September’s on the Horizon

Hello Folks,
Aunt Eunice here. I feel as frisky as a young goat thanks to this lovely cool weather with which we’ve been blessed. It makes me think of fall and that’s alright, though I’m not quite ready to let go of summer. We have three and a half weeks before summer officially ends and I plan on enjoying every day of them. This past weekend the Pocono State Craft Festival was held here on the farm and it was a lovely event. Lots of folks came to visit, check out the fine art and crafts that were for sale, and have a look at the farm museum. Next on the calendar is our Covered Bridge Farm to Table Dinner for which tickets are all sold out. Good food, lovely setting and good company.
Summer tours season ends on Monday September 2nd (Labor Day) so you can still get a visit to the farm in. We are open for Fall tours, which technically take place during the summer according to the calendar, on Saturdays September 7 and 14 from 10am to 4pm. That’s your last chance for the regular historic tour in 2019.
The biggest adventure of our year is on the horizon. Our 45th Harvest Festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday October 12th and 13th. This year’s theme is “Farms – Center of the Community”. There are far too many demonstrations and activities to list, but you can read more about it under the Calendar of Events section. I always pray we can have smooth sailing for Festival as it is our largest fundraiser of the year. Good weather, large crowds, plenty of volunteers are all needed to bring about success. When September arrives it will be full speed ahead on preparations for this event. I hope you will consider coming out to support us and our Harvest Festival. You are sure to have a marvelous time so come and enjoy yourselves!
That’s all for now. Have fun during these last few weeks of summer. Take care.
Aunt Eunice

Bits and Bobs

Hello Folks,
Aunt Eunice here. August has arrived and I am now wondering what plans I have time to make before summer ends. Visits to family, a weekend away, a few days at home to catch up on chores? I know for sure I will be on the farm tomorrow August 10th for our 13th annual Heritage Craft Day. I will be the one demonstrating basket making.
Most times I am working in Quiet Valley’s office, but I treasure the times I can work on the farm. Yes, the air conditioning in the Ed Center is nice on hot and humid days. The farm is so lovely though and I love interacting with our guests. I do a bit of this and that for Quiet Valley. Marketing, advertising, PR, being webmaster, creating special events both small and large, administrative assistant, a tour guide occasionally, teach workshops and am even a demonstrator. When needed I help put up tents and tables, set up areas for events, wash dishes, cook, sweep floors and more. No moss grows under a staff person’s feet here on the homestead!
Working for this small non-profit means wearing many different hats, not just your Quiet Valley bonnet! The staff works very hard to cover their many roles, to keep business thriving, visitors educated and entertained, to keep the buildings and grounds in good repair, to develop new events and programming, take care of raising crops and farm animals and so much more. Each time I am on the farm a tiny little mission of mine is to pick up the odd bits and bobs of litter that can be found. I have an issue with litter. Women in the early 1800s on the farm wore outfits without modern day pockets. They used a pouch type of pocket that tied around their waist and was worn under their apron.
I put the litter debris plus interesting things I find on the ground (unless it is something that makes me say “Eww!!”) in my pocket until I get near a waste can. Sometimes it is surprising what I collect. Last week I dumped my pocket out and was amused at what I found. It was like a cross between a child’s keepsake box and Mary Poppin’s carpet bag! It is astounding how much you can fit in your pocket. There was a pretty dried half of a walnut. When I turn it one way it reminds me of a pig snout and the other way of an owl’s face. I also had thirty six cents, empty candy wrappers, a broken pen, the corner of a credit card, a rack card, a gray plastic guitar pic, a Popsicle stick, a nice turkey feather, a turquoise hair band, an earring back and a partridge in a pear tree! No, actually I am kidding about the partridge. I would never put one in my pocket!
Bit and bobs, odds and ends, the little things that escape our possession or ones some of us set free on purpose. Some day I may make a collage using these type of found items. Wouldn’t that be an interesting project? Making art from the detritus of life.
I hope you make it out to Heritage Craft Day tomorrow. If you do come stop by the basket making area and introduce yourself. I would love to meet you.

That’s all for now. Take care. Aunt Eunice

August

Hello Folks,
Aunt Eunice here.  Last Saturday we held the second summer member’s picnic here at the farm. After a delicious potluck dinner everyone divided into teams and participated in a scavenger type of Treasure Hunt. Each team had to solve 9 riddles which took them to different parts of the farm. When finished they received the missing piece to their treasure map and a final riddle. Once solved it led them to their buried treasure. It was a lovely  evening to be on the farm and a good time was had by all. Consider joining Quiet Valley as a member and then attend the next picnic on August 15.

