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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 chance 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 good 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 spend some time 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

Frolic – It’s What Baby Sheep and Goats Do

Hello folks,
Aunt Eunice is back to talk about frolicking. Does anyone remember as a young child just leaping and jumping about with mad abandon for no particular reason? Just for the sheer joy of it? Oh, to be young enough to kick my heels up again! When I watch the new baby goats (known as kids) and baby sheep (known as lambs) run and gambol about in a gleeful excess of energy at only a few days old, I do admit to some mild jealousy. I had my chance though. My mother always said I had two speeds. In the daytime, completely on, full speed ahead! Lots of running and kicking up of heels then. At night time, the sleep of the dead. An atomic blast wouldn’t have budged me. Oh, to sleep that well again! The things we don’t fully appreciate until we get older. As the first weekend of Farm Animal Frolic approaches I eagerly anticipate watching the performance as the baby animals show off for us. Come out and enjoy the show with me. Frolic is Saturdays May 18 & 25 10am to 4pm and Sundays May 19 & 26 from noon to 4pm. Lots to see and do. See the full schedule of activities.

May – Prime Time for Gardeners

Hello Folks,
Aunt Eunice here. Well, we are getting busier than a beehive here on the farm. School classes are buzzing along with the students enjoying everything from learning about spinning, to school in the 1890s, to how to throw a corn dart! Great fun and a great educational opportunity.
The “mostly” warmer weather that finally arrived has Farmer Milton jumping into gardening mode. Any gardener feels their excitement level rise in May. This is when the prime planting season really gets rolling. The farm’s kitchen garden is rather large and takes a lot of tending, but the reward for hard work comes later when you harvest your produce. We have already enjoyed a large amount of asparagus. Things like peas, beets, carrots, spinach, broccoli, onions and lettuce were planted. Soon cabbages and potatoes will be planted in the field. As a younger gal I helped with the undesirable task of picking potato bugs off the plants.
Later at the end of May when the temperature rises, the frost sensitive vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, beans of many types, cucumbers, summer squash and more will join the rest. Plants like horseradish and Jerusalem artichoke may not be in everyone’s garden, but they are right at home in our Pennsylvania German one.
Jeanne, our resident herb expert, has tackled the herbal section of the garden and it is looking great. She still needs to put in lavender and rosemary when it’s warmer and has requested lots and lots of marigolds. Marigolds are not only pretty, but help keep certain insects away. According to EHow French and African marigolds are often cited as the most powerful Tagetes species for repelling insects. Both contain chemical compounds called thiopenes in their seeds, roots and other plant parts that are offensive to nematodes, aphids, cabbage maggots, white flies and other pests. French marigolds (T. patula) and African marigolds (T. erecta) are also pretty additions to the garden. The flower heads of the French varieties come in single or multiple whorls and in solid or variegated shades of yellow, orange and burgundy. African (sometimes referred to as “American”) species are taller than French marigolds and have larger pompom-shaped flowers in solid, sunny colors. More Info
Most of us here at Quiet Valley are avid gardeners and enjoy using food and herbs we grow ourselves. If you would like some nice, healthy, locally grown vegetable plants for your garden come out to the farm for our Farm Animal Frolic on May 18, 19, 25 or 26. Gary Oiler, a QV founder, retired farm manager and horticulturist, raises plants that will be offered for sale. Come the first weekend for the best selection.
If you would like to learn about gardening come out to Quiet Valley’s Summer Garden Party on Saturday June 15th. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have much room. Raising vegetable plants and herbs in containers is very rewarding.
I hope all of you will find some way to partake in the joy of gardening. Growing something for yourself feeds the soul as well as the body. I suggest you start with a pot of rosemary, a pot of lemon thyme and some basil. All fragrant and delicious when used in recipes. Here is a recipe to try. QV Lemon Thyme shortbread
That’s all for now. Thanks for checking in, folks. Aunt Eunice

 

Schools on the Farm

Hello Folks,
Aunt Eunice here.
The “peepers” are calling, robins moved in even before that and a number of ground hogs are out and about. The farm had its Spring Clean Up on Saturday April 6 and looks like a shiny new penny. We’d like to thank all the folks who came out and helped.

School groups came out yesterday for the first day of Spring Farm Tours. On this historic tour of a traditional homestead, children have the opportunity to observe a typical day on the farm, visit with the animals and learn something about family life in 19th century rural Pennsylvania. There is also time to visit the one room school and have a “science” lesson on simple machines and play some old fashion games. It’s nice to see the classes as they absorb information about the past and have a good time while doing it.

Today was Egg Day for the April preschool class. They observed frog eggs from the pond, and learned about chicken eggs and how babies hatch out of them using their egg tooth. They dyed eggs in natural materials such as onion skins and red cabbage. They also examined the eggs of the largest of birds, an emu and ostrich. Their little eyes grew almost as big as the ostrich egg as they saw just how large an egg can be. After a story they all headed down to the farm and had a chance to meet the latest additions to the farm family, baby chicks. Such fun! I feel young as a spring hen when I join in the activities of their class.

