Roll with the Changes & Let the Good Times Roll

Hello Folks,
Aunt Eunice here. I am hoping everyone is in a healthy state. I am sure many of you are still at home as I am. My middle daughter and I are able to work from home though I miss the farm at Quiet Valley. It is lovely to watch spring develop across the landscape. Many trees like wild cherry and crab apple will soon be blossoming. Winter aconite and snowdrops were making a great showing before I left the farm. I am watching our weekly videos on YouTube about gardening and see that they are preparing the soil and planting cool weather crops at Quiet Valley. I think I am jealous!

As many organizations have had to do, Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm has had to make some changes to the schedule, come up with additional fundraising efforts and in general roll with the changes. Flexibility is key. As no one really knows when the good times will roll again (we pray for hot spots like Louisiana) we are making decisions using a prudent timeline. We have lost our spring revenue, a big portion of our budget, and don’t want to give up our first fundraiser of the year, Farm Animal Frolic, usually held in May. A fundraiser on the farm in May seems optimistic which I usually am. Better to be sure that we will have the all clear . With that in mind we have pushed Farm Animal Frolic to our opening weekend of summer tour season. So on June 20th and 21st we will be having a one weekend Frolic so everyone can come see the baby animals, help support the farm museum, take the historic tour and as a bonus enjoy our annual Summer Garden Party. That is the plan as it stands at this moment. Stay tuned though for updates and fine tuning! The good times one way or the other will be rolling for sure.

I am praying for everyone’s wellbeing and please be safe. It is frustrating to be limited in what we can do and where we can go, but if we do the smart things and the hard things now the sooner we will defeat this dangerous virus. Fight the good fight and roll with the changes. I will be thinking of you.

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

Hard Times….We’ve Survived Them Before

Hello Folks,

Aunt Eunice here. I am praying everyone is doing well during these hard times we are currently going through. It can be scary, but I hope you are keeping your spirits up. Over the years the population of Earth has survived many pandemics and mass illnesses such as Small Pox.

According to Wikipedia 1947_smallpox_outbreak The 1947 New York City smallpox outbreak occurred in March, 1947 and was declared ended on April 24, 1947. The outbreak marked two milestones for America. First, it was the largest mass vaccination effort ever conducted for smallpox in America, and second, it marked the last outbreak of smallpox in America. Within three weeks of the discovery of the outbreak, the U.S. Public Health Service, in conjunction with New York City health officials, had procured vaccine and inoculated over 6,350,000 adults and children. Of that number, 5,000,000 had been vaccinated within the first two weeks. The rapid response was credited with limiting the outbreak to 12 people, 10 of whom recovered, while 2 died.

Hopefully our scientists can come up with a vaccine in the near future and we can be made safe from this latest, dangerous virus.

My family and I have appreciated peoples efforts to help us all have a laugh through social media posts. This meme shows Little Debbie (of snack food fame) on day one of quarantine and on day 14 of her quarantine. It has had me chuckling for two days. I am gaining my Freshman Fifteen a bit late in life as I am less active right now and as I come from a family that loves to bake and cook I have no shortage of calories at my disposal. I guess this is good at a time when groceries shelves are a bit emptier than usual and a trip to the store requires serious thought due to risks involved. It is nice to be able to make things from scratch. We always have flour, shortening, sugar, etc. in bulk quantities with a household of 11 to feed. In two weeks we have made everything from simple chocolate covered pretzels to Martha Stewart’s recipe for Grandma’s Chocolate Sugar Cookies, to homemade eclairs to last night’s cherry crumb pie. Dinners have consisted of items such as chicken picotta, beef stew, bar-b-que beef, some of the best fried chicken I have had since my Mom passed away to a full roast turkey dinner and homemade turkey pot pie using turkey leftovers. I have to admit it is comforting to be able to provide as much as possible and do as much as possible for yourself especially in times like these. It makes us feel more confident and capable of weathering “stormy seas”. Quiet Valley has been pondering things like this and thought perhaps folks would like to learn about what I am calling “Heritage Life Skills Relevant for Today”. We are planning a number of workshops over the summer and into fall to help teach folks some useful skills. We are also developing videos so you can watch from home. Our first one on gardening came out last week. Find it on YouTube. Learn about a variety of things like soap making, cooking, baking bread, how to raise chickens (it’s easier than you think) and grow your own vegetables!

