, people!  Here’s to a wonderful 2014 growing season!

Don’t forget… Show your organic love!