Cheap date. I highly recommend an outing with kids, leaves and loads of laughter. And if you’re like us, a pet goat named Marigold. We couldn’t keep the goat out of the photos. We couldn’t get my two-year-old in them … perhaps because his attitude matches his favorite word: “No!” He hails “No!” to everyone he meets. Sometimes even before he grins and says hi. At least he’s talking. And much to my mother’s chagrin, he is not yet potty trained. He’s two. He’s male. What’s the rush? Even the totally tricked-out toddler potty with a flush handle and a toilet paper holder didn’t make a difference. It’s a winter project. What else is there to do when it’s snowing and blowing outside? We’ll just sit around on our potties and practice counting … at least 1-2.
To do lists. In the meantime, it’s autumn. I need to clean out my flower beds, put the garden to bed for the winter and plant my garlic. And it’s not just any old garlic. It’s organic garlic all the way from Idaho. Farm boy went on a business trip last month and all he brought me was fresh garlic. Now that is true love. I couldn’t have imagined a nicer present. It’s fresh from MaryJane’s Farm. Have you heard of MaryJane Butters? She’s wonderful. She’s the epitome of friendly farmgirlhood. Her latest book, MaryJane’s Outpost, Unleashing Your Inner Wild is on my list of favorites. It would make a great Christmas present for your favorite gal pal. I’m on the hunt for an old bathtub so I can create an outdoor retreat. You’ll have to get the book to see what I mean!
Spring fever in October? It’s been a zoo around here this past month. Well, perhaps nature preserve is more like it. Coyotes howl every night about midnight. A hungry hawk hauled off with one of my hens. The pony continues to walk right through fences and help herself to the apple trees and garden leftovers. You can’t miss her … she’s white, extremely rotund and her mane and tail are matted with burrs because she insists on traipsing through the worst possible places. We have spotted deer, turkeys, pheasants Canada geese, squirrels and chipmunks in the last few weeks. Oh! We can’t forget the owls hoo-hooing in the pine tree outside the bedroom window … or the opossum that got stuck in the garbage can one night. The cows got out. The bull got out. The pony got out AGAIN. And the neighbors’ draft horses, buggy horse and ponies were standing in the middle of the road when I came over the hill. We got them rounded up. Farmgirl note: Always carry a lead rope in the truck. At the very least, you can use it to tie your kids to the cart while grocery shopping.
Stocking the pantry. Do any of you get the urge to hoard and gather? About the time the weather gets nippy and the leaves start to fall, I start preparing for winter. I don’t mean in the weird, Y-2-K sort of way. I mean in the winter’s coming so think ice storms, power outages and blizzard conditions sort of preparedness. I stock up on the essentials just in case. Extra batteries for the flashlights. Matches and lighters near the candles. And then there is the pantry itself, beginning with canned goods. At the present moment, we have enough cans of Bush’s Baked Beans to last us for two months. We froze 40 bags of green beans and 20 quarts of yellow squash and zucchini (great sauteed with a little parmesan cheese!). We always have a six-month supply of oatmeal on hand (or so it seems!). The hens keep us in eggs. The freezer is stocked with Certified Angus Beef ® steaks, roasts and ground beef (yes, it truly is the best beef you can buy!), and I bought flour and butter on sale. These items stay fresh in the freezer for months. Then of course there’s the paper products and such. Is it necessary? Sure, why not. As long as we use it—and ice storm or not we will—who cares if it seems a little over the top. I won’t have to drive to town in the snow. Instead, I’ll cozy up to the fire in my husband’s wool hunting socks—essential to my winter wardrobe—and contentedly realize I’m prepared for just about anything! Although if Santa saw fit to put a generator under my tree, I wouldn’t need so many matches.
Farmgirl’s winter wardrobe. I close my store in January and February. Yes, my driveway gets a little slick in the snow. And who wants to venture into the Carroll County hills in a blizzard (Only the natives who live here!). All valid reasons for closing up shop for a long winter’s nap. There is, however, another reason. My attire.
My winter wardrobe would scare customers away. No kidding. My favorite lounge-around-the house or head-to-bed attire features those beloved wool socks and a long, pink and fuzzy “housecoat” that zips up the front. Think grandma, but with a pony tail and painted toenails. I crawl into a bed whose cozy flannel sheets have been preheated by my electric blanket. Wait! Before you roll your eyes and snicker, I have to explain that my bedroom does not have heat. There are no heating ducts … just double doors that open onto the upstairs porch. Delightful in the summer. Frigid in the winter. We get frost on the inside of the glass. The doors are not airtight. The walls of this corner bedroom are not well-insulated. I do not fib when I say I can sometimes see my breath. I’ve heard it’s healthy to breathe cool air. As long as my entire body is encased in layers and layers of warmth, I survive.
But that’s nightwear. During the day, I pull on the warmest pair of fuzzy sweats I can find. Sometimes I preheat them in the dryer. Not very economical, but oh-so-toasty. I then button myself into one of farm boy’s flannel shirts. And of course the wool socks which rarely leave my tootsies when it’s below 40 degrees. I do a lot of computer work and my mouse hand is always cold. I can type with gloves on. The rest of my family? Oh, they think I’m nuts. My daughters lounge around in shorts and T-shirts all winter. For some reason, when the thermostat says 68 degrees, they seem to think it’s summerlike inside. They don’t seem to feel the drafts of this old house, the cold tile on the floor or the breezes that buffet the windows and whirl in through the cracks. And their bedrooms are heated. Nope, it’s all me … the cold, crazy woman in the parka.
So now you know why I close up shop midwinter. But for now, it’s autumn. We’re open and eager to help you find a fabulous treasure. Or to simply stop by for a visit and enjoy the view!
Visit Farmgirl Finds Nov. 6-8 for our Holiday Open House. The store will be brimming with seasonal delights for your comfort and joy! Don’t miss our sneak peek preview, Nov. 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.