In a few days the month of August will be upon us. At one time it would have been called the month of Sextilis. According to Wikipedia August is the eighth month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, and the fifth of seven months to have a length of 31 days. It was originally named Sextilis in Latin because it was the sixth month in the original ten-month Roman calendar under Romulus in 753 BC, and March was the first month of the year. In 8 BC, it was renamed in honor of Augustus.

August is a good time to sit in an open area and watch the night sky for the Perseids, a major meteor shower, which typically takes place between July 17 and August 24, with the days of the peak time varying yearly.

Other August activities on a non-cosmic scale are Quiet Valley’s Heritage Craft Day on the 10th and the Pocono State Craft Festival on the 24th and 25th. They are both worth your time with the Heritage Craft Day being a bit more family friendly. The PSCF is perfect for serious shopper or folks who admire fine arts and crafts. We are having a special highlight the week of the 12th – 17th with the first time loading of our new lime kiln. The date of the actual firing has yet to be announced. Not something you can see every day.

The last day for the summer tours is Labor Day which is September 2nd this year. Fall tours will take place September 7 and 14. Don’t miss out as these will be the last tours for 2019.

I hope we see you at the farm before summer ends. Thanks for checking in. Aunt Eunice

Pie, Pie, Me Oh My

Hello Folks,

Aunt Eunice here. In our neck of the woods and many other parts of the country we are just coming out of a particularly nasty hot spell. High temperatures are not something for which anyone wants to hold a record! This week is starting off a little more reasonably. This is the time of year to head down to the swimming hole and cool off. If you don’t have a pond, walking in the creek can be a nice alternative. My grandchildren and I were in the creek a few weeks ago wading and splashing around. I told them to look for light colored stones in the creek bed because sometimes they are pieces of old pottery. It turned into a treasure hunt after the first piece we picked up was a lovely chunk of a white plate with little blue flowers on it. Our house was built in the 1860s and the stream is only about 100 feet behind it. These are remnants from the folks who started my farm. At this point we have a basket full of pottery and china shards. What fun! Remember to have someone with you if you are playing near or in the water.

With August on the horizon I am beginning to make plans for Quiet Valley’s Heritage Craft Day on August 10th. Various heritage craftspeople will be out to demonstrate their specialties, things such as spinning, weaving, paper crafts, hay fork making and more. This event offers a chance for visitors to try some crafts out for themselves. There is also an area for children to try some crafts. I am also thinking ahead to the Pocono State Craft Festival which is August 24th and 25th. This is the time to come if you like shopping for fine art and craft pieces, watching demonstrations, listening to live music and enjoying open house tours of the historic buildings. There will also be an artisanal bread sale, one room school presentations and wagon rides. There will also be baked goods to buy. All funds raised support three fine non-profits, the Pocono Arts Council, the Pocono Chapter of PA Guild of Craftsmen and Quiet Valley. I am planning what pies I will make for the bake sale. Cherry crumb pie and fresh peach pie with a lattice top crust always do well. Lemon sponge is old fashioned and yet still a favorite as is buttermilk pie. There is a saying “Easy as pie” which means something is simple to do. I am not sure folks today think making a pie is easy, but in the past all young ladies learned how to make a good pie and a tasty cake. Today it should be a “piece of cake” to make a pie as you can even buy a ready made pie crust to speed things along. Making pie can be very satisfying and gifting people with a homemade one is a sure way to make a friend. Try our recipe and you may become a pie making fanatic. Buttermilk Pie

Thanks for checking in and we hope to see you here at the farm real soon. Aunt Eunice

July – Fireworks and Dog Days

Hello Folks,

Aunt Eunice here. I hope you had a chance to celebrate the Fourth of July in a special way. Cookouts and fireworks are typical occurrences, along with parades. My family enjoyed all three activities. The cookout food was delicious and included a fresh corn salad that is easy to make and can be tailored to your family’s taste. Barley Corn Salad If you don’t want to use the barley just add more fresh corn kernels.  The parade had bagpipe groups, marching bands, fire trucks and lots of floats, though I must say my favorite float is a root beer one! The fireworks were beautiful and something both young and old look forward to seeing.

