Sunday, October 21, 2018

Sunday Walkabout 10-21

The first frost is inevitable. As are the dire wintry predictions that are always sure to follow. But, it’s October…the latter half of October, it should come as no surprise.

But, the wind is SO cold. And the mornings are SO dark. It’s a toss-up as to whether we go for hibernation or preparedness. In reality, we just get prepared and wish for a period of hibernation.

frosty leaf

cold morning

beautiful October light

It finally dried out enough to get the potato harvested and in cold storage for the winter. Despite the weird weather patterns, the yield was good. (and we got a big job checked off the “to-do” list!)

Potato harvest has begun!

picking up 'taters

lots of potatoes

Potato harvest took the better part of two days

With the potatoes harvested, the Boss turned over the back garden to allow it to rest during the winter. 2019 will see that portion of the farm used in a  slightly different fashion as we review and revise our strategies for keeping this place sustainable for the long haul.

It seems that we just keep saying “never seen that before”! The fall brassica crop was no exception. Some of the plants are stunted and the heads (cabbage and broccoli) looked odd. When I went to cut them, the problem revealed itself. The stalk of the plant was full of water! The entire middle was hollowed out and rotten. While many of the plants were fine, the entire planting smells of decaying plant matter. YUCK! This previously unseen anomaly cut down the yield considerably.

cabbage full of water

now you understand
"rotten to the core"

To add insult to injury, “bambi” found his/her way to the garden for the first time ever.

"bambi" in the winter paddock
Last week, my investigation into the ferocious bark-fest going on in the backyard revealed a young deer in the winter paddock. She/he was not at all frightened and actually stomped his/her foot at the dogs. Repeatedly. I’m still not sure if this was bravery…or stupidity. The dogs outweigh her by a good deal. (but, that fence between made a big difference) This happened two days in a row. Then I discovered large bite-marks in the broccoli/cauliflower plantings. No serious damage, but enough to know that deer have come to the garden…and we will have a new issue to deal with in planning for the crops of 2019.
deer have come to the garden

deer damage

But, there are positive signs, too. 

The green garlic is sprouting well and the germination for some winter greens is looking good. (before anyone gets excited, I don’t know that I’m going to share these at all) The sheep and chickens are thriving, although the hens are getting a little anxious to get started on garden clean-up detail.
"the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence"

here come the ewe lambs!

ewe flock grazing on a clear October day

pullets under Karma's watchful care

I don’t know what happened to the week, but it sure seemed like Market prep day came along more quickly than it should have.  Not that there was a whole lot of preparation to do…

early morning trip over the mountain
everything is "okey-dokey"
cool weather brings out the barberries
cool sunset

dogwoods over Lewis creek

October morning light-show

We’ve reached that point in the season where the Market thins considerably. After a difficult growing season, numerous vendors have packed it in for the year. The chilly, dark mornings have our customers enjoying their warm, cozy homes rather than venturing out to see what wonderful veggies they can find at the Market.
Remy was looking for warm and cozy, too.
Despite the fact that the Market has been opened from April 1 to Thanksgiving for more years than I care to recall, there are always people who are surprised that we are still open after the first of October. So, for the next couple of weeks we will feel like we are just biding time until the final Market of the season. Generally, that is a phenomenal sales day as everyone attempts to get ready for Thanksgiving AND stock up for winter.
dark start to the Market

threatening skies
over a late season Market

Our  TEAL Pumpkin indicates we will offer non-food treats for any trick-or-treaters
Someone asked how I grew it that way
('s fake...)

Personally, I’m ready for the end. A little “hibernation” and down-time sounds delightful. And, before someone points out that I say that every year…you’re right. Market season is long and challenging. After twenty years of early Saturday mornings, it’s safe to say we are both tired. Very tired. It’s hard to be “on your game” and upbeat despite the weather, production challenges, customer whims, the economy, current events, etc. every single Saturday. But, being a grumpy vendor certainly doesn’t do much for sales! Sometimes there are political, environmental, personal conversations that all require far more engagement than my brain can handle while calculating the proper change. Yesterday was one such day and I had to take a nap when I got home!

grazing at sunset

But, it’s a new day. Time to re-group for a new week.