As a non-profit educational corporation it is our mission to share the history and teach about life skills of rural Pennsylvania in the 19th century. We hope these workshop and video offerings will enrich your lives and offer you useful tools to help in both hard times and good ones, too.

That’s all for now and thanks for checking in. Be well and talk to you soon. Aunt Eunice

Hours Spent at Home

Hello Folks,

Aunt Eunice here and sending a special greeting out hoping you are all doing well. I am a member of the “older” demographic that is especially susceptible to this new-fangled germ that is currently in our midst. I will begin working from home after today. I will be sad not to be on the farm regularly to see spring coming and watch the baby animals being born. I live in a lovely area though and will enjoy the signs of spring there. Pussy willows have already been out for a few weeks. My grandchildren and I picked a few branches to keep inside in a vase so we can touch the soft catkins from which I presume is where the plant gets its common name. The word ‘catkin’ is derived from the Dutch word for kitten.  In spring, these catkins certainly look like kittens’ paws or tails.

A true harbinger of spring, forsythia bursts into a vibrant display of golden blooms before any leaf foliage emerges. This can create stunning golden mounds throughout landscapes, breaking up the drab snow-covered ground with a promise of what’s to come. With newer varieties growing in smaller, more manageable sizes, every landscape should have a forsythia to break out of the late winter blues.

A member of the olive family, they are a reminder to me of my mother’s home that at one time had numerous forsythia bushes all about the property. They always make me smile as I remember with fondness my children mangling the pronunciation of the word forsythia. Along with their Aunt M, they decided my daughter Cynthia should be called Forcynthia. Whatever you call them and however you pronounce it they are a nice yellow harbinger of the warm sun of which we eagerly await as winter slowly loosens its grip.

Another splash of early yellow  comes from winter aconite flowers
According to the folks at  winter-aconites appear almost overnight, providing a very welcome splash of color in January, often flowering with snowdrops. They have an underground corm, from which the yellow wild flowers and characteristic “frill” of leaves emerge, sometimes as early as Christmas. Aconites …………………………but they have naturalized in some woods and along driveways and verges. These wild flowers are related to buttercups.

At Quiet Valley they just popped out in the last week or two along with the ever pretty and delicate snow drops. No snow for them to push through this year.

I am hoping this latest virus will pass by quickly. I am keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers. Remember don’t shake hands, stay home if it’s feasible, cough into a tissue, wash your hands constantly and for 20 seconds each time. Be careful of knobs, handles, etc. I got tired of singing Happy Birthday while I wash my hands so have expanded my selection to “John Jacob Jingle Heimer Schmidt”, the ABCs which I sing with the grandkids, “The Old Grey Mare” and “God Bless America” which I think is longer than 20 seconds. Try to keep your spirits up and be patient and kind to others in need of help, supplies, etc.

That’s all for now. Take care and I will be talking to you soon. Aunt Eunice

More Daylight…What’s Not to Love

Hello Folks,

Aunt Eunice here. Saturday March 7th will begin Daylight Savings Time (technically it is really Sunday March 8th at 2:00 in the morning, but that has always seemed like it is still Saturday night to me!!).  According to CNNThere’s an age-old myth that Daylight Saving was a practice adopted to give farmers extra time in the sun to work out in the field. But, that’s not really why dozens of countries follow it.

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is a system to reduce electricity usage by extending daylight hours. For eight months out of the year, the US and dozens of other countries follow DST, and for the remaining four months, revert back to standard time in order to take full advantage of the sunlight.
On the second Sunday of March at 2 a.m., clocks move forward one hour. Then, on the first Sunday of November at 2 a.m., the clocks turn back an hour. A good way to remember it? The time shifts match the seasons: Clocks “spring” forward an hour in March and “fall” back in November.
In the summer months, the sun is out for longer periods of time, so you can rely on daylight to avoid switching lights on. The clocks revert back to standard time for the winter months so the sun can rise earlier and the world starts the day off with sunlight — otherwise some places wouldn’t see the sun come up until almost 8:30 a.m.
The current March-November system the US follows began in 2007, but the concept of “saving daylight” is much older. It’s debated who originally came up with the idea, but Benjamin Franklin appeared to have first mentioned it in 1784, when he wrote a letter to the editor of the Journal of Paris.
But not everyone has opted to follow DST. Only 70 countries around the world “save daylight” every year. In the US, states are not required by law to follow DST — Hawaii and most of Arizona do not observe it. Other states — like Florida and California — are working to observe DST year-round (rather than just between March and November).
I will appreciate the daylight whenever it comes. I will have some light to take a walk in after I get home from the farm. You never know what you will find on a walk in my neck of the woods. There is plenty of wildlife like whitetail deer, squirrels galore, peregrine falcons, hawks, pileated woodpecker, blue heron, a multitude of other bird species, rabbits, chipmunks, fox, bear (no close encounters, fortunately), a fisher, a muskrat in the pond and much more. Sunsets can be particularly lovely. It is a quiet time after the rush and crush of a busy work day. Peaceful times such as that help foster creativity. This extended time of daylight will also allow some minutes to enjoy my lovely porch, a wonderful retreat especially on a rainy day. Swing on the hammock, curl up with a good book in the rocking chair or pull out one of the mats and stretch out for a cat nap. Whatever your preference is, revel in the daylight and the approach of spring.
That’s all for now, folks. Take care and talk to you soon. Aunt Eunice

