Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Not Your Typical Fall Weather

Dear Sean,

Halloween is over, and the first of November has arrived. Fifteen years ago, we would likely already have inches, maybe feet of snow on the ground. Times have changed… It’s cool during the mornings, which makes you pull out your winter coat; however by noon, it’s around 65 to 70 degrees! Definitely not typical November weather. Kids were trick-or-treating without any coats on!
The Current Scene at Fair Lawn Farm

 In a way, it’s nice to have the warm weather last, but it makes me nervous for sugar season. If this warm weather trend continues throughout the winter, our trees may not produce as much. As you know, we need that cold weather and good winter freezes to make the trees produce a lot of sugar water. The warm weather is nice, but I definitely will welcome the cold weather for the trees.

I repaired and sighted in my Dad's flintlock rifle. It was the rifle he used to shoot his last deer - dead on at 50 yards. I'll take a deer or two this year with it to continue his tradition.  As usual, I'll be hunting all fall with only a flintlock - more traditional and more of a challenge. I can't wait until I get the first log cabin completed. I’m planning to have an original 18th century gunsmith shop right here on the farm. That’s something I've dreamed of for years. And there's already people wanting to take classes! Just one more opportunity for visitors to learn when they come to the farm.

In my last letter to Brianna, I told her how I over planted the pumpkin patch just a little. (Whoops!) This year, our pumpkin patch stretched around 90 yards long and 50 yards wide. (I think it grows a little every year…) Most of the pumpkins this year were Conneticut Field pumpkins that grew to around 10 to 12 inches in diameter. We also had white Luminas, Baby Boo gourds, and a variety of miscellaneous striped and poke-a-dotted gourds. Your mom decided to cook some of the left over pumpkins for her famous pumpkin biscuits and pumpkin butter. Yummm…. It tastes like you’re spreading pumpkin pie on a biscuit. We’re enjoying that now!

A portion of the Pumpkin Patch right before the Hands & Harvest Festival

 We also traded pumpkins with Chuck and Louann Neely of Riven Rock Farm for some of their brats. Then, I smoked the brats along with some cheeses. We helped host some active duty military folks during archery season and served them the brats. It was a hit! We may be on to something…

We had a great crowd for Hands & Harvest, which is held the second weekend in October every year. The kids enjoyed picking pumpkins, locals stopped in before the festival to pick out their pumpkins, we had the old tractor out to give hayrides around the farm, apple butter and cider for our guests to enjoy, and of course, our furry, four-legged friend Clancey was there to greet all the visitors. If only Clancey could talk, I think he’d be the perfect farm guide!

We also went to the Huntersville Tradition Days again this fall. It was our 12th year there, and we love going! We purchased about 25 to 30 pounds of cheeses from Evelyn’s Pantry in Monterey and The Cheese Shoppe in Stuarts Draft. Mild cheddar, sharp cheddar, irish cheddar, swiss, and Colby… Then, we smoked the cheeses. Everyone loved it! Perfect for a grilled cheese with tomato soup in the winter time! (I love all of the food options we have that come straight from the farm!)

Speaking of winter time, the holidays are right around the corner. You, Brianna, and your families will be home for the holidays soon. I love Thanksgiving and Christmastime, especially in the country. There’s nothing like a Country Christmas. And if you add in Highland County…. Oh… You just can’t beat that.

The county is starting to plan for our traditional Wintertide Celebration. We’ve already talked to Santa Claus and he is visiting on Friday, December 2, to hear all the Christmas wishes from the kids all over the county. Then, on Saturday, December 3, the shops will open for Christmas shopping. Plus, we’ll have the Christmas parade again this year. We started the Christmas parade last year, and it was a hit! Then, we’ll all gather on the Courthouse Lawn for the traditional lighting of our town Christmas Tree, the reading of the Christmas Story, and then retire to the church for the Christmas Choir Performance. It’s such a great evening that really gets you in the Christmas spirit! And it sounds like something right out of a Hallmark movie, doesn’t it? You can’t get any closer to a Hallmark movie than Christmas in Highland County!

I’d better get back to work. So much to do on a farm and so little time! Give Shannon our love. Your mother and I are looking forward to seeing you both soon. In the meantime, take care, love each other, and know home misses you! We’ll see you back at the farm soon.