"Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a farm and live entirely surrounded by cows–and china." Charles Dickens

September 6, 2011


Front Porch, Lincoln, Vermont,  1940, photo by Louise Rosskam.
For more information on this WPA image from the Library of Congress archive, click here.

Here's what's been happening around the farm:
  • more canning (nectarine jam, and peaches tomorrow, with Anna––and beach rose hips on route from Cohasset, MA!);
  • it's been raining steadily and gently for three days now. Blessed, blessed rain which "droppeth...from heaven upon the place beneath: it is twice blest; It blesseth him that gives and him that takes." [Thank you, also to Wm. Shakespeare for Portia's soliloquy from The Merchant of Venice. And thank you Tropical Storm Lee for your leavings.] 
  • for Labor Day weekend we all got late summer colds, care of back-to-school time––I haven't had a cold in forever (thank you zinc supplements––well, at least for the past two years or so, until now);
  • our cattle have now been moved to our 50+/- acre knob pasture: after three hay cuttings this summer we let it grow up again for fodder for our 100+ cattle for about six weeks––they seem very happy today;
  • I am now officially a basketball mom––this somewhat disrupts our afterschool schedule but in ways that we can work around (I'm just sorry that Casey County Zumba classes do not meet at the same time as basketball practice!);
  • and, there is so much happening in the region and in our lives in the next eight weeks that I need a day just to figure and plan it all out––and to update our local produce/agritourism blog, GROW Casey County, with events and more regular articles for the weeks ahead [this will happen after peaches tomorrow].

When Anna comes to do peaches tomorrow, her husband Melvin (our friend and pantry-shelf builder extraordinaire––and yes, I still need to blog about my new cottage pantries!), will be coming to put more shelves up in a closet at the doublewide. All of these recent canned goods need a place to be, so a closet in our extra room will be converted for all manner of jars and supplies––in addition to what I have on hand at the cottage. When you have no cellars, you must improvise! So can I just say that new closet shelves make me about as excited as, well, a new pantry?

As much as we have been blessed with this much needed and continuous gentle rain here, we are also reminded of nature's fury in Hurricane Irene. While it did not deliver the punch that was just about promised to coastal regions of the northeast, it has devastated parts of inland New Jersey and two regions we know quite well: the Catskills of upstate New York and most of Vermont. Quiet rivers and creeks turned into raging, angry torrents that engulfed entire village centers, swept away historic bridges, and forever changed lives, landscapes and historic structures. 

Our daughter has been on the front lines, just north of Wilmington, Vermont, which is a disaster area, where she works at a four-season resort. She is grateful to have her home, job and everything else but has also been dealing with the sorrow around a drowning death of a coworker and watching many friends and colleagues and local people displaced by the storm. Frustrated, often entitled, tourists and wedding bookings gone awry have been the least of her problems. As I told her, these kinds of events test one's mettle. And she's got a lot of mettle. We hope to see her here again in Kentucky before the busy winter season kicks in up there.

I'd forgotten how much I have missed rainy days: for the excuse to be indoors, doing paperwork, or planning, preparing more interesting comfort-foodish meals. We haven't had this kind of weather, or any rain to speak about, since last spring. And after the intense several month heat of our Kentucky summer, we're all ready for the autumn months and a quieter winter here on the farm––and more writing and blogging, too.

You come back when you're ready!



  1. what a lovely old porch. I especially like the kite hanging there handy for the first windy day.

  2. Catherine, my father painted a picture of a front porch so like this one. Of how you made me miss him ! I will find it and blog about it. Thanks for the memories. sweet post


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