Since the pandemic was still raging on we decided to keep Halloween and Thanksgiving chill again this year. We’re always looking for new traditions for the holidays and I guess the pandemic helped us do things a little differently which isn’t always a bad thing.
Pumpkins & Fall Fun:
We grew a lot of cooking pumpkins in our own garden but the girls were wanting to carve some too. It seemed silly to carve up a perfectly good pie pumpkin so we decided to go to a nearby pumpkin farm to snag some. I was actually really surprised with how expensive they were! I ended up passing them up at the first farm we went to because I just couldn’t stomach it. $20 per pumpkin times 4 adds up. It seemed a bit looney to pay $80 for something we wouldn’t be consuming and would end up in my compost pile the next week. It wasn’t too much better of a price but we ended up getting the last remaining pumpkins from another farm nearby and the girls had a friend over to do carving on the porch. I learned that those pumpkin carving knives are pretty handy. Year after year I attempt it with a large serrated knife and boy, it is tricky! I feel like a maniac attacking the pumpkin.
At the first farm we went to, Johnson Farms, they had a crazy hay ride called “Walt’s Wild Wagon Ride.” They weren’t kidding! We stood in line for quite some time to get on the hayride. Just before we got on we caught onto the tradition of filling up a plastic bucket with little ornamental pumpkins. The tractor driver then proceeds to step on the gas full tilt with wild swerving back and forth, up and over hills all the while the passengers hold on for dear life as the dust surrounds the wagon. Throughout the wild ride there are targets set up on both sides which the riders would try to hit with their pumpkins. The craziest part was the “path” that the tractor was taking intermingled with the walking path people took from the parking lot to the farm! I’m shocked nobody was hit by the tractor or oncoming flying ornamental pumpkins!! Needless to say we took the long way around back to the parking lot when we were heading back to the car. It was eventful for sure.
Fall is also the time of year to roast pumpkins and make pumpkin everything! Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, pumpkin cookies and our favorite, pumpkin pies! And, we didn’t get sick of it. How could we? Yum!
Again this year our neighbors saved the day and let the girls stop by their houses to say Happy Halloween and show off their costumes. Those two houses we visited was way better than going to 20 houses we didn’t know. An exchange of treats and chatting is worth a lot. Our oldest dressed up as The Princess In Black and our youngest dressed up as Cartwheel Queen, both from the same book series, “The Princess In Black.” Justin and I just popped on our medieval costumes and called it good.
Another Halloween first for us this year was going on a SUP (stand up paddle board) witches paddle down the canal in Eugene. There were about 100 witches and warlocks that paddled down the canal in full costume. To my amazement, I didn’t see anyone fall into the chilly water! I thought for sure at least one would fall in. I have to say, I was a little disappointed. 😛 I dressed us all in wetsuits under our black witchy costumes just in case we fell in. It was really fun and one of our neighbor’s with a kiddo a similar age to our youngest came along as well. Costumes ranged from simple to extravagant. We’re definitely going to do it next year as well if it’s being held.
Outdoor Chores & Animals:
The last of the mowing was in order before the rain of fall set in. This meant getting to all the hard to reach places on the property. With this came some sticky situations we had to pull the lawn mower out of. There are lots of steep hills here on Crow Farm and the big old riding mower doesn’t always mesh well with them. We know well enough not to ride on the hills sideways but we tend to underestimate the power of the mower when going up hill. Justin got into quite a pickle up by our spring. The options were keep going down hill or…down hill. 🙂 The problem was there was a creek the mower had to cross due to its inability to go back up the hill in reverse. After some finagling and searching for random objects that could help us we made a precarious but useable bridge over the creek for Justin to very carefully but quickly, lest it get stuck again, cross over the creek. It worked! Lesson learned…until next year anyway.