USnews.com shared – Thought to be invented by the Chinese 2,000 years ago, fireworks have been a tradition of America’s Fourth of July celebrations since the country’s inception, with the founding fathers themselves seeing fireworks fit to mark the birth of their nation. In a July 3, 1776 letter to his wife, John Adams declared that the signing of the Declaration of Independence should be a “great anniversary Festival” and “solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.” A year later, Congress itself ordained the tradition, enjoying in Philadelphia “a grand exhibition of fireworks, which began and concluded with thirteen rockets on the commons,” according to the Evening Post. Boston also saw a fireworks display in 1777. In the following years, the tradition spread through the Boston area to New York and other cities,

Now that July has arrived it has been a bit humid and hot. My mother was from the south and she said days like that were “close”. She and my aunts would also say the dog days of summer were here.

According to almanac.com – The Dog Days aren’t just when your dog starts panting on a sweltering summer day. These days once coincided with the year’s sunrise rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. Ancient folks thought that the “combined heat” of Sirius and the Sun caused midsummer’s swelter. The rising of Sirius does not actually affect the weather, but for the ancient Egyptians, Sirius appeared just before the Nile River’s flood season. They used Sirius as a “watchdog” for that event. Because it also coincided with a time of extreme heat, the connection with hot, sultry weather was made for all of time! According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Dog Days of summer are traditionally the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, which coincide with the dawn rising of Sirius, the Dog Star. This is soon after the Summer Solstice, which of course also indicates that the worst summer heat will soon set in. The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids tells us all about the Dog Star, Sirius! Here are some of the most important facts: Sirius is the brightest star in the sky, if you don’t count the Sun. Under the right conditions, it can even be seen with the naked eye during the day. Sirius is one star in a group of stars that form the constellation Canis Major, meaning “Greater Dog.” It’s no surprise, then, that the nickname of this big, bold star is Dog Star.

Well, hot or not the farm is a nice place to visit in the summer. There is always a good breeze wafting through the valley and the buildings are fairly cool. If you get a chance come out for a tour of the historic farm this week. As a bonus on Tuesday enjoy a Pottery Highlight, on Wednesday it is Quilting, Thursday is the Paper Craft Highlight and Saturday is Bake Oven Day. These activities are no additional charge to your admission and are worth seeing.

That’s all for now and I hope to see you soon.        Aunt Eunice

Summer Highlights…..a Bonus for Visitors

Hello Folks,
Aunt Eunice here. This past weekend summer officially began. Long days will slowly fade into shorter ones and by fall darkness will begin to come far too early for me. The yearly cycle of days and sunlight have always guided the farmer in his round of chores and tasks. Make hay while the sun shines is an example. This Sunday the staff was not only giving historic tours, but also out bringing in the hay. What a wonderful smell is freshly dried hay, I suppose unless you get hay fever! As a child I would gather with the other neighborhood kids and help the farmer during hay season with the baling. We rode in the wagon and when a bale came flying up you quickly stacked it before the next one came. Don’t turn your back on the baler though or you were just asking to get wolloped by a heavy 40 pounder. We also helped throw bales on the conveyor belt that took the bales up into the barn’s hay mow to be neatly stacked, all ready to feed to the horses. By the time you were done the fun had started to wear a little thin as you were hot, sweaty and itchy. It was a smart time to head for the creek and cool off. It was a bit different in the early years of the 1800s when the farmer cut the hay by hand, let it dry and then pitchforked the loose hay onto horse drawn wagons to be taken to the barn. Intensive manual labor. No wonder the farm family was always a large one and neighbors helped each other out.
This coming week on Tuesday June 25th we have a special highlight on cork husk crafts. Jeanna Trezza will demonstrate how to make various items out of the corn husks saved from field corn. This is an old craft and many things were made such as dolls, flowers and the settlers even made door mats for wiping their feet off. On Thursday June 27th the highlight is cheese making. Brenda Massie and Carol Carpenetti will demonstrate how to make a soft herb cheese. I hear samples will be shared. Both of these highlights are part of a program that brings special demonstrations to the farm for visitors to enjoy and as a way to teach about specific heritage crafts, trade or farm skills. There is no additional charge to see these highlights. Under the Calendar of Events you can see the current list of highlight offerings.
I hope everyone has a wonderful summer and enjoys the long days while they last. We would love you to make Quiet Valley part of your summer days.

That’s all for now. Take care and hope to see you soon. Aunt Eunice

Summer…Time for New Recipes

Hello Folks,
Aunt Eunice here. After all the talk in the last two letters about relaxing this summer, I’m afraid to say on Saturday I was as busy as a one-armed paper hanger! Summer Garden Party was a lovely event though and we had lots of visitors. Guests enjoyed making garden inspired art, tasting delicious foods made with fresh herbs, touring the kitchen garden and trying herb breads at the bake oven. Here is a picture of the pot holder my 7 year old granddaughter made, her first real sewing project. 

