Friday, December 23, 2016

I'll Be Home for Christmas

Dear Brianna,
We were spoiled with 40 and even 50 degree weather through Thanksgiving and into December, but the temperatures have dropped considerably in the last several days. A few mornings ago, we hit a whopping 5. We also heard reports of 1 throughout the county that same day.

~ Home at Fair Lawn Farm ~
We’ve had a bit of snow, but nothing much has accumulated. Its nice not having to take care of chickens and sheep in the snow yet. I am very thankful for that.

While the cold sometimes makes it less than encouraging to go outside, I’m glad to see the temperatures are dropping. Like I told your brother, Sean, in my last letter to him: The sugar trees won’t produce as easily without those cold temperatures. These low temps are definitely good for the trees.

The good thing about the cold slowly taking over is that your mom and I are inside baking! And you know what we are baking - our Fair Lawn Farm favorite and yours too - pecan pie! I know what you’re thinking: “I wonder if they will ship me some?” The answer is: No. In order to get it, you must come home and see us! But we are having fun baking and figuring out how to put our maple syrup in recipes to replace the sugar. We put maple syrup in our coffee now, too! (And you will be home very soon to enjoy a slice of pie and cup of coffee with us!)

Speaking of maple syrup, it’s hard to believe the Maple Festival is just a few short months away. The years seem to fly by anymore. (You’ll know what I mean when you get older, although I’m sure you’re starting to experience it now.) We’re already working on getting things ready for the 2017 festival. I took inventory of our maple supplies - all we need is another 25 buckets. We are slowly getting bigger! I think 200 taps is about all Mom and I can handle with our antiquated equipment and technique. The sugarhouse is cleaned, and this year, we have two cords of cut and split, well-seasoned firewood ready to go. That’s the first time ever! This is thanks to Nancy and Ann Marie, Mr. Hevener and Miss Carol's daughters. Richie, their son, God rest him, put it all in the wood house years ago. We'll be thinking of Mr. Hevener, Miss Carol, and Richie all season long. We really miss them since they’ve been gone.

I've got a local contractor coming in over the holidays to give us a quote for the sugarhouse pavilion addition. This will get the guests out of the weather and give them more demonstrations to see during the festival. This will also provide some cover for our disabled folks and Wounded Warriors for their fishing and hunting days. It will be a great place for family picnics, and I'm thinking about building a large fireplace on the end for outdoor cooking. You know us… always a project in the works!

~ Oh, Christmas Tree - In the Sitting Room ~
We’re really looking forward to having you, Sean, and Shannon home for Christmas. We sure love the holidays, especially living in Highland County. Since the cold temperatures have hit, we've had a fire in the fireplace. It makes the house feel very cozy. There’s nothing like a country Christmas especially when you add family coming home for the holidays!

I still can’t believe that you’re an adult and out on your own. It seems like just yesterday you were sitting on my lap listening to me read The Night Before Christmas. No matter how old and busy you get, you’ll always be our little girl. Yes, we all miss you… including Clancey! We are lucky to still have that trusty dog. He keeps an eye on the farm and us, too. And every now and again, he’s gets lucky when we “drop” a piece of pecan pie.

Hurry home, Bri. I can’t wait to give you a hug when you walk through the door!