15-Year Features: Neighborly Folk
With fall season just around the corner, we've been pretty busy picking pumpkins, transitioning the barn space, and setting up all the fun on the farm. But the fall season work doesn't fall completely on the shoulders of our crew - there are a lot of people who help make this crazy thing we call a fall season work, and they deserve a lot of love for their willingness to go along with our schemes and ideas, amazing ingenuity, and all-around awesome-ness.
Our first pals are the family we have up at Larry's Welding in Lancaster. Kyle's uncles Larry and Vernon and cousin Eric and their guys have helped with all sorts of bizarre and random projects over the years. From the very first kettle corn machine (for a full story on THAT Frakenmachine, see our donut and kettle corn piece a few weeks ago) to the iconic cows to the big wagons that haul people out to the pumpkin patch every year - if it has metal on it, chances are these guys have had a hand in making it.
Kyle jokingly refers to them as the modern-day local blacksmiths: guys who have it all, can do it all, have seen it all, and - most importantly - can fix it all. You can find just about anything at the shop (even parts for some of your favorite fall season attractions, like the zip line!), and the breadth and depth of experience these guys have with fabrication is bar none. In all reality, Kyle's joke isn't really a joke at all, but a compliment to people who are so instrumental in bringing the fall season experience to you.
Larry and his guys do get to enjoy the fruits of their labor sometimes, too. In fact, you can usually see Larry out helping Kyle with random projects - like moving buildings onto the property - or clearing tables during busy days in the fall, or on the golf cart with grandma, just taking it all in.
A few miles away is Stonefront Farms and our friend Andy Buttles. These guys are not only our go-to for equipment we don't have (post hole diggers, skid loaders - you name it), but they are also our source for animals for our petting zoo. Those sweet calves you pet and feed during fall season come right from their farm to ours. On the other end of the food chain, some of the hamburger we serve during fall season and at our other events is locally sourced right from their farm.
The staff at Stonefront also has the distinct honor of being our designated taste testers. When we started experimenting with pizza or when we add new menu items, the staff at Stonefront Farms are willing and discerning food testers. And they almost always get the first batches of donuts for the season, just to make sure we've got them exactly right. And they seem really okay with that!
Another local business that fills a niche in the cogs of fall season life is West End Salvage, Kyle's go-to place for hard-to-find, unique, odd, and off-the-wall items for his equally unique, odd, and off-the-wall projects. There he's found wagon axles and running gears and tons of other random stuff - his best finds being some parts for the air cannon (specifically the tank that holds the air and the car axle the cannon sits on). And just the other day he pulled out two stainless steel sinks from the piles. He doesn't need them, but he might use them some day. Their good eye and Kyle's passion for transforming discarded items has made for quite a few important pieces in the fall season experience.
Our last shoutout goes to John Edge and Edge Electric. Not only did these guys do all the wiring and electric in the new red barn, but John and his crew are always there for us when we need them. He pops over and fixes any problems we have and Kyle has used his boom truck (and John himself!) for projects like stringing up the lines for the zip line and putting up the windmill by the Windmill Shed.
John especially seems to find problems to fix at the barn when we're making donuts. He has what we all wish we had: a sixth sense for when those delicious little donuts are being made. And he always find the opportunity to snag a few. We don't care. We'd literally be in the dark without him.
Thank you, farm friends. We wouldn't be where we are today without you!
Fun on the farm...in blog form!