Thursday, November 26, 2015

Give Thanks

“If anyone wants to move to the farm…I can make that happen.”

My father threw the words out effortlessly, seemingly without thought, across the table that Thanksgiving of ’95.

They hung in the air, the crystal-clear answer to years of prayer requests.  They seemed to shimmer there for a single moment, before the ebb and flow of conversation swallowed them, as family members laughed and kidded and children ran about screaming with the delight of unsupervised playtime with their grandparents. No further comments or discussion followed. But the memory of those words remained long beyond the overdone turkey, the ham and rolls and overabundance of desserts.

If anyone wants to move to the farm…

Those words would change our lives


If forever seems a little over-the-top, a might too strong, or even a bit of an exaggeration…consider if you will where I am, what we do and who we now consider ourselves to be. Nothing, absolutely nothing,  is as we might have expected it all those years ago.

There was no way to predict how completely life-altering it would be to catch those few little words before they disappeared into conversational history. But, catch them we did…we held them close and made them our own, setting off on what became the journey of a lifetime. (both figuratively and literally)

The journey was most definitely not direct. It hasn’t always been pretty. And, I’ll let you in on a little secret…a lot of times it was anything but fun.  And, at times it seemed more than a little overwhelming and beyond what small sense of human strength we had.

Life ain't always beautiful
Sometimes it's just plain hard
Life can knock you down
It can break your heart

But the struggles make you stronger
And the changes make you wise
And happiness has its own way
Of takin' its sweet time

However, here we are. Twenty years into the future, with more to be thankful for than ever before.

And, as we wait for loved ones to arrive so we can feast on food grown and prepared with our own hands, celebrating the fact that we can all be together despite the tumultuous journey, spending time with our daughters and their husbands and those sweet little grandbabies we didn’t even let ourselves imagine…

We give thanks…

For the struggles and hardships, for the waits and frustrations, and all those painful moments..even the heartache and despair, because they somehow grant more sweetness…not just on Thanksgiving…but, every day.

No, life ain't always beautiful
Tears will fall sometimes
Life ain't always beautiful
But it's a beautiful ride!
                                           Gary Allan - Life Ain't Always Beautiful

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday Walkabout 11-22

offerings for the final Market of 2015

We did it!

Another Market season is in the history books!

That’s season number 18 for us…just in case anyone besides me is keeping track of those kinds of things.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Even though a great deal of our focus was on getting ready for the final Market of 2015, there were actually other activities to demand our attention. Most of the work done was just the regular business of farm life here on the hill, but a few things do stand out as somewhat notable.

On Tuesday, we were scheduled to take the last bunch of lambs to the butcher for processing.   That 70 miles of interstate travel is not one that either of us relish, but “ya gotta do what ya gotta do”.

In order to offer lamb, beef or pork for retail sale, it must be processed in a USDA inspected facility. (there are different regulations for chickens and rabbits) There are only a few of these facilities throughout the Valley. The demand for small-scale processing inspected facilities simply doesn’t warrant the investment in the costly infrastructure and compliance that is required by federal regulation. And while there are a couple of closer operations, they are more costly and one of them has a difficult time following our directions. To our mind, our chosen operation is simply the best

So, we make the interstate trip several times during the year.

loaded and ready to go

After a relatively stress-free lamb loading, we set off for the final trip of the season, talking over our plans for the rest of the day. The Boss laughingly considers the lamb hauling (and subsequent lamb chop pick-up) a mini-vacation, since we generally do something unrelated to farming as well.

At some point, I became aware of something strange with the truck.

I was trying not to comment, because I am painfully aware that I am not a great passenger, particularly on the interstate. Remarks have been made about my death-grip on the dashboard and the dents I may have made in the floorboard mashing instinctively on brakes that are not there. And, I must admit to shrieking on occasion when the big trucks decide to change lanes with no warning. But, I refuse to admit to screaming. I handle the stresses of interstate travel much better behind the wheel, but even then I would prefer a backroad. With this in mind, I make a conscious effort to restrain myself on these trips.

Looking over at the Boss, I saw that little furrow in his brow growing as he listened intently. “hey… did you hear that?” He cocked his head when the truck shifted gears.

I wasn’t imagining things!

When you drive a geriatric vehicle (the farm truck is 20 years old), you get used to the odd little noises and idiosyncrasies that develop over time. You tell yourself that these give the truck character and you try to overlook the minor ones, knowing that the weird rattles, the big crack in the dashboard, the malfunctioning gas gauge and non-existent radio reception (among other things) are not worth a monthly payment that would come with a newer vehicle.