Hope you have a Happy Sunday! 

sunrise grazing
Thanks for stopping by. Come back and “visit” us again soon!

Check out the Boss' Market photos: 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Sunday Walkabout 10-14

After a week of wild, historic weather that devastated parts of Florida and surprised our own state with its flooding fury, it seems more than a little trite to write about the week that included a field-trip, a birthday party and very little farm work.


That’s all I got. 

Keeping up with the news can be a draining, depressing activity. It’s made worse by the fact that there seems so little we can do to help anyone or to change anything. It can either make you angry or depressed, and personally, neither one seems very desirable. So, we do what we can where we can and try to find joy and meaning in all of it. I really don’t know what else anyone can do.

So, perhaps this week my mission in writing should be to provide a diversion, a bright spot in your week. Because, Lord knows, we all need a bright spot! And, this week, it was pretty easy to find “three good things” (did you read last week? )

Swannanoa Palace

Last week I mentioned a fieldtrip. The Boss and I have been meaning to go to on this particular jaunt for years now. Swannanoa is a grand marble mansion built on the top of Afton Mountain by Major James Dooley in 1912 as a token of his love for his dear wife, Sallie May.

stained glass at top of grand staircase
(this is supposed to be Mrs. Dooley)

made by Tiffany Studios
valued at $100,000 at the time of installation
(cannot imagine how much it is worth today)

stained glass flowers

details are amazing
this is a ceiling corner molding
original plaster

even the water tower is ornate

carved marble pillars

loved this walkway

mosaic details on fireplace
hand-painted flowers in breakfast room

fish fountain in side garden

amazing water feature 
the craftsmanship was astonishing

water tower through the trees

Over the years it has fallen into disrepair and is no longer used as a residence. However, on occasion it is opened to the public for tours. Despite the oppressive heat and humidity, it was a fascinating trip.

The mansion has had a colorful history. You can read more about it here.

While the craftsmanship was amazing, and it truly was a beautiful spot, it made me sad to see it in such a state of decline. To restore it to its former glory would be incredibly costly (if not impossible).
So, I suppose it will slowly sink into the landscape and be forgotten. That's just sad.
it looks like it's getting dangerous

We returned to our own hilltop where the only thing that borders on grandeur is the sky.

When the rains from what was now Tropical Storm Michael headed up the coast, I don’t think anyone realized just how much this would affect many portions of Virginia. There was lots of flooding and even the loss of life. Read this article in the Washington Post.

Here on the hill, we saw a fair amount of rain. But, the big story was the weird light show we had as the storm moved out of the area. It was eerie, all yellow and pink and glowing, made all the stranger by the fact it was overcast, and we couldn’t see the sun…just the rather ominous light that turned everything a strange pinky-orange.
Looking out the back door

leaf on the back porch
(no filter)

But, the storm brought a change in the weather.


It feels like FALL. The sky is a bright blue and the air is crisp and clear.

chillin' in the shadows

common checkered skipper
(isn't the color gorgeous?)
planting cloves for green garlic

dried pokeberries
beaten by all the rain 
locust thorns

teasels at the creek

It felt chilly when the Market opened on Saturday morning. And, it was dark...

downtown at 7am

Lady Justice 8am

looks like the Boss got "finned"
by one of the the Findells
 But, the sun came out, it warmed up and the band sounded great! It was a beautiful Market day, no two ways about that. We’re counting down to the last Market of the season… Just 5 more!

We ended the week with Garrett’s first birthday party. It’s always so fun to see all the little cousins playing together and having fun. They are all growing up so quickly! (Sadly, I did not get shots of all of them)

He wasn't too sure about that candle...
but, the cupcake was another story

cousin ready for repairs


cousin checking out the playhouse

brother love

this cousin says
you can take ONE picture...


It's FUN being one!

And, that’s all folks!

Hope you have a Happy Sunday! 

Thanks for stopping by. Come back and “visit” again soon!

Check out the Boss' Market photos below: