For several months now we’ve been under attack from a particular Cooper’s hawk that has decided the “farm to table” movement is meant for him.
Fall is so beautiful that it makes my heart hurt. I think it must be because it is a season of contrasts. The skies are clear and bright, but the shadows are dark and deep. The days are warm, but the nights are cool. The ice that firsts frosts the deep valleys burns off quickly. The horses grow thick furry coats that make them seek the shade in the heat of a sunny afternoon. The maples are etched out in crimson on the blue canvas of sky. The golds and purples of the Black-eyed Susans, golden rod, and ironweed stand in defiance of the cold winter winds to come.
I love fall; nevertheless, I confess that there is something about its flamboyant fragility that makes me sad. I love the way the leaves twirl and flutter as they make their way to the forest floors, the way the shafts of light bend through the trees, the way the sunshine turns the fields golden. But I don’t like the crack and crunch of brown leaves under my feet—or the frosty breeze that makes me shiver on my way to the barn for morning chores. Nevertheless I linger at the barn far longer than the chores would dictate—listening to the horses munch their hay and watching the sun slip over the mountain and flood the valley with light.
Soon enough the real winds of winter will come howling down from Bald Mountain, and snow will shroud the barns and fields. The shadows will become thin as the tree limbs are framed-- bare and honest-- against a cold winter sky. The horses will seek the sun instead of hide from it. We will rush through the barn chores and stomp the snow and mud off our boots as we return to the house to the smell of wood smoke and a warm fire within.
In the meantime, we will revel in the here and now—and be grateful for the beauty that surrounds us every day on the farm. October is a reminder for us to be grateful for the beauty and bounty of the harvest and all of God’s creation. And to give thanks for the both the warm October sun and the golden glow of the winter fires to come.
The year that she turned six, my youngest daughter put a pig on her birthday list. The pig was part of a list that also included sparkly gel pens, a new purple backpack for first grade, and a pink leotard for her just-enrolled dance class. But the pig was at the top. Since Lina was so young, I figured that she could not be serious. After all this practical little girl with long braids and steady eyes—the kid who never begged for anything--surely didn’t really want a pig. I tried to talk her into a Barbie instead. It would be so much easier, I pointed out, since we wouldn’t have to feed it. No deal. Lina looked at me with earnest eyes and explained that any girl could have a Barbie—but that she wanted a pig. We had a farm so we needed a pig, she reasoned, and a pig would be “way, way better than a Barbie.”
Walton and I both feel that being on the farm is magical--especially in the summer when the sky is as blue as a robin's egg and a light breeze flutters through the trees and sings in the grass. We can't imagine living anywhere else. In keeping with the magical atmosphere of the farm, I have spent some lovely afternoons constructing special little places for the tiniest and most elusive visitors to the farm--the fairies. Can you find all of the fairy gardens on the farm? Click and hover over the photos to get a clue as to where each can be found....
We are thrilled to host The Mountain Minor filming on the farm. We appreciate their passion for our Appalachian region--and for the very authentic and sincere story that the movie relates. Our farm dog Heidi (aka the dog star!) adored being the center of attention, and our family loved the sound of fiddle music filling up the holler and elevating everyday farm life into a concert. We are looking so forward to having everyone back in July. For more information on the film, check out The Mountain Minor website.
Spring continues to unfold around us in greens and golds. We are reminded of the Robert Frost poem :
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Wishing all of you happy planting and beautiful beginnings ...
A real mountain woman is supposed to be tough enough to wring the head off of a chicken and serve the bird up to a whole passel of younguns. She has to know how to use a shotgun, an ax, and an outhouse even as she sings old ballads and tells enchanting tales by the fire at night. In short she’s supposed to be more comfortable with the world the way it was a hundred years ago than the way it is now.