However, lately, the dodge had developed some odd potential transmission issues that the Boss had been “keeping an eye on”. It was an intermittent concern, that hadn’t couldn’t be identified as an actual problem. We had each noticed it on separate occasions, but it corrected itself. However, now, out on the interstate, with a load of lambs on the back, the “transmission issues” flared again.

The truck shifted needlessly, over and over. And over. Even my untrained mechanical mind knew that wasn’t quite right. The Boss began to look my direction with every gear change.

Should we continue on? What was plan B? What happens if this is a big problem and we end up stranded 70miles from home? Or worse, get stranded with these lambs before we get there? There wasn't any possibility of re-scheduling...processing dates are secured way in advance. It would be after the new year before we could get another appointment. So,  we brainstormed as we continued to drive and the truck continued to shift.

pretty day for a roadtrip
but, we turned around at the next exit

We finally decided to turn around, hook up to the other vehicle and try again. We were closer to home than our destination, it would put us behind schedule, but that was better than the possible alternatives.

We got off the interstate at the next exit and began the Southbound trip to the hill.

And, the problem never recurred for the entire ride back to the hill! Seriously. This was too weird. 

We kept looking at one another, trying to see if we had imagined the whole thing. Maybe we both over-reacted…? But, rather than take a chance, we went ahead with plan B. Hook the trailer to the Xterra and try again.

The Boss could solve the truck “issues” at a later date. (which, for the record, have yet to recur)

Of course, it wasn’t just a matter of un-hitching from one vehicle and hitching to the other. (of course) There was some level of work involved and SiL#1 was praised profusely for his wiring prowess when he installed the hitch several years ago. Yay, Josh!

…and we were off.

this might not look like a FARM vehicle
but, it worked!

It has been said that the only difference between an ordeal and an adventure is ATTITUDE. So, we were going with “adventure”…because we have indeed had some ORDEALS when it comes to travel.

This time, the trip Northbound was completely uneventful.  We got the lambs off, the cutting instructions delivered and finally got around to some lunch, before setting off on the rest of our journey, because we rarely just make a trip from point A to point B. And we were only about an hour and a half behind schedule.

The day also included a trip out to the produce supply warehouse to purchase a bunch of plastic flats for next growing season…and beyond. (the Boss says I got enough to last for YEARS) Even though I try to be frugal and often re-use the flats, the plastic is thin and brittle. During the course of the season, the individual cells occasionally tear as we pull the transplants out and sometimes the heat of the summer greenhouse causes them to melt into unusable blobs. And, Gus has eaten a few. (although he seems to have lost his taste for plastic lately) So, you can never have too many.

some of my seed starting stash

Before you know it…it will be time to start seeds for next year!

The prices offered by the Supply Company make it worth a drive out into the country. It used to be an egg farm, but about 10 years ago, they transitioned over to supply and now it seems they have EVERYTHING. The setting is in beautiful farm country and the whole thing should be worthy of its own post.  Maybe next trip…

With cold weather predicted, the Boss did a few odd jobs in preparation, like repairing the henhouse.

 Work on the henhouse is always interesting, all the chickens squawk and fly around with every single pulse of the drill. He also addressed the electric fence issues, eliminating any further episodes of the chicken rodeo. 

With the odds and ends taken care of and the demands of the Market completed for the season, we can focus on garden clean-up before the snow flies.

With the hens on clean-up detail in the garden
we get some truly "pastured" eggs!
And, speaking of snow… 

Gus and Ellie watch as the Boss gets driving tips
 Our neighbor has a contract with the state to push snow off the backroads in this area with his fleet of trucks and big equipment. He’s always looking for drivers and asked the Boss if he’d be interested in hiring on during snow season. The pay is good and it is a chance for the Boss to put his driving skills to the challenge. He brought the big Case 7240 by so he could give the Boss a few pointers on operation.   For the first time in…well…forever…I think the Boss is looking forward to snow, if for no other reason than he gets to drive something with 18 forward gears!

cold morning for Market

The final Market day of the year dawned clear and COLD. It was just 28* downtown, so we couldn't put all the produce out and there were other "weather-related issues"  to contend with.

setting up in cold weather

 But, all in all, we had a pretty amazing sale day! (although I’m still wondering if I did the math right) After the Market, a number of vendors went to lunch together at a downtown restaurant in celebration. It’s always nice to get a chance to visit with other producers without the interruptions of a sales day. I’m pretty sure everyone was looking forward to the somewhat slower pace that the “off-season” grants.