Marching into March

Hello Folks,

Aunt Eunice here. February 2020 is a leap year. According to – A leap year is any year with 366 days instead of the usual 365 days. Therefore, leap day in 2020 will fall on Saturday, February 29th. So…why the extra day? It was the ancient Egyptians who first figured out that the solar year and the calendar year didn’t always match up. That’s because it actually takes the Earth a little longer than a year to travel around the Sun — 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds, to be exact. Therefore, as hours accumulated over the centuries, an extra day was occasionally added to the calendar, and over time the practice became more or less official. The Romans first designated February 29 as leap day, but a more precise formula (still in use today) was adopted in the 16th century when the Gregorian calendar fine-tuned the calculations to include a leap day in years only divisible by four – 2012, 2016, 2020, 2024, etc.

Besides being a Leap Year February has been an interesting month at Quiet Valley. We had an early set of lambs, “Quentin” the Quiet Valley groundhog says it will be an early spring. Punxsutawney Phil agreed with him. The chickens are enjoying the sun and are providing us plenty of eggs which doesn’t always happen this time of year. Unless you provide them with an artificial light source. It is so nice to have fresh eggs! I never knew what a big difference there is between older ones and newly laid ones until I came to Quiet Valley. One morning I was working in the cellar kitchen and had a nice fire going in the hearth. I was waiting for the first school to arrive for their visit to an 1800s farm. I hadn’t had breakfast so I grabbed a couple of eggs, one green and one light brown, and fried them up in the spider. Not a real spider, of course, but a round cast iron frying pan that has several long legs supporting it. Hence the resemblance to a real arachnid. The eggs were delicious, simple fried eggs, so fresh, so good! The green egg was from an Araucana hen and the light brown from the Buff Orpington. They both tasted the same, just better because they were fresh.

The Monday winter camp group learned how to make raised donuts using mashed potatoes in the dough. I was fortunate to get a sample. I should have been a policeman I love donuts so much! We also had our first staff winter training session. As part of that day I gave a lesson about medicinal herbs and their uses on the farm in the 19th century.

There are eight days left in February, but signs of March marching toward us and onto our calendars is all around. One sign is the fact that the temperature is right for tapping the sugar maple trees! It needs to be about 40 degrees in the day and below freezing at night. According to University of Maine Cooperative Extension – Understanding how maple sap is formed requires some knowledge about tree physiology. In the later summer and fall, maple trees virtually stop growing and begin storing excess starches throughout the sapwood, especially in cells called ray cells. This excess starch remains in storage as long as the wood remains colder than about 40 degrees F. Whenever wood temperatures reach around 40 degrees F, enzymes in the ray cells change the starches to sugars, largely sucrose. This sugar then passes into the tree sap. As the temperature increases to about 45 degrees F, the enzymes stop functioning and sugar is no longer produced. In March and April, the sugar changes back to starch—except during periods of flow. Rising temperature creates pressure inside trees, causing sap to flow. When a hole is bored into a tree, wood fibers that are water- (sap-) carrying vessels are severed, so sap drips out of the tree.

I love maple syrup on buttermilk pancakes. When my husband is baking homemade sticky buns he makes a special batch for me where he substitutes maple syrup for the corn syrup. What a treat! It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. It requires lots of heat (firewood, your kitchen stove, an evaporator) to get the majority of moisture out of the sap. If you would drink the sap before boiling it you will have a bare hint of the flavor potential of what will come with the boiling off of the excess water. If you boil it past the syrup point you could cook it all the way down to sugar. A note of caution if you decide to tap your sugar maples and boil the sap down in your home. My friend had all the wallpaper in her kitchen come peeling off as there was so much warm moisture being released! Yikes!!

