and Nancy Brown
The “I can’t believe it’s almost September” newsletter
I don’t know how anybody else feels, but I think it is getting a bit too chilly in the evenings here lately and a bit too dark too early. This is the coolest fair week that I remember. The Washington County Fair is a big deal around here. Everyone goes at least once during the week it is on. The animals are all over the place, kids are running around, everyone is eating all these weird things like French fries with gravy on them and funnel cakes or delicious things (purely personal opinion!) like maple syrup milkshakes and apple cider slushies. My sister Beverly and niece Laura come to visit at this time every year so we went to the fair on Tuesday and are going again today (Thursday). Laura and I write.
When we go to the fair we like to visit certain places first. We like to look at all the different animals (cows, horses, pigs, sheep, goats, poultry, and rabbits). It is also fun to see how each farm decorates their animal’s stalls. Laura also likes to go to the barn that lets you hold baby ducks and chicks. A popular place to get snacks from is the maple syrup barn. At the maple syrup barn you can get maple milkshakes, maple cotton candy, maple slushies, maple coffee, maple kettle corn and maple doughnuts. Laura’s favorite ride at the fair is the swings. The ride is basically you get on a swing and the machine starts to twirl you around until you go up pretty high. Another cool ride is the wild claw. It is like a huge tire swing but, more people go on it (they sit in seats with cages around them) and it goes really high. There is a lot of screaming in the ride section of the fair. The fair is a lot of fun for everybody! Alan likes the all antique tractors on exhibit and the farm museum.
The newest additions to the farm are twin gray kittens. They are about 3 weeks old and have just opened their eyes. Laura has been finding them and holding them – they are so tiny they fit in her hand. The annoying part is that each time we hold them Mama Cat moves them to a new secret location….and Laura has to find them again. The newest batch of hay bales are now in the barn and the holes between the bales are perfect for a new home for the kittens but it sure makes it hard to find them. Mama Cat (we call Mystery since she really slinks around the barn) is the only female cat that did not get “fixed” because we could not catch her. Right now the kittens are living in a hole between a couple hay bales and the corner of the barn. It is the worst spot so far because you cannot see the kittens and if you want to hold them you have to stick your hand down in the hole. The interesting part about the kittens is they have really small ears and when they grow up they will have bigger ears. I will keep you posted about the kittens!
Maggie, one of the dogs on the farm, got lost yesterday and we were all looking and calling for her. We searched all around the farm for her and guess where she was! Maggie was locked in the barn! She never barked to let us know where she was. Everybody was relieved and Maggie had a lot of energy when she got out because she was shut in the barn all afternoon!
We also had a wonderful visit last week from Tess who is a member of the Clinton Hill CSA. We kept her working everyday until her visits to Windflower Farm and Gillis Acres Farm where she was likely recruited again as a helper! Thanks Tess!
Mid September news –
The gardens are bursting,
the blueberries are still ripening (I have about 10 quarts of them in the
freezer!) and the giant thorn-less black raspberries are now starting to turn
jet black and sweet. The multi-colors of
the heirloom tomatoes are also beginning to ripen fast now that the days are
hot and humid again. Keeping up with
the harvest is one thing and keeping up with the canning, freezing, and
pickling is another! Thank goodness
This morning I had a
relaxing ride to check the herd. I learned to ride our 4-wheeler a few months
ago but never had much opportunity to ride around the pastures on it. So lately I have gotten it out, since the
jeep has an overheating problem, and have gone cruising to find the herd. It makes a bit of noise and the helmet can be
hot but it’s fun to get out there quickly and then shut it off and walk among
the animals. We have had a very different
calving season this year. We had 12 calves in June and July and then
there were none for three weeks in August. Just recently we’ve seen 6 new calves running around. In just a month of growth with this lush
weather, the older ones look so much bigger, the little ones are very easy to
pick out. According to our vet, there
should be more soon! Each year in mid to late August we also
contract to have some bulls come and stay with the herd for a few months. Cows are in heat about once per month and the
gestation period for the calf is nine months (sound familiar?). So the late
breeding time, like many animals in the wild, helps to time the births into the
warm weather. The green grass is easy on
the calf and healthy for the cow. This
year we have two young
Rock Hill Bakehouse called today to tell us that they are still working to recover and repair their ovens, office and facility from the fire of last week. We had to disappoint many people this week and next week since we will not be bringing bread on our deliveries until at least the week of September 15. We will keep you posted on the progress.