But, for the record…NOBODY said anything about island vacations or cruises. Although more than one person did say they wanted to take a nap.

Personally, we won’t have much down-time before it’s time to focus on Winter sales. …and then it will be lambing season…and honestly, our annual planning meeting is just a month away, so there’s no time to relax and put our feet up. But, Thanksgiving week is coming…and this year we have reasons to be doubly thankful and I really want to take the time to appreciate all that. (but, that’s next week’s post)

I hope you’re having a Happy Sunday! 

Thanks for stopping by! Come “visit” us again real soon.

end of another week

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Walkabout 11-15

We used to listen to a radio show on Friday afternoons that would end with “nothin’ much happened in our town this week…”

With very little revision, that could serve as this week’s blog post.  …’cause…well, nothin’ much happened!

Mid-November is just an awkward time of year. It’s too late for planting for this year, too early for planning for next and we still have a couple of Markets to focus on before we get into “winter mode”. It’s an exercise in perseverance, which doesn’t make for much excitement or interesting copy.

canned goods for winter

It’s a time for cleaning up and winterizing which don’t make for pretty pictures, either. But, we are making progress. Since we won’t be doing any front porch sittin’ until Spring, the rocking chairs were upside down so we won’t have to listen to them creaking as the winter winds howl and the houseplants returned to the spare room. The canned goods are all tucked away on the shelves and the canning paraphernalia has returned to the freshly cleaned and organized shed for another season. 

Next up, the greenhouses… Because it will be time for next growing season before you know it!

frosty leaf

November’s weather can be challenging, too. In the past week to ten days, we have had record-setting warmth, a couple of rain storms, a day where the temperature never reached 40* as a high, and then we spent two days under a wind advisory. This made it somewhat difficult to get any outdoor work done. But, all in all, I guess it’s better than last year. It was 16* at the Market at this point of 2014. And there was snow before Thanksgiving!

The wide variety of weather made for some pretty photos. 
pretty skies after the rain

ewes at sunset

the BLUE Ridge Mountains
on a gloomy day

sunny Sunday afternoon

Mbrk barn

mountains to the west

No, we won’t be complaining about this year’s winds and rain!

moving the henhouse

The Boss got the hens moved into the middle garden this week. Which, I might add, was no easy feat since the ground was still so soggy following the rain. Moving the henhouse from the middle garden to the lower garden in a couple of weeks may prove to be interesting, as it is currently sunk to its axle in mud. But, the move was successful and the hens are hard at work scratching around, feasting on weed seeds and insects.
henhouse in middle garden

here they come

hens on clean-up detail

Gus and Ellie seemed bothered to miss out on the hen moving

...because there were all sorts of "delicious" tidbits in the hen yard
(Gus is checking out an old egg)

All was well until a cold front blew in, bringing with it some serious wind. Wind is nothing new on the hill, but when the gusts are measured at over 40 mph, we generally have some sorts of issues. And, this time was no exception. The wind caught one of the flaps that cover the henhouse windows and ripped it off its hinges. This caused all sorts of mayhem among the hens as they reacted like the chickens they are, squawking and flying around, and a couple of them escaped in the process. They managed to remain undetected in the garden for the better part of the afternoon. They were having a grand time, but we couldn’t have them eating the Market vegetables.

wind damage

There is no easy way to get escapee hens back where they belong. Chickens don’t follow directions, and they don’t herd well, so the Boss ended up chasing them around the garden with his big fishing net. Which proved to be quite the experience.  (and kind of funny) This is only amusing to those who are not involved in the aggravating activity of chasing chickens. This time was made more aggravating because they could use the cover of the garden to out-maneuver the Boss. However, he did win out in the end. I am wondering if we couldn't market some sort of farmer fitness program...look at those moves!

their gentle, peaceful looks are deceiving
My own animal escapades didn’t work out so well, and I pulled something in my back when we were working lambs early in the week. Combined with all the bending and kneeling that harvest requires and the five-hour stint of standing at the Market,  I’ve been spending some quality time with the heating pad while ingesting the maximum dosage of “vitamin I” (you know, ibuprofen) Not much fun, but it did get me out of chasing chickens!