The second Sunday in March means a return of Daylight Savings Time. Part of the kitchen garden is being tilled so as March marches forward we can get early spring crops in by the end of the month. So much preparation for the farm, our spring programs and field trips takes place in March. And spring cleaning will begin. The pace moves from a walk and steps up to a steady march. By April will we be running on all cylinders!

Well, that’s all for now, folks. Thanks for checking in. Be talking to you soon. Aunt Eunice

Groundhogs – Not a Farmer’s Best Friend

Hello Folks,
  Aunt Eunice here today with some information on groundhogs, otherwise known as woodchucks. With Groundhog Day just around the corner I want to share some facts about the largest member of the ground squirrel family.
It may surprise you to know that a groundhog can grow to 24 inches and weigh up to 13lbs. Like other squirrels, groundhogs have long tails that grow around 7 inches long. According to the National Wildlife Federation, during the warm months, a groundhog’s incisors grow about a sixteenth of an inch each week to keep up with their frenzied eating schedule. Also, according to the NWF groundhogs are found only in North America, from Canada down to the southern United States. They like woodland areas that bump up against more open areas. They dig burrows that can be 6 feet deep, and 20 feet wide. These underground homes can have two to a dozen entrances. All those entrances are why the groundhog is not a farmer’s best friend. The holes can break farm equipment, twist a leg and the groundhogs have a hefty appetite in the summer and fall as they load up for a winter of hibernation. A farmer’s garden and crops make a tasty meal. They can eat about a pound of food per sitting. While hibernating, the groundhog’s heartbeat slows from 80 beats per minute to 5 beat per minute; their respiration reduces from 16 breaths per minute to as few as 2 breaths per minute; and their body temperature drops from about 99 degrees Fahrenheit to as low as 37 degrees.
The NFW says groundhogs are solitary creatures, living about six to eight years. They eat vegetables and fruits, whistle when they’re frightened or looking for a mate (they’re sometimes called whistle pigs) and can climb trees and swim. In February, male groundhogs emerge from their burrows to look for a mate (not to predict the weather) before going underground again. They come out of hibernation for good in March.
In Quiet Valley’s one room school “students” are required to do tongue twisters as part of their school day. One of them is, How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? According to Cornell University it would be about 700 lbs.

Actually, the name woodchuck has nothing to do with wood, or chucking it, according to the Animal Diversity Web. The word woodchuck comes from a Native American word, wuchak, which roughly translates as “digger.”

Nevertheless, according to Cornell, a wildlife biologist sought to answer the tongue-twister’s question. He measured the volume of a woodchuck burrow and estimated that if the hole were filled with wood rather than dirt, the woodchuck would have chucked about 700 lbs. (Woodchucks, however, typically do not chew wood.)

First Groundhog Day

 According to – On February 2, 1887, Groundhog Day, featuring a rodent meteorologist, was celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, it gets scared and runs back into its burrow, predicting six more weeks of winter weather; no shadow means an early spring.

Groundhog Day has its roots in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas, when clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be. Germans expanded on this concept by selecting an animal–the hedgehog–as a means of predicting weather. Once they came to America, German settlers in Pennsylvania continued the tradition, although they switched from hedgehogs to groundhogs, which were plentiful in the Keystone State.

In 1887, a newspaper editor belonging to a group of groundhog hunters from Punxsutawney called the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club declared that Phil, the Punxsutawney groundhog, was America’s only true weather-forecasting groundhog. The line of groundhogs that have since been known as Phil might be America’s most famous groundhogs, but other towns across North America now have their own weather-predicting rodents, from Birmingham Bill to Staten Island Chuck to Shubenacadie Sam in Canada.

That’s all for now. Thanks for checking in and here’s hoping the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow! My old bones would appreciate an early spring. Take care. Aunt Eunice

A Breathe of Fresh Air

Hello Folks,

Aunt Eunice here. Our final fundraising event of the year, Old Time Christmas is over and it was as heartwarming as ever. Here at Quiet Valley we are in the midst of the only truly quiet time we have on the farm. At least for two or three weeks. During this brief interlude we have time to reflect on the past year and what we accomplished as a business, what might need tweaking, what we might want to add or let go in our programming. We have a new member to the farm staff who became our Director of Education on January 1st. Having a new staff member can be like a breathe of fresh air as they usually come onboard with lots of energy and new ideas. The seasoned staff will provide continuity and experience from which the young director will benefit. We welcome Rachel to her new position.

