Saturday, October 18, 2008

Staycation Report

We got back from our visit to our land on Thursday afternoon. As with most vacation aftermaths, we now feel like we need a recovery period from our vacation before picking up again with our normal routine. Unfortunately, fall chores are upon us. There is now raking to be done, the garden beds to be prepared, and apples to be harvested and washed in preparation for cider making.

I cannot forbear, however, to share some pictures from our week spent not too far from home. We semi-roughed it for a week in a rented RV, learning to stretch fresh water even farther than when we lived in a drought-prone environment. We flew kites, mulched some of the fruit and nut trees we've planted up there, and had some minor adventures. I started a knitting project which looks like it will turn out well. Along the bank of our dirt access road I planted daffodil and crocus bulbs that had been thinned from plantings in our backyard. We went to sleep when it got dark and woke up with the Canada geese or the dawn, whichever came first.

Just to start off with, this is the view to the southeast. On several mornings, there were light mists over this way, due to the creek just to the right of this picture.

Here's the autumn view, near sunset, to the southwest.

Here's our northward view. Along this ridge line runs the Appalachian Trail.

And this is what we got to look at every evening around sunset.

We took a ride on a bona fide steam train...

...and admired the many historic details, such as the coal that feeds the furnace to create the steam.

We had a couple of weenie roasts around a little campfire, which we built in a huge habachi grill we picked up for nothing after it failed to sell at a local yardsale.

Because we're goofy, we started painting the shipping container we use for storage Holstein. We hope the farmers and horse folk in the area will think we're crazy city folk, but essentially harmless. Even with good weather, it takes quite a lot of time to prep and paint the corrugated surface of a shipping container. Thus, the unfinished state of this little art project. We covered the areas most damaged by rust though.

We couldn't resist a little cooing over the neighborhood's newest resident: tiny Coral, the four-week-old miniature Mediterranean donkey, shown here with her dam, Dorrie. We were tickled to hear that this didn't immediately mark us out as sentimental types. Even the farmers around here apparently stop to gawk at such unrestrained cuteness.

Is it obvious yet why we bought land in this area, and why we want to move there as soon as we can get a house built? The rolling hills of Pennsylvania, particularly in the fall, are just drop dead gorgeous. The fact that we can practice dry agriculture here is the icing on the cake.

We came home to an unexpected late harvest of beefsteak tomatoes. They'll never be great, but they're good candidates for the smoked tomato trick. I was glad I hadn't found the time to rip out the plants before we went away. The mild days and lack of rain made them as good as can be expected for fall tomatoes. They're in the garbage can smoker as I write this.

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