Quaker Hill Farm 2006 Autumn News
The kitchen has been full of the steamy goodness of making grape jelly this past 10th month week. What a lovely time we had harvesting the huge amount of concord grapes from our abundant arbor. It is amazing how much more productive our grape vines are after the good mulching of mixed goat, rabbit manure and organic material we put on them in Autumn of last year.
There were enough grapes this year for us, all of our many customers and even the birds to enjoy. After a few days of hard work, our pantry now safely shelves many jars of delicious jelly. What wonderful gifts they will make!
With great relief the Fall harvest is finally in! We got an exceptional second cutting crop of hay to snug in with the abundant first cutting bales. The barn is full of sweet smelling hay that will remind us of the warm sunny days it was harvested in during the cold dark winter months ahead. The best part of haying in the snow is the great burst of vibrant green that dots the field with color when all else is stark - and it smells so good too!
The pumpkins and squash were harvested this week just before a hard frost. It was great timing. We were delighted by an unexpected treat - a late but ripe watermelon was found hiding under the leaves of a neighboring squash so we had an unusual desert night of sliced watermelon in late October - what a blessing, how fun! Now, we will work on preserving fresh pumpkin and squash. There is nothing better than pumpkin pie made with fresh pumpkin. Our grandchildren have already selected the pumpkins that will be used for this years holiday pies - they consider it a great honor to personally pick out those promising pumpkins that will likely produce the most delicious pies.
We have been able to avoid heating the house so far but forecasters are warning about possible snow in the next few days. Is it really that time of the year?? I suppose so, Traverse City got 3 - 5 inches last night.
The goats (the does) made a break for it a few days ago. My, oh my, they are naughty. My good husband and son installed brand new fencing this spring with many added improvements . The fence we put in 21 years ago was old and tired and needed to be replaced. But goats, being what they are, and unable to resist any opportunity to explore areas outside of their safe and ample 10 acre pasture noticed a tiny installation flaw in the new gate and hence made short work of creating a new escape route through there. They were quickly intercepted and herded back in to their area and the gate was reinstalled correctly. Whew - they keep us on our toes! It is breeding season for them and they are frustrated by the fact that we schedule breeding much later than their instincts tell them we should. Our weather in 2nd month, 3rd month and 4th month is unpleasantly unpredictable with intensely bitter cold and gale winds and snow. So, we try to manage our herd for kidding season in early 5th month. That means we donít introduce the bucks until 1st day, 12th month. However, our management intentions do not always meet with herd approval and the does seem to rally protest marches every single year. We thought the new fencing would eliminate the problem this year but we should have known better! They keep us humble thatís for sure.
Fortunately, our sheep are easier to manage. They are generally content to stay within the confines of their safe pasture. The ewes donít seem to mind the late breeding schedule and seldom make an issue of it. Hmmm, what does the bible say about sheep and goats?
We will be cleaning out the barns soon before bad weather settles in for good. This gives us a chance to tidy loafing areas up and tend to any needed repairs before winter.
A delightful surprise greeted us last week. A hen brought her new little chicks out to introduce to us. Our farm is always full of surprises. How grateful we are to be here and thank God for our many blessings.
Blessings & Peace,
Words of Wisdom
The Cookie Thief
by Valerie Cox
A woman was waiting at an airport one night,
With several long hours before her flight.
She hunted for a book in the airport shops.
Bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.
She was engrossed in her book but happened to see,
That the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be.
Grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between,
Which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene.
So she munched the cookies and watched the clock,
As the gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock.
She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by,
Thinking, "If I wasn't so nice, I would blacken his eye."
With each cookie she took, he took one too,
When only one was left, she wondered what he would do.
With a smile on his face, and a nervous laugh,
He took the last cookie and broke it in half.
He offered her half, as he ate the other,
She snatched it from him and thought... oooh, brother.
This guy has some nerve and he's also rude,
Why he didn't even show any gratitude!
She had never known when she had been so galled,
And sighed with relief when her flight was called.
She gathered her belongings and headed to the gate,
Refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate.
She boarded the plane, and sank in her seat,
Then she sought her book, which was almost complete.
As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise,
There was her bag of cookies, in front of her eyes.
If mine are here, she moaned in despair,
The others were his, and he tried to share.
Too late to apologize, she realized with grief,
That she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief.
How many times in our lives,
have we absolutely known
that something was a certain way,
only to discover later that
what we believed to be true ... was not?