Thankfully the winds have finally died down somewhat. Wind always create challenges here on the hill. And, it pretty much blows ALL the time. Over the years, we’ve lost shingles, had the side blow out on one hoophouse, and wonder if that flickering power will actually be an outage (not this time) Generally our somewhat temperamental internet connection finally just gives up all together.  This is frustrating because we lose phone service as well, making us feel more than a little isolated.  After two days of wind and its challenges, everybody gets a little testy. I’ve been working on an entire post about the wind and the Market…so be on the lookout for that soon.

I am quite happy to report that despite the challenges brought on by the wind and the cold, the next to last Market was a good one.
see how everything is blowing?

The upcoming week is going to be one of lasts. The last batch of lambs will be hauled on Tuesday. And, Saturday will be the last Market of 2015. I am definitely looking forward to those two events.

See?  I told you that not much happened this week!

Hope you’re having a Happy Sunday! 

Come back and visit again real soon.
Sugarloaf Mountain on a fall afternoon

Here’s a quick virtual tour of the Market, courtesy of the Boss.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

That Time I Gave Up on "Agvocacy"

A guy walks into the Market and says, 

                              “so…what can you tell me about that chicken?”

No, this is not the beginning of a joke. 

It’s just a regular occurrence at the Farmers’ Market.

Folks shop the Market because they want a connection with the farmer.  They value the ability to question the producer directly.  That’s part of what makes Saturday mornings special and it’s also what makes us aware of the issues in the world of food production and keeps us “on our game” when it comes to communication.  The conversations are often fun, witty, intriguing and educational.

However, this time was different.  Before I could draw a good breath to start my little explanation, this potential customer starts spouting off about HIS knowledge.  For the next few minutes I was bombarded by some random guy’s opinion of…well, everything.  He didn’t pause long enough for me to interject.  And, I don’t think he would have noticed if I did.

Maybe some stronger "Agvocate" (agriculture + advocate = "agvocate") would have taken him on.

Maybe I failed the cause of Agriculture somehow. His “information” was more mis-information than anything and while my mind grew weary as he droned on and on, I made a conscious effort not to correct him.

He stated hormone use in poultry happened EVERYWHERE. I know that it is ILLEGAL.

He said that MSG is in EVERYTHING and we don’t know it.  I know that the FDA requires that it be listed on the label.

He told me that Organic food was “better for everyone and used no pesticides”.  I know that ORGANIC allows numerous pesticides and while using the label requires oversight and certification, there is NO quantitative proof that it is “better”.

And, honestly, I thought my head was going to explode when he said that even though “organic food might not taste as good, but, if you were to switch to an organic diet for 30 days, your body would undergo a change on a molecular level and you would enjoy better health.”

What the…WHAT does that even mean? What could I have said at that point that would have made any difference whatsoever?

Thankfully, someone else walked up at that moment and required my attention.  The know-it-all walked away calling “BE WELL” over his shoulder.

Whew! (I sure hope I don't sound like that when I get on my soapbox about one of my issues!)

I am beginning to think that FOOD has become a new religion.  Maybe a new god. That might sound crazy, but hear me out.

I grew up in the church.  The fundamental, evangelical church.  We were taught it was our duty to share our faith with everyone else.  To save the poor lost sinners. We had visitation nights, handed out tracts to strangers and invited countless folks to revival meetings. When I went off to college, I first went to a Bible College and we were required to share our faith with others.  You had to participate in some sort of ministry work.  I visited Juvenile Hall, roamed college campuses and talked to strangers at the airport.   These “poor folks” needed saving and I was giving it my best shot.

Until one day it hit me. 

All this talking never changed anything.

Oh, I had some interesting encounters. (although some were potentially dangerous) It gave the students something to talk about when we were back on campus.  And, I had a couple of “heathen” friends with whom I regularly enjoyed lively debates. But, honestly, it did nothing for anyone else and only served to make me feel a little bit superior to others. Without the power of the Almighty, I would never change anyone else’s mind or convict them in any way so that they might someday change, no matter how clever my argument. While my faith remained steadfast and intact, I had handed out my last tract.

Food choice/production is not unlike religion.

Everyone has an opinion. (or a conviction) Everyone wants to voice that opinion. And, everyone thinks he/she is right. …and by default everyone else is wrong. Like-minded groups gather together and rally the troops to take on the opposition. Sometimes it is an all-out battle, a war of words, if you will.

There are two distinct sides and each feels some sense of superiority and righteousness.  Those in organic circles bash the conventional “heathens” and then the “fact-based” Ag writers dismiss other groups for their “pseudo-science”.  The organic bunch is saving the planet.  The conventional farmers are feeding the world.  A balanced conversation is hard to have.

