Winter is Coming... But first, FALL!

Days are just a bit shorter, the sun doesn’t blast through my bedroom window at 5:00 a.m. anymore (oh, thank ya, Lord!) and sometimes we get that glorious fog across the whole back pasture - yep, Winter is coming.

But first, FALL! It’s my absolutely favorite season here in Maine. Technically, there are five to seven seasons - Winter, Mud Season, Bug Season, Spring, Summ—ooh, no it’s Mud Season again, Fall, and back to Winter. Not sure how it will be with climate change actually CHANGING the weather… but I noticed the first few leaves of red and rust yesterday. Maddrey and Frank are bringing in tomatoes from the greenhouse by the bucketful, we already have jars of pickles thanks to a ridiculous amount of cucumbers, and we got our first ever melons!

My lavender (for the most part) survived the nasty winter and Maddrey planted 9 more plants for me (thank you to the Burpee Catalogue). I think I miss my giant lavenders the most from my California house - but I do love the New England flowers so so much!

Frank is nearing the end of haying season, although the weather (and my travel plans) haven’t helped him out much. He’s replacing the cover on our largest hoop barn so the weather isn’t helping him there either (no can do if it’s the least bit windy). But not getting any help with anything IS kind of the life of a farmer. That’s why they figure out how to do basically everything themselves. Frank actually had a helper one summer - the fellow was sick one day and didn’t show up, so Frank replaced him with a stick (no, I’m not kidding). He got half again as much work done with the stick. Sticks are good little workers apparently.

We have the Common Ground Fair to look forward to in a couple of weeks. I volunteered to work in the store - mostly to get the free t-shirt that says “Volunteer” on the back. Then we have the never-ending list of on-going projects, new projects, and emergency holy-shit-how-did-that-happen projects. I’m about to actually be caught up (!!!!) with the TetherMade basket orders for CB2 (Crate & Barrel sister company), that has been a serious booster to our little business. But I’ll admit that I would be happy just to produce for online orders and our lovely group of wholesale shopists. (we have new colors, by the way!)

The sheep are producing The Best Wool due to wearing their fancy little coats - coats that I will be spending some time repairing, because those guys are tough on their wardrobe. OH, and since our initial peacock flew the coop (last seen on the No. 7 road, if anyone spots him, see if you can coax him back home…), we have two NEW peacocks - I like this solid white one the best. One of our peahens managed to sit on three eggs to the point where they hatched… just in time to be eaten by some predator (see previous post about Life and Death on the farm… sigh…)

And so I don’t get bored, I added a Zazzle shop to my list of Print-on-Demand shops where folks can buy nice little gifts or home decor with my artwork printed on them. I will admit that I already ordered a pair of the sneakers for myself… plus I got the folkart rug from my Society6 shop. Just to guarantee they were quality products… (hush, I’m serious… but yes, I have wanted chicken print sneakers for more than a few years). I’ve also gotten hooked on Pinterest (give a shout and I’ll follow you) - who knew it was so fun?

But, by the way, that’s another thing about having a small farm these days in America - pretty much every farmer has someone in the family with an off-farm job. I’m hopeful that my contribution can be sort of an on-farm, off-farm business with this mix of online stores. So if you need any special gifts, I can make them even more special - just give me a shout. Really, who doesn’t need chickens on their bedsheets?

One more thing, before I let you look at pretty pictures: I noticed something recently. It started when I was thinking about some shoes I bought on my trip to Spain earlier in the year. I decided in advance that I HAD to have a pair of espadrilles, and a pair of Menorcan sandals - the shoes of Spain. And I HAD to find Just the Right Ones. But while I was shopping, after I had found my “perfect pair,” I spotted another little pair of red & white sling-back espadrilles and bought them, too. (don’t start with me about shoes). Now here’s what I noticed: I wear those red & white shoes constantly and wear the other two pairs hardly ever. And it’s a lesson that seems to repeat for me regularly: whenever I really really fixate on something, the more it seems to not really work out like I thought or not make me particularly happy. Whereas, when I just jump in and take a chance, try something unplanned or unexpected, I’m a great deal happier. Maybe it’s the expectation vs lack of expectation (very Buddhist of me), I don’t know. But it seems to be true. I’m going to try jumping more often… just to see. How about you? Are you a jumper or a decider?

I guess that’s all the news that’s fit to print. Let me know what you think. Now here’s your farm Zen pictures.

Cantaloupe? Oh yes we can!

Cantaloupe? Oh yes we can!

Maddrey cooking up tomato sauce and saving seeds

Maddrey cooking up tomato sauce and saving seeds

Cooking down tomato sauce

Cooking down tomato sauce

Folkart Design rug

Folkart Design rug

Pippa the Sheep-herder with Mollie

Pippa the Sheep-herder with Mollie

Sheep, Lavender, White Peacock, Baby Geese getting their grown-up feathers and Chicken Sneakers!!!