Thursday, November 01, 2018

The End.....

It finally happened here in western Massachusetts - a killing frost. It was late this year and some odd bits are hanging on here and there but Monday morning when we awoke, the grass and fields outside were covered with white frost. My beautiful colorful garden is done for the year. It is such a bittersweet day - but there is always next year if you are a gardener. 

The normal gorgeous autumn color in western Massachusetts has been lacking this year. We have experienced massive amounts of rain constantly which has made haying very difficult. Mold and fungus have been rampant on the leaves of the trees and in people's homes. I do not remember another season like this. Two years ago drought, now rain rain rain. Finally the other evening when I was working in my pottery studio, I witnessed a brief glimpse of gorgeous fall color. And it was brief as the sun set onto the horizon. 

A killing frost signals the end to the growing season. It means that the sheep will soon need to be moved to their winter barns but we will wait on that as long as we can because there is still green grass growing. We have found it necessary to supplement some of the sheep with big bales of hay. They do not particularly want to eat it - they prefer green grass but if they are hungry enough they pick at it. 

When I say "we" I usually mean "The Farmer" or me but this year has been so challenging. Luckily we have a couple of Farm Angels - Jason and Ryan - who have been helping us out this year as Mark tries to get over his hip replacement surgery. Last week I had to rush him to the hospital at 5 in the morning. He was in severe pain and could barely breathe. After a day in the ER, he was admitted to the hospital with a pulmonary embolism in both lungs. He is out now and recuperating at home but he isn't able to do much at all. 

All these setbacks and so called recovery are making me think more and more about how we are going to carry on this farm this year through the winter lambing season. The shearers are supposed to come at the end of November. Mark won't be able to do anything and I'm thinking we should put it off a bit. Yes we could pay people to help but that is expensive and lambing is a tenuous time with life and death happening every day. Someone who isn't experienced with lambing would not be a lot of help. 

And so it goes at the farm. I don't want to be a downer but as you all know - everyone in the world goes through challenging times and this is one of those times for us. The only thing that is keeping me sane is the making I am doing in my pottery studio and at the sewing machine hemming tea towels and seeing my kind customers at the two farmer's markets I have been doing this year in Amherst and Northampton.

On a positive note, I have decided to again host our 4th Annual Holiday Open House here at Leyden Glen Farm on December 1/2 from 10-4. As per usual, I am doing this with some of my local artist and textile friends. I'll be posting more on that subject soon. For now - here is the flyer that I worked on yesterday. 


Patricia said...

Sorry to hear that you have hit a rough patch. If I could have retired close to you, the husband and I would be there lickedly split. Unfortunately we are in Texas dealing with flooding, taxes, and me trying to figure out the next step. You and I are not alone in this upheaval. Janet Szabo of Suck it up Buttercup blog and formerly a knitwear designer just found out her transcription job has crashed and burned. I am working at a grocery chain here in Texas and at the beginning of next year will need to transfer to a store closer to where I actual live. Right now it is an hour to hour and half way. While I love the store, the people, the customers the physical work is hard on this 59 year old. Sometimes I wonder if a bunch of us should start a commune, sharing work loads, textile love, food and life experiences. I wish I won the big lottery I would definitely help out, all I can do is buy pottery and towels.

Take care we love and care for all of you.
Patty and John

Chris and Karen Chase said...

Oh Kristin you guys have been through the wringer! I hope Mark is mending. How frightening all that blood clot stuff must have been for the both of you. I miss seeing you and my trips over to Leyden. Hanover is nice but it isn’t my beloved Northfield! I am in touch with Carrie Healy periodically and always ask after all of you. For now I will send love and keep you both in my thoughts. Fondly, Karen

Laura T said...

Oh my gosh I’m so glad you were able to get Mark to the hospital and he is on the mend! What a scary time for you and your family. Sometimes doing what you are doing is the best thing to do and just waiting it out. Not pushing through and making decisions. I’ve had to be more patient and let things unfold for the right path to come to me. Your winter art fair sounds fun and I hope to have the opportunity to purchase something via the internet. Living in central Oregon doesn’t allow to make my way there anytime soon. I always enjoy reading your blog and updates Kristin.

Robin said...

I am so sorry that the challenges are continuing and seem to be amplifying. I hope that Mark turns the corner soon and fully recovers. It must be so hard on both of you.

I'm glad to know that you are finding time, somehow, to be creative in a way which is fulfilling.

Meg said...

Mark's pulmonary embolism must've been a terrible experience for both of you! I can't imagine how you sort out the situation to keep making decisions for the farm. At least now that the Amherst Farmer's Market is done for the year (they are done, aren't they?) you'll have a little more time, but also a bit less income. My thoughts are with you all the time. I'm still mulling over your blog entry about where new farmers will come from, so much so that I asked the fleece sale people at the Fiber Festival of New England if they could mark 4H or youth fleeces so we could look for them and support young people who might go into farming.

Hope to see you at your December open house. I've never been to one before, and this year seems a good time.

Anonymous said...

As far as the rain rain rain, we are experiencing the same in Virginia. We are more than a foot above average and just tired of wet. A pulmonary embolism is scary stuff; I'm so glad ya'll got him to the hospital in time for treatment. Also glad that you have farm angels and hope that more of them fly to you.

Yola's Lamb and Zucchini Koftas (Meatballs) with Za'atar Yogurt Sauce

It's been a while since I've shared any new lamb recipes. A couple of weeks ago, our friends Yola and George visited and she shared ...