Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

We'll be at the farm tomorrow but for today it's peaceful and relaxing here in the 'burbs. Turkey is ready to go in the oven. All the sides are prepped, salads and desserts are made. All the family favorites ready to go. This year we are having: turkey with cornbread and hot sausage stuffing, cranberry relish with pinot noir, zucchini-squash casserole, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with crunchy streusal topping, classic mashed potatoes with gravy and apple cider pie.

And the family is all home! which is always a good thing around here. Makes this momma very happy to have her chicks back in the nest (mixing my metaphors?), maybe the calves are in the barn? hmm, I don't think the kids would like that analogy.

In any event it is a special time of year and a special day and we are very thankful for the here and now, yet looking forward to the future. We have been very blessed!

This farmgirl wishes all a happy thanksgiving. May you eat until you are uncomfortable and then be able to nap it off after you've helped your momma with the dishes.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Farm Inspired Projects

Haven't been to the farm in a few weeks - had other places to go, people to see, things to do - but I did get inspired and made a few things that are about the farm. First of all this book, full of lovely pictures from fall. I actually made it for my mother, who loves to sing and so I took the words to many of her favorite songs and put them to my favorite pictures. It really is delightful if I do say so myself, and should take me through the winter months when we don't go down to the farm regularly.
Growing up with a preacher daddy, we spent a lot of time in church and one service I always enjoyed was the Thanksgiving service. I don't think many churches even have these anymore, everyone is too busy cooking turkey, but you could count on it when I was growing up. Always the chance to sing, "Come Ye Thankful People Come," and "We Gather Together To Ask the Lord's Blessing."
So I admit those songs came flooding back to my brain as I walked through the harvest woods, and so I made a collage and titled it Harvest Songs. At the moment it hangs in my dining room - tacked up by a thumbtack for the holidays. Maybe someday I will frame it.
This weekend after we have polished off the turkey and pumpkin and APPLE pies, we are headed to the farm for a big bonfire. We'll roast hot dogs and marshmallows and make s'mores and walk in the woods and then we have to close up things until spring. But maybe, just maybe I will think of another song or two to use as inspiration for other projects to carry me through until we can go exploring again.
Happy Thanksgiving,

Sunday, November 8, 2009

the Apple Harvest Festival

I looked forward to this with great anticipation every weekend that we passed by Rural Ridge Farm, just south of Charlottesville. This family has an orchard with over 200 varieties of apples- many vintage, a ciderworks that make 3 kinds of hard cider, and they teach classes on all that goes with the maintaining of an orchard. Having 9 trees probably qualifies as a very very small orchard in comparison but we have a lot to learn and this seemed like a good place to do it - plus they had cider tastings, brunswick stew, apple butter and local vendors selling their wares from all kinds of farming and non farming enterprises so we had nothing to lose. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. We decided we are not huge hard cider fans and might just as well stick to champagne but the fresh cider we had was fabulous. The apple tastings were interesting and being the aggressive farmgirl that I am - I asked lots of questions and even brought a few samples of my own apples which the "master gardener" helped to identify. We attended two workshops - "How to plant an apple tree" - don't laugh - we both learned something and "Your winter salad garden" - again chock full of information. I got several great ideas from craftspeople and sampled countless tastes of salsas, jellies, artisanal cheeses, apple this and apple that - unfortunately the pie was long gone before we nabbed a slice of that but there was this donut guy there and oh my gosh - if I ever learn how to make those donuts I will die happy :)
and if you ever see a Carpe Donut cart - stop and buy the rest of his stash and you will die happy too. I'm tucking away many ideas for my own festival someday and can't wait for next fall to attend again. Fortunately for me, they have more workshops in the spring so that's where you'll find me and the farmboy. In the meantime, I think I will research goats and chickens this winter.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

the squirrels must be bowling

There is something to be said about a metal roof - it is noisy! I awoke to the sounds of dropping acorns and scampering feet right over my head. In my sleepy state of mind what came to me was, "hmm the squirrels must be bowling!" Now I know I have a vivid imagination but this was probably getting a little carried away. Unfortunately, I lay awake for a little while and listened to the sounds of acorns (or other objects) rolling down the roof and squirrels (or other varmits) scampering upwards. I miss those chirping crickets from this summer - they seemed a little quieter. Of course there was also the snoring bear right beside me lending his 2 cents to the night time noises. Speaking of bears - Saturday morning our neighbor James stopped by to tell us that a 200 lb. black bear was sighted in our woods last week. Is this a warning or just friendly local chatter? Made me feel a little creepy about my wonderful walk in the woods last weekend. Later in the day John and I hiked for several miles and spent a good hour plus in the woods - happy to say we saw no signs that he was around - at least not that John was going to tell me! Hopefully he's moved on to somebody else's woods.
Our explorations took us on a different path than we had taken before. This one crossed the stream and went up to a seldom used dirt road, now covered with leaves. We followed it, keeping to the west of the stream and saw our property from a whole new angle. Eventually we had to cut back down and ended up on the extreme corner of our property where a pond might go some day. Along the way we saw lots of colorful and interesting fungi in fun shapes and sizes, which kind of made up for the fact that the glorious leaf colors from last weekend had become mostly browns.