Part of the fun was trying new recipes out like the lemon/basil cake and lavender lemonade. I was happy to be the taste-tester. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! Here is the Lavender Lemonade recipe for you to try. Here on the farm we make a virgin version. Up to you what version you want to make, just remember, don’t drink alcohol and then go out and try to drive the buggy home! The horse doesn’t always know the way!! Lavender Lemonade

If you missed Summer Garden Party that’s a shame, but there are other activities and events coming up. This Saturday is Children’s Day and there will all sorts of activities for young folk to try such as chores like Laundry Day, crafts to make, and games to play. There is no additional charge for Children’s Day.

On the Fourth of July we will have some extra activities to honor that special day like a History Bee and the reading of the Declaration of Independence. Stay tuned for more on that.

I find it hard to believe we are already talking about July! My, my, time does fly. Don’t wait too long to come out and see us. Summer is over in a flash and you deserve a chance to relax, explore the farm, have fun and learn something new. That’s all for now, folks.

Hope to see you soon. Take care. Aunt Eunice

And So It Begins…Summer

Hello Folks,
Aunt Eunice here to invite you out to visit our 19th century farm museum and learn something about the past. Now that summer is here you may find you’d like to spend some time in the fresh air. The last time I wrote to you I mentioned about taking it easy this summer. A visit to Quiet Valley might just be the ticket. This Saturday June 15th, along with the tour, you can enjoy the Summer Garden Party for no additional charge. Our theme area will feature Pennsylvania German Floral Motifs and adults can make some wall hangings or quilt a small piece using flower designs as inspiration. Children will have fun with vegetable stamping and making hex sign string art. At Brunching in and on the Garden you can try samples of thyme flavored jam filled cookies, lemon/basil cake and herb potato salad. We will be happy to discuss culinary herbs and edible flowers with you while there. Here is a link to Edible Flower Information. Remember, when in doubt, don’t eat it! Historic interpreter Jeanne Quinn will give you a tour of the kitchen garden and explain some of the medicinal uses of herbs and wild plants. Down at the outdoor brick bake oven they will be making herb breads and samples will be shared. The weather should be lovely so I hope to see you out here taking it easy for a while.
During the summer there are a number of chances to see some very talented craftspeople and artists sharing their passion for various folk art and heritage crafts. We call these our summer highlights and there is no extra charge to see them demonstrate while you are here for the tour. Look under Summer Highlights under Calendar of Events to see this year’s schedule.
Next Saturday, June 22nd, is Children’s Day and it is an extra good time for families visiting Quiet Valley. Young folk can try out various old time chores like Laundry Day and  “Vegetable” picking or make crafts and play games. Truly some old fashion fun and a nice time in the fresh air.
Summer Garden Party and Children’s Day give Quiet Valley’s summer season a great beginning. I hope you will come out and visit with us.

Picnics, barbecues, visiting the swimming hole, fishing, boating, jigsaw puzzles on Sunday afternoons, gardening, walking barefoot in the rain, ahhhh! And so it begins…Summer!!
Take care and see you soon. Aunt Eunice

Summer Time – The Living Should Be Easy!

Hello Folks,
Aunt Eunice here. Well, our Frolic weekends were blessed with beautiful weather and we want to thank the community for coming out to support our farm museum. It was quite busy and there was plenty for guests to see and do. Now it’s time to look ahead.

Spring season for school tours ends this week so that means summer can’t be far behind. While the summer season on a farm is plenty busy folks in the past knew it was important to have some lazy days mixed in. There is some saying about “all work and no play makes Aunt Eunice a dull gal”! I prefer to be sharp as a tack. There are a number of old fashion activities that are still relevant in this day and age. Picnics are fun and get you out of doors. People today spend far too much time indoors, unless you’re a street sweeper. A fine traditional job that keeps you fit. Your mailman in town gets outdoors quite a bit as well. Pack up a basket with some cold fried chicken (skinless and grilled for you who are health minded), some nice potato salad, fresh fruit and lemonade. Throw in some tin plates and cups along with cutlery and a pretty tablecloth and you are ready to go. Find a spot near a cool stream and take your fishing poles. Maybe you will catch a nice trout for supper. If nothing else teach your children the basics of fishing. It’s a good lesson in patience.

Old fashion games can be a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I hear there are newfangled yard games today called Corn Toss, Can Jam and Washers. I recommend horseshoes for the menfolk and croquet for the ladies and children. A scavenger hunt is a good way to involve everyone if you play with teams. A prize for the winners of a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies keeps things competitive.