We just hung up a 2020 National Day calendar in the office. Not surprisingly January 1st was National Hangover Day! Today is January 3rd and it is oddly enough “drinking straw day”. My thoughts on this particular day is to encourage everyone to use paper straws or no straw at all. Glass or stainless steel straws are reusable so make a good alternate choice. What plastic water bottles and plastic straws are doing to our oceans is no joke. Jokes will be told on National Tell a Joke Day on August 16th though please let our jokes be about anything other than the sad state of our oceans.

Old Rock Day is on Tuesday January 7th and I challenge our readers and Facebook fans to share pictures of their favorite or oddest old rock. Is it the diamond on your finger, the coal you got in your stocking or something more unusual?

Saturday January 11th is Milk Day and a historic farm such as Quiet Valley does know something about milk. Milk is counted among the most essential staple foods, is an important part of a balanced diet and contains, among other vital nutrients, a high percentage of calcium. In 2019, worldwide milk production amounted to about 513.22 million metric tons. Among the major producers, the United States was ranked second with a milk production amounting to over 98.8 million metric tons in 2018.
Pennsylvania was the 5th ranked state in the US. from 2014 – 2018 in milk production based on number of dairy cows. 505 thousand milking cows were in Pennsylvania in 2018. California is the top milk producing state with 1.8 million dairy cows. The European Union is the largest milk producer in the world.

The United States is one of the leading dairy producing countries in the world, and American cows are among the most productive cows on the planet. The average cow in the U.S. produces about 21,000 lbs. of milk per year, that’s nearly 2,500 gallons! On a daily basis, most cows average about 70 lbs. of milk per day, or about 8 gallons. 8 gallons is about 128 glasses of milk each day.

Early settlers would have been thrilled when they were established enough to have a milking cow. Goats and sheep also produce milk that is used for human consumption. Colicky babies tend to do better if they drink goat milk as the fat particles are smaller than what is in cow milk so it is easier to digest. My favorite cheese, Manchego, is made from sheep’s milk. Milk could be used for all sorts of cooking, in cereal or porridge, in custards, in pies and puddings, in soups, but in my opinion its best use was after ice cream was invented. Though that is a story for another day.

Read some more on the history of milk cows in the U.S.  the-story-of-milk

That’s all for now. Don’t forget to post your favorite old rock pictures on the 7th.

Take Care. Aunt Eunice


Photo – Making Ice Cream the Old Fashioned Way!

Old Time Christmas

Hello Folks,

Aunt Eunice here. My favorite event of the Quiet Valley year has begun. If you missed the opening weekend of our Old Time Christmas, fear not, as there is one more weekend. This Saturday December 14 and Sunday December 15 are the final two days. This fundraiser showcases Christmas in the 1800s. Guides take groups by lantern light to the various stops on the farm. Visitors will see things like a “Victorian” family preparing for an 1890s holiday, the live Nativity in the barnyard complete with farm animals, a visit from the Belschnikel and more. The experience will take about an hour and a half and believe me when I say, this event will get you into the true spirit of Christmas. Low key, heartfelt and entertaining Old Time Christmas gives visitors a glimpse into the 19th century customs, pastimes and preparations  that occurred during the holiday season. Between 3pm and 7pm groups go out every fifteen minutes. I hope you come see our old fashioned Christmas celebration. You’re going to love it.

Thanks for checking in and hope to see you soon. Aunt Eunice

November – A Time of Reflection and Thanks

Hello, Folks,
Aunt Eunice here. Halfway through November means Thanksgiving is on the horizon. As I make plans for the holiday I can help, but take some time to think back over the past year. I look at the good, the bad and the ugly and then focus on the good. Some years, as you all know, that can be harder than we’d like it to be. Health, wealth, family, a home, a job are some things that top the list. Being in a comfortable place spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically is quite a blessing. Thanksgiving is of course a time we give thanks for them, blessings that is.

Thanksgiving has been a traditional holiday in the U.S. for a while now. Check here for a timeline. During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be celebrated on the final Thursday in November 1863. Since this date, Thanksgiving has been observed annually in the United States. In 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a law establishing the day of Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday of November.