Maybe my grandparent’s generation was right not to talk about those contentious subjects…religion, money, politics and sex. Since food is becoming contentious as well, it should be added to this list. These conversations generally only lead to raised voices and strained relations. Throw in a little internet anonymity and snark and things get ugly in short order. Name calling and foul language follow and then the so-called discussion dissolves into a pedantic on-line yelling match not unlike elementary school playground fights.

Oddly, we’re stuck in the middle of the two warring factions. (gaining acceptance and support from neither)  As small producers, many conventional practices do not work for us. Programs and marketing options are unavailable. However, we allowed our organic certification to lapse because that would limit our animal husbandry options and dramatically increase our input expenses with no real nutritive benefits. We direct-market because that is what works for our minute operation and our customer-friends appreciate that we make choices with their concerns in mind. I’ve spent countless hours learning about various farming practices.  I could tell anyone a thing or two about Ag, but I won’t…because it’s not up to me to change anyone’s mind.

Here’s the thing…

In all good conscience, I just can’t call myself an “agvocate” anymore. For quite some time, I was willing to devote my energies to promoting Agriculture and working hard to correct the mis-information out there. However, I am weary and worn out with the anger and meanness that is part and parcel of the so-called discussion.

And, you know what?

It really didn’t matter what I said or how many people I said it to. It didn’t make one lick of difference. To anybody. And, it just gave me a headache and worry lines. All the talking and debating is making absolutely no real difference.

I honestly don’t care how many wrong comments are out there.  While it is truly annoying to see stupidly erroneous memes show up in my Facebook feed time after time, it is not my personal responsibility to correct them. Nobody cares! Fighting an endless battle with an unseen (possibly nonexistent) enemy and internet trolls takes too much time from my very real work. I will never be able to change anyone’s mind no matter how many facts I present or how hard I may try.

While I plan on continuing to write about this life I love and the opinions I hold dear…I won’t be devoting myself to promoting Ag anymore. Because, it saps my strength and focus for what I need to do to keep our operation running smoothly. There’s not a whole lot of love and encouragement out there, either. (no matter which camp) That is truly disheartening.

And, quite honestly, I don’t think it matters what I say, or how skillfully I say it.  I will never change anyone’s mind without the force of some higher power. The vast majority of people just want to eat and aren’t interested in arguing anyway.

We are all missing the point of conversation if we focus solely on debate and argument. There is little true fellowship and far too many verbal boxing matches going on today.  We need to remember that few people are convicted to change their ways by having someone else point out their wrongdoing and failures repeatedly.

It’s time to focus strictly on the positives of what we do, and not all the negatives of everyone else.
We don’t get any bigger by making them look small, or better by making them look bad.

Personally, the Boss and I live in a beautiful place, make our living in a pleasant, productive way and get positive feedback on a regular basis.  We love what we do and are knowledgeable and engaging on the subject. Our products speak for themselves. That makes a compelling case for the farming lifestyle and gives a great deal of credibility to our farming practices without unkind words and mean-spirited outbursts.

I am completely done with all the online wrangling and the endless debates, or looking to make "converts" out of anybody. It just makes me tired and grumpy and takes away from the very real work I need to do.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday Walkabout 11-8

layer pullet - 6 weeks
Here’s a quick look at the week that just flew by. That extra hour that we supposedly gained last week has done nothing but confuse all the residents on the hill.

The animals seem to think we are late. Very Late. All. The. Time. And, as for the humans…we’re dropping over with sleepiness right after supper and waking up when it is far too early for anyone to begin the day. Here’s hoping that this week grants us some much-needed adjustment. And, that’s the end of my time-change whining. (until Spring)

ready for broiler processing

After some hemming and hawing, scheduling and re-scheduling, we decided to go ahead with the original plan and process the last batch of broilers. When the days get shorter and darker, the chickens don’t eat as much. Since they’re day-light sensitive, they get sleepy…just like we do. Sleepy chickens that don’t eat as much don’t grow as fast. It is possible to put light on the birds, simulating daylight and causing them to eat more. This is how the industry regulates growth in the broiler houses. However, our field pen is not really designed for this and the little solar pathway lights that we have used in the past are not terribly reliable and its effectiveness is questionable as well. When we considered the added expense of feeding them for another week AND the possibility that November weather is not always conducive to outdoor work, we decided not to delay the inevitable.