Here’s some information from www.kitchenproject.com on Chocolate Chip Cookies, one of my favorite cookies. Like many great discoveries…and this is one of the greatest, it was a mistake.

Ruth Wakefield invented chocolate chip cookies in 1930 at the Toll House inn she and her husband Keneth ran near Whitman, Massachusetts. Like a bed and breakfast she made food for her guests. One evening in 1937 she got the idea to make a chocolate butter cookie so she broke up one of the bars of semi-sweet chocolate that Andrew Nestle gave her. She thought that it would mix together with the dough & make all chocolate cookies . Needless to say, it didn’t. However the cookies came out decent so she served them. They of course were so good they had to be done again. She published the recipes in several newspapers and the recipe became very popular.

This gem of Ruth’s she called the Chocolate Crunch Cookie and she made a deal with Nestle that they could put the recipe on their chocolate bar if they supplied her with free chocolate for her cookies at the Inn.Nestle tried to make it easy for people to make these cookies. They even included a small chopper in the package. Finally, in 1939, the Chocolate Morsels that we know today were introduced.

The Chocolate Chip cookie is the most popular kind of cookie in America. Seven billion chocolate chip cookies are eaten annually. (I swear, Aunt Eunice only eats about a million!) The Toll House produces thirty-three thousand cookies each day. Some Vendors only sell chocolate chip cookies. Half of the cookies baked in American homes are chocolate chip.

Let make a pact to find time to relax, play and have fun this summer. Let Living Easy be our motto for a few months. Mow the lawn, wash the clothes and dishes, but try to simplify life from June through August. We all need time to regenerate and get back to nature. On that note, come visit Quiet Valley on our opening day of summer tours, Saturday June 15th. In addition to the historic tour you can enjoy the Summer Garden Party at no additional cost. Learn about growing herbs and vegetables and different ways to use them, try some tasty samples, make some garden inspired artwork and just breathe in the fresh air. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

That’s all for now, folks. I hope to see you soon at the farm. Take care and take it easy.
Aunt Eunice

Frolic – Not Over Quite Yet

Good Day, Folks,

Aunt Eunice is back to remind you if you didn’t make it last weekend to our Farm Animal Frolic, you still have this weekend, May 25 from 10am to 4pm and  May 26 from noon to 4pm to come on out.
This Saturday May 25th will be a busy one with many special activities. The PA WoodMobile will be coming and will share a beautiful display in their 35 foot trailer exhibit. Learn about local trees in our area, the history of the forest industry and what every day items are made with different woods. The early settlers couldn’t have survived without the native trees. Most everything was made from wood especially in the early years of settlement. The black locust tree is known as the strongest timber in North America and is the most durable American wood for ground contact. This was used on the farm for fencing. White oak was used for basket making and red oak for flooring. Cherry trees provided medicinal benefits as well as other ones such as the fruit. Black walnut hulls were used for dying wool and as a stain.
Margaret Quinn will be here on the 25th to shear our sheep, an interesting demo. It is amazing how small the sheep look after being sheared. Their babies don’t always recognize them at first. The spinning and weaving group will take one of the fleeces and turn into a shawl during the day.
Lots of other fun activities will also take place. You can shop at the Friend’s Collectible tent and find some nice bargains. The gift shop is open as well and contains some lovely hand crafted items. There are games, hay jumping, wagon and pony rides, storytelling and more!
We are all waiting to see if Sweetie Pie, our pig, has her babies by this weekend. Maybe you will get to meet them. If not, there are plenty of other animals to meet. This year’s chicks so far are the Buff Orpington breed which is beautiful with a nice personality and winter hardiness. The breed originated in Orpington, Kent, United Kingdom in the late 1800’s. There are Black Orpingtons, White Orpingtons, Blue Orpingtons (somewhat rare), and Buff Orpingtons – the Buff color being the most prevalent. They are raised for the purposes of both meat and egg production;  also Cuckoo Marans which were developed in France in the mid 1800s in the town of the same name, Marans, France. The breed made their way to England in the early 1900s and quickly became very popular for their rich, dark brown eggs — a trait they are still known for today. These beautiful birds were first exhibited in 1929 in Paris by the Poultry Breeders Society of France, and since then have become popular around the world. This is a good, hardy breed which does well in a free range setting.
Come out to our historic farm and learn more about the farm animals and meet the babies. It will be fun for the whole family.

I hope to see you at Frolic. That’s all for now. Thanks for checking in. Aunt Eunice