Speaking of eggs, this is Easter week and the perfect time to start a family tradition of an Easter tree if you don’t already practice it. It is a great activity for your children or even adults. It adds quite a festive touch to the yard this time of year. The original Quiet Valley family was Lutheran, but if you aren’t it can simply be an Egg Tree, a celebration of spring. The egg tree traces its roots to Germany. There, it is known as Ostereierbaum, or Easter egg trees. It is also popular in neighboring Poland, Austria, and Hungary. In the Guinness World Record race for the tree with the most eggs, a red oak in Rostock Zoo earned top prize for its nearly 80,000 egg display. The Easter egg tree tradition is centuries old, but the origins of the story have been lost over time. In the U.S., Easter trees are especially popular in the Pennsylvania Dutch region, but you can find pockets of the South that embrace the tradition as well.

If you would like to learn more about the farm Quiet Valley’s first event of the year is coming up in May. Farm Animal Frolic is on May18, 19, 25 and 26 and it is a great chance for you to see all of our wonderful farm babies. They stay little such a short time so come on out to Frolic and visit them while you can!

Thanks for checking in and don’t be a stranger. Aunt Eunice

 

April Has Arrived!

 Happy April Folks,
   Aunt Eunice here. I came into work on Monday and was prepared for jokes and pranks to crop up throughout the day. Farmer Milt is especially known for playing a good prank! After all it was April Fool’s Day!! I waited on tenterhooks for the first joke to spring up determined to see it coming. As the day progressed and nothing happened I became more and more nervous. Much to my surprise when the end of the day came and it was time to go home and no pranks took place, I actually felt disappointed. What happened to everyone’s playful, mischievous side?! A well thought-out, harmless joke can be a great laugh for everyone as long as you are a good sport about it. It made me think about how the tradition of this day got started. Click on the link and see what History.com says about April Fools’ Day.
Some of my favorite worldwide jokes were the famous Swiss Spaghetti Harvest, the National Geographic – No more naked animal photos and Taco Bells – We Bought the Liberty Bell.

When I came up Quiet Valley Road this morning it was a bit dreary, wet and cold, just as the weatherman predicted. Lining the right side of the road though are a number of clumps of Snowdrops flowers also known as Galanthus. How lovely they are and certainly brightened my outlook. They are one of the earliest spring flowers in our area and as their name suggests, these flowers may not even wait for the snow to melt before emerging from their sleep, instead pushing right up through the snow, a enchanting sight for a winter-weary soul. They seem to be a bit late in blooming this year. Better late than never.

April is off to a good start and here at the farm we are scurrying to prepare for Spring Field Trips which begin on the 15th. It’s never very quiet at Quiet Valley and we are almost always as busy as beavers.

That’s all for now, but I’ll be in touch again soon. Thanks for checking in. Aunt Eunice

Baby Bunnies

Hello, Folks. Aunt Eunice here.
Though the weather has been too cold for my old bones and definitely too cold for Spring, signs of the changing season are all around us. Robins and other spring birds have arrived  and pussy willows are blooming. The farm has Spring Clean Up Day on Saturday April 6 and we will be grateful for any helping hands. Call before you come if it’s rainy.

As I walked through the farm early this morning there was a definite feeling of expectation, as if Spring were poised on its tippy toes ready to take the plunge. I am sure in just a few weeks we will find it hard to believe we were wearing our winter coats such a short while ago. Another sure sign of Spring on the farm is the birth of animals. One of our mother bunnies had her babies. We knew it would be soon since she made a nest out of hay and lined it with fur she carefully pulled from her own neck/chest area. While the babies are this tiny we won’t see hide nor hair of them. The only reason you know they are here is that the fur in the nest moves around a little. At this point we can’t tell how many there are. A baby rabbit is called a kit, which is short for kitten. A male rabbit is called a buck, and a female is called a doe. Rabbits have a gestation period of around 31 days. The female can have up to 12-13 kits, and as small a litter as one. Some people have rabbits as pets. though they are also raised for their meat. Ever hear of Hasenpfeffer? It is a traditional German stew made from marinated rabbit, cut into stewing-meat sized pieces and braised with onions and a marinade made from wine and vinegar.

Since April is almost here in about two weeks the school children will be running around the farm learning about the 1800s and how things were done back in the old days. The homeschool children who participate in the tour program are very excited about helping out and playing roles as members of the farm “family”. They have had their training day and have been assigned their areas. Duchess, our barn cat, will be so happy to have all of the children around again since they will stop for a minute and pet her.  It will be good to have all those youngins’ dashing about! It keeps Aunt Eunice on her toes!

One more sign of the season is the Quiet Valley hens are laying lots of eggs. I am eating deviled eggs (my favorite), hard boiled eggs, fried eggs, egg salad sandwiches, pickled eggs and baking up a storm. I am soon going to turn into an egg, but since I am already shaped that way I guess it doesn’t matter. I have a pretty tough shell, too. I will save some eggs to dye in onion skins for Easter and have a traditional egg tree in front of the house.