A first for us at Crow Farm happened. We noticed there was a little stream of water flowing down our front walkway to the house. I didn’t think much of it because we had a couple heavy rain storms and it was to be expected that the water from uphill would trickle downhill. It was after it stopped raining and the little stream continued that made us suspicious. I tried all the obvious things it could be coming from such as a spigot that wasn’t shut off all the way. No such luck. Justin had an idea to attach the air compressor to the pump house to see if we could detect bubbles coming out of the ground which would help us pin point where the leak was. It worked like a charm! Justin stayed at the pump house down in the hayfield while I stayed with the leak, relaying information. After I dug and dug I finally found where the leak was coming from! It was from the pipe leading to a flowerbed spigot. The hole was just bigger than the tip of a pencil but the pipe was very rusted and in danger of a much bigger leak very soon. It was a very muddy job! After digging into the ground about 2.5 feet I found that there was a junction where one pipe met another. Yay! Justin was able to cut off the pipe and replace it with a new one. Problem solved!
While we are on the topic of muddy jobs I should mention that we had dug yet another path near the barn. The girls helped me collect worms, dig and move sod from the barn path we made. It was just a little path compared to the one we made last year from the house to the barn. This one just went from the barn door to the pig pen so I didn’t have to slip and slide when feeding those sweeties. We used some of it to build up the duck run ramp into their Quack Shack and the rest we piled on our very useful pile of dirt.
The animals were finally finding relief from the super hot days of summer. The pigs found their favorite shady spot under the little fabric shade I made them. After seeing them liking it so much I’ll have to put it on my list of things to make better for next summer. The bunnies had a hair trim during the summer months to keep cool so by fall they were feeling pretty good.
One of the end of summer/fall trips we did was to attend a friend’s wedding up in Washington. It was such a lovely set up where all the neighbors came together to create a magical outdoor space for both the ceremony and the reception. It was both nerve-racking and fun to see some folk we hadn’t seen in a while. We camped nearby so we’d be close to the ceremony which meant we got the best of both worlds. We got a camping trip and got to dress up fancy for the wedding.
Once we were back on the farm the girls took advantage of the nice weather too and put on regular concerts by the barn. The gravel and mulch piles made for a nice set up for a stage.
For a while now the girls and I had been braiding wool scraps together into long strands. It was a fun things all of us could do when we had some down time. Well, we finally braided enough for me to make a rug! The sewing together of the braid was definitely the most tedious part. I first made the mistake of taking it on a car ride and sewing it on my lap. It then became a lovely wool bowl! Haha. After unstitching and restitching it while it was on a flat surface it worked great. It turned out really thick and cozy.
The girls found time for sewing and getting creative with some wood and nails in the barn. Justin gave the girls free range with his wood scrap bin which the girls have been loving.
Thanksgiving & Birthday:
We had a Thanksgiving feast at Crow Farm with just our immediate family this year. We would have loved to be around family and friends for the holiday but it just didn’t quite work out this year. We made the best of it by making all our favorite sides and desserts. The goal for me was to make enough food that I didn’t have to cook for the rest of the week. Success! Our Thanksgiving tradition is to go for a run sometime before having our early dinner feast. Justin and I ran while the girls biked and we all went down to give the neighbor horses some treats. It was a wonderful day to be thankful for so much.
The day following Thanksgiving this year was my birthday. Our tradition is to get a Christmas tree on my birthday and timing worked out great this year. Last year we went to a local farm called Carroll’s Country Christmas Trees and though the tree was a bit pricy it lasted forever, everyone was so sweet and the atmosphere is so cheery! We decided to do the same this year. It’s just such a festive time of year and the girls and Justin made the day extra special with all their sweet gifts and kindness.
And finally, the long awaited vaccine for kids!! I was on the computer the moment our county made it available and got the girls in the second day the vaccines were out. We wanted to be sure they had enough time between their second shot and when family was planning on coming for Christmas. Timing worked out perfectly and the girls were so excited to get their shots. The community opened up a large warehouse-like building for the children’s vaccines. All the volunteers did such an amazing job making the building as inviting as they could with decorations galore and such amazing staff. Everyone was so friendly and made the girls feel so special. There was of course the small group of protestors in the parking lot screaming profanities and telling us we were killing our children by getting the vaccine but we ignored them as much as we could. Oh dear! I sang a silly song loudly while we skipped into the building so I don’t think the girls even heard what they were saying, thank goodness. Now we are all vaccinated and ready for family to come for Christmas!!