Célébration de L’Automne en Famille (celebration of fall with family)

Creating La Belle Vie

It is the beginning of autumn harvest season! This is our family’s favorite time of year. Our farm is aptly named Pumpkin Hollow Farm (we will have this new place looking like a farm in no time). So, when our children came for the weekend we wanted to do something really fun. We looked up local attractions but ended up at two nearby farms to pick apples, blackberries, and choose early pumpkins. Everyone had a wonderful time and it was the highlight of our weekend together.

Doug and I went around our village the night before the children arrived to scout out which farms we should go to. We ended up talking to one of the farmers for quite some time. The couple retired, they bought land here with apple trees on it, and a U-Pick farm was born.

The first farm we all ventured to looks to be a…

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Your Favorite Blogs

When I typed in those very first words in 2012, I was unaware yet of the amazing world of blogging.  It wasn’t just being able to sit down and chronicle our journey; the blog opened up more than that.  I have two long time pen pals that I met through my blog that are as dear to me as any friend I see regularly.  I have learned from farmers all over this land.  I have given consolation and have been given support.  I have read the most wonderful literature.  I have followed people on their journeys around the world, have sat in homes in other places, and have been privy to the world inside via their blog.  Blogging has made me a better writer, more educated, and more connected.

I have noticed that most bloggers do not blog for very long.  I will follow a blog for awhile, commenting on each other’s articles, seeing the day to day in someone’s life, having a friendship of sorts, and then they stop writing.  For one reason or another, hundreds of blogs that I have read over the years have vanished from the blogosphere.

So my questions is to you, dear readers and friends, what are your favorite blogs to read?  What do you write if you are a blogger?  Let’s all get to know one another here and share each other’s writings and worlds and your own favorite blogs.

I love having a cup of coffee, and after writing my own blog post, be able to read inspiring, funny, and true pieces.

Blogs make the world smaller.  Sharing ideas and our lives with each other makes the world a more compassionate and comforting place and gives writers a platform.  I am looking forward to hearing about your favorites!

Veggies on the Cheap

farmers table

Preserving food for the winter is a smart thing to do.  Whether a snow storm keeps you indoors or for some reason there is a tragedy and the grocery store is not available to you to buy food, you best have some stores.  You could can, dehydrate, or freeze (though watch for power outages), and store root crops.  I have plenty of posts on how to do so but where do you get the vegetables affordably?  A case of vegetables at the grocery store would be cost prohibitive.  I am farming a quarter acre but I will not have enough to eat now and get us through the entire winter.  We better head to the farmer’s market.

  • Ask for seconds.  Ask the farm early in the day to save you the slightly bruised tomatoes to make sauce with.  Or the apricots to can.  Or anything that may be still good but it is not pretty enough to sell.  You could end up taking home cases of plenty good produce!
  • Ask how much a case of something is.  If it is in season it will be cheaper.  You may be surprised that it is not as much as you would think and you are supporting a farmer.
  • Go at the end of the day and see what is left.  Farmers don’t generally want to take things home.
  • Seek out friends with gardens.  Everything is usually ready at once!  Farms come in all sizes.
  • When at the market, don’t ask how much everything is individually.  If you fill up a big bag or box with stuff then ask how much it is, you will get a better deal.
  • Start a friendship up with people at the farm.  Friends get deals, and making friends is always a great way to improve life even if you didn’t get anything!  Be a loyal customer.  Loyal customers get deals.

Now time is ticking!  Best get preserving!

Simple Pleasures and Tragic Fires

fire

The fires rage on.  The town seven miles south of us is evacuated.  So many of our friends have evacuated.  My friend pulled up to the shop to get a bottle of Furry Friends Anxiety from us, her car filled with two exchange students and nine cats on their way to a hotel.  Hundreds of animals; llamas, alpacas, cows, horses, unclaimed dogs, goats; along with human evacuees are crowded into the fairgrounds just beyond our back yard.  Doug and I took our daily walk through there so that Maryjane could see the animals.  One man, worried look on his face, resembling a sad Santa Claus scratched a yak behind a temporary fence.  All of his animals there, no home to go to, the Sheriff told us.

I shutter to think how many fellow farms will be not be at the farmers market tomorrow.  How many people will be missing.  We did not go to the market today as it is a mere mile from the evacuation site on the other side.  The smoke here hangs like fog.  Our eyes are dry, our hearts are sad for those around us.  We are safe here.  But it doesn’t take long for Mother Nature to decide otherwise for any of us.  So we focus our efforts on helping those we can, being thankful for what is here and now, and not worrying about all the small stuff that plagues our days.  We focus on the simple pleasures in life.

Ready for Market!

Holding a child’s hand.

The sweet taste of real honey. (Not the packaged stuff at the fast food joint!)

The hummingbird that visits each morning.

For Maryjane’s smile.

For all the jars of pickles and tomatoes in the kitchen waiting to be moved to the root cellar.

For baby chicks and their antics.

For the sound of Grandma and Grandpa’s voices.

For the first lilac.

For light rain on a sweltering day.

For time with friends.

For good wine.

For good folk music, mandolins, guitars, fiddle….

I told Emily as we walked home, “We have to stop worrying about everything in our lives.  We can’t be attached to material items.  Today, we are okay, and that is all we need to know.”

What are simple pleasures for you?