Well, that’s the latest news I have for you, but I’ll be in touch again.

Take care and hope to see you soon. Aunt Eunice

Spring is Here!

Good Day Folks,

Aunt Eunice here. By the end of the day, spring will officially have sprung though it is a bit nippy at Quiet Valley. March 20, 2019 marks the spring equinox, the first official day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. This day is unique in that the length of day and night are close to equal, NASA explains. Spring equinox doesn’t always fall on March 20, but it still marks a brand new season.

According to CBS News, Equinox means “equal night” in Latin. And on the autumnal and spring equinox there are equal parts day and night. The Earth’s orbit puts it in just the right place so that it’s lined up with the sun. On the equinox, which happens twice a year, both hemispheres receive the same amount of daylight. While the spring equinox occurs in the Northern Hemisphere, the autumnal equinox is occurring in the Southern Hemisphere.
The spring equinox could occur on March 19, 20 or 21, depending on the year. Six months later, the autumnal equinox will occur.

NEWS FLASH FOR ICE CREAM LOVERS – Dairy Queen’s Free Cone Day is held on the first day of spring each year. You can get free ice cream today simply by heading to a participating DQ and asking for a free cone. Specifically, Dairy Queen is giving away one free small vanilla ice cream cone per customer, no purchase required, at nearly all non-mall locations in the U.S. Here’s where to find a Dairy Queen nearby and get your free ice cream cone. Only good today so go after school, after work or after dinner! Happy Spring!

    A final winter activity, Maple Sugaring Day, took place on the farm this past Saturday and we had a nice crowd that came out to learn how to make maple syrup from tapping the tree to finished product. Aunt Eunice was there helping though sometimes it seemed I was mostly helping myself to those wonderful pancakes and syrup! It was a nice sunny day, a bit cool when the wind would blow, but it was good to be outside.

April is almost here so May can’t be far behind. Farm Animal Frolic is Quiet Valley’s first major event of the year always taking place Memorial weekend and the weekend before. It’s my job to organize it I have already started contacting volunteers. I am also planning the various activities that will take place. Lots of great things will be happening besides meeting our adorable baby animals.
New to Frolic this year is the U.S. Detachment of Engineers Civil War re-enactors who will be encamped on the farm from Saturday May 18 to Sunday May 19. They will be happy to explain about their group and the map making they do. Also new this year is the PA WoodMobile coming on Saturday May 25 to show us what trees grow in our state and what can be done with them.
On Saturday May 18 the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation Center will be coming again and bringing some local wildlife out with two presentations, one at 12:30 and one at 2:00. On Saturday May 25 Margaret Quinn will shear our sheep with manual shears, a very interesting demonstration. The spinners and weavers will also be in attendance doing a sheep to shawl demonstration. Wool freshly sheared from a sheep will be spun and then woven the same day into a shawl. The shawl will be raffled off at our Christmas event in December.

Now that spring has sprung it won’t be long until we are open to the public. I invite you to come out to our wonderful farm museum and see what we do here. I would love to meet you.

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

Spring is in the Air

Hello, Everyone,

Aunt Eunice is here to say, we’ll be having a Maple Sugaring Day! That sounds like the beginning of a poem. Saturday March 16 if all goes well and the weather forecast holds true we will be gathering at the sugar shack. Buttermilk pancakes, potatoes roasted in the coals and eggs boiled in the maple sap. Sounds yummy and I should know. I’ve eaten my fair share of those pancakes with that delectable maple syrup on them. I hope to see a good number of folks come out. It usually runs between the hours of 9:00am and 2:00pm.
  

After Maple Sugaring next on the agenda is Spring Clean Up Day down on the farm on April 6th, weather allowing. Dare I say the weather is warming up?! I think Winter is losing its grip and Spring is just about ready pop out at us. The tops of bloodroot, daffodils and crocuses are starting to poke up through last year’s leaves and mulch. Shortly we will prepare the kitchen garden for the many things we plant in it, like peas, spinach, lettuce, radishes and carrots. It’s so good to be outdoors digging in the earth and enjoying the fresh air. These nice crisp, cool mornings wake you up so you’re able to appreciate the warmer temperatures of the afternoons as well as the lovely sunshine. I’ve almost forgotten what it feels like to have warm sunlight falling across your shoulders as you cultivate the garden and how nice it is to lift your face to the sun and savor that gentle heat. I hope all of you have been able to spend some time this week in the sun. Of course now-a-days they would say, don’t forget the sunscreen, but in the old days of Quiet Valley a nice rye straw hat on your head and a kerchief around your neck would do the same thing for you.

What a wonderful time of year with such a great feeling of anticipation. My advice folks is to get out and enjoy a few minutes of sun on these nice days and don’t forget the sunscreen, or rye straw hat!

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