So, we are done with broilers for 2015!

the last one for 2015

In case you were wondering, we don’t have any broilers here on the hill (except in the freezers) from mid-November until the end of February when the first batch of chicks arrive for the new season. Winter weather precludes use of the pasture pen and our outdoor processing shed, so we take a break from broiler production for a while.

With the broiler pen empty, the Boss moved it to its winter resting place next to the hoophouse. It’s in need of a few repairs and he is starting to make noises like he’s going to rebuild the whole thing. One way or another, it’s out of action for a while. (and leads to my next story)
what the heck?
she couldn't figure out the broiler pen
I couldn't figure out why a lamb was in the garden!

With the pen out of the way, we could move the lambs into the broiler paddock to take advantage of the lush grass until the last few head off to the processor next week. At that point, we will do a major re-arrangement of sheep and lambs. The ram will move to his bachelor pad-dock and all the ewes and ewe lambs will head out front for a while. At the end of the year (or the first big snowfall) the ewes will head to the winter paddock near the barn until lambing season. But, I’m getting way ahead of myself!
ewes in November

With the lambs in a new place, it became evident why you must ALWAYS pay full attention to yourself, the animals and your surroundings. Which I totally failed to do. There is one ewe lamb that is particularly friendly and follows me looking for treats. Not only does this make me feel a little like L’il Bo Peep, she manages to get herself where she really doesn’t belong. 

Case in point…

excuse me...
lambs do NOT belong in the garden!

Hungry lambs and leafy garden crops are not a good mix. Thankfully, she was rounded up fairly easily…with the feed bucket (and a little help from the Boss).

All’s well that ends well.

In other garden news, the hens are set to move into the potato garden come the first of the week. Here they will peck and scratch for a while in hopes of cutting down on weed seeds and bugs for the early crops of 2016. 
putting electronet around the garden

Once the Market ends and we are finished harvesting the lower garden, they will move there for the majority of the winter. This will give them green matter for their diet and theoretically cut down on potential weeds and pests for the upcoming season.

clean hoophouse
feasting hens
But currently, they are enjoying a feast of great abundance as they eat all the weeds from hoophouse #2. The chickweed takes over that space the way kudzu has enveloped over parts of the South. And, unfortunately, there is no real solution except to pull it (and the crop) out and start over again. The worst part is when the chickweed is pulled it drops tiny little seeds everywhere and they seem to be able to germinate in any possible type of growing condition. We spend so many hours in combatting weeds that we could spend doing other more profitable things. Honestly, I totally understand the use of herbicides in the industry. (but, don’t worry…we don’t use any here on the hill) Perhaps we could convince our customers to eat copious amounts of chickweed…? But, then, the hens would probably revolt. So, I guess we’ll just pull weeds…again and again.

hen outside hoophouse #2

November is a notoriously slow time in the garden, but look at the garlic!

this will be ready for harvest in June 2016
  Look at the kale!

After the Boss cleared out the hoophouse, I spent some time planting greens that we hope to offer for sale during the winter.
pretty lettuce
this variety is supposed to be winter hardy...

With just a few Market days left until the 2015 season goes into the history books, everyone was hoping for a nice day on Saturday. Particularly since Friday’s weather set records for warmth throughout the area.

Didn’t happen.

puddles at the Market

It rained and rained and rained. I felt so sorry for the veterans (and the spectators) as the Veterans’ Day parade rolled through the streets of Staunton. The words rain and parade really don’t belong in the same sentence. Market customers were trying to juggle their purchases and umbrellas during the worst of the deluge. The unfortunate ones without umbrellas were dashing from vendor to vendor, hoping to get under cover as they made their purchases. Despite the fairly miserable weather, most everyone found some way to be cheerful and it turned out to be a great day for sales.
Squeekie is "helping" me decide how to utilize the few leftovers

I would like to put in a request for nice weather for the next two Saturdays. Please. 

And, that was the week on the hill.

I see LOTS of work to do in this picture!
let's hope the weather holds

Not too exciting this time of year, I must admit. But, the first seed catalogs for 2016 arrived this week, so we will soon turn our attention to the next growing season. But, there are countless other jobs that need some sort of attention first. Fall maintenance and preparation jobs can actually be a little overwhelming as winter weather predictions start. For right now, I’m not listening to anyone who says the “s” word. Let’s get through the end of the Market and Thanksgiving and then we can talk about winter.

Hope you’re having a Happy Sunday! 

Thanks for stopping by. Come “visit” us again real soon.

sheep after the rain

Want to virtually visit the Market on a rainy day?  Here is the link to the Boss’ photos.