A good deal of my joy in Thanksgiving stems from the fact that so many family members and friends are all under one roof. There is also all the delicious and traditional foods. Our dinner’s food selections have changed since my childhood. Turkey and mashed potatoes with giblet gravy, baked sweet potatoes with oranges, oyster stuffing (a must for my father) and my mother’s homemade cranberry relish. Some years there might also be Gwaltney ham served and always home baked biscuits and pies. As we children got old enough to demand some changes, my cousin Paula’s cheese-ball became a regular appetizer. It of course became know as the Paula Ball. My Aunt Nell began bringing a yummy jello salad that we christened Nello salad. Obvious choice! I asked my mother to make stuffing without those yucky oysters and I began making cornbread with pepper-jack cheese in it. We also introduced green bean casserole to the menu. Old or new, nothing could beat my mother’s pecan pie, a favorite of most! Perfectly gooey with a flaky crust made with lard and a nice layer of whole pecans on top. Probably 500 calories in one small slice. Oh, well.

Now a days new food choices have been added and they have become standards. Mashed turnips in addition to mashed potatoes are served at our house as that is traditional for my daughter-in-law and her brother. We also make a sweet potato casserole using a recipe from the mother-in-law of my oldest daughter which has become everyone’s favorite. We have a turkey that is brined, though not everyone is a fan. Green bean casserole is still retaining its place on the table. Some adjustments have been made to accommodate a number of food allergies and other dietary issues. Four lactose intolerant, three organic only, two gluten free , one diabetic, and a grandson allergic to non-tree nuts! Sound like a song? Hmmm.

The new foods joining into the holiday dinner mimic the blending of new with old taking place in the family tree. Parents, aunts, uncles moving on to that great feast in Heaven, children get married, grandchildren are being born, things changing  is sometimes the only thing that stays the same. At least my mother’s pecan pie is still present on the Thanksgiving sideboard!

As this special holiday arrives, even if you are struggling to find something for which to be thankful, know you are being wished the very best. Happy Thanksgiving, folks!!

Take care, Aunt Eunice

November – a Time of Transition

Hello Folks,

Aunt Eunice here. November has arrived and I am planning many birthday parties for my family as six of us were born in that wonderful month. November is an interesting month. Technically it is part of the autumn season, but most of the colorful leaves are gone by then and many time the weather seems like early spring or winter. It can be warm, hot, cool or really cold! It seems like a month that can’t make up its mind.

As a child growing up in Monroe County it was the norm to have some snow in November and by December it was here to stay with layers just getting thicker and deeper. Flexible Flyer sleds were the favorite way to travel downhill and rides kept getting faster as the snow was packed down into a smooth, firm surface. By the time I had children the snow was concentrated in the months of January, February and March. There was rarely enough snow to pack down for the runners on sleds to ride on. Saucers, toboggans, and later on inflatable sleds that resembled pool floats, became the best way to ride on the lighter snows we were now getting.

November at Quiet Valley means a transition from the historic farm tours to winter programming. In the house and cabin many items are packed away and will spend the winter in the attic. Tools and equipment needed for outreach programs will be readied and the Education Center is prepped for school children coming to enjoy a Molly the Sheep program, and yes, the sheep will actually be there for the children to meet. The Farmhand Adventure is also popular and teaches the students about wheat, bread and butter making. They make their own small loaf of whole wheat to take home. Hands on History classes like Christmas in the Colonies and Just for Nice are available for groups, too. Many of these programs can be presented at schools, senior centers, libraries, etc.

In the past November was also a time of transition for the farmers. Time to move from the harvesting of crops to putting the gardens and fields to bed. Winter wheat was planted, it was time to cull the herds and plan for butchering, take care of repairing tools, check on the condition of buildings and farm equipment, split more firewood and later in the month the farm wives would plan for Thanksgiving and would bake for many days prior to the dinner. A traditional Pa. German favorite was black walnut cake. Black walnuts are very common in this area and are very tasty, but hard to get out of their shells, unlike English walnuts. They are worth the time it takes though. Watch out for small pieces of shell that can get mixed in with the walnut meat.

I am including a recipe for a black walnut cake. Make one to try yourself before you serve one to your company. That’s what my mother always taught me to do. Walnut cake recipe.

Since November is here my thoughts and energies at work will turn toward our final event of 2019, our annual Old Time Christmas. It is a lovely event. Stay tuned for details or visit the calendar of events page for more info. Thanks for checking in. Take care. Aunt Eunice