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Ah, the Possibilities

Hello Folks,

Aunt Eunice here. The first week of a new year is over and I can’t help but think of a year of possibilities stretching out before me in the remaining 51 weeks. They could be good, they could be mediocre or they could be not so good. Probably a mix. I am putting out wishes and prayers for good ones for all of us!

In keeping with a year that may still restrict our events and programming due to COVID we have yet again developed safe additional activities for both children and adults. There is a nice series of heritage craft and 19th century life skills classes taking place once a month for ages 15 and up. For the younger set there is the Heritage Homeschool Program where they can sign up to learn a variety of craft and farm-related skills. There is also the Cabin Fever Workshop in March with five different classes from which you can choose. Sign up early for any of these classes as they fill up fast. Check out our website for details and other options.

The Calendar of Events is updated with our major fundraisers and smaller summer events so feel free to plan a visit for a summer tour or to enjoy our entertaining and educational festivals. The farmers have already ordered their seeds and Gary, our retired farm manger, will start some in his greenhouse and have the plants ready to sell in May at our Farm Animal Frolic. He’ll have a nice variety of healthy, well grown seedlings. Last May I purchased four kinds of tomato plants which all preformed beautifully. One of my favorites is the Golden Jubilee. Eating yellow tomatoes causes me fewer digestive issues as there is less acid in them than the orange or red tomatoes. Gary is teaching a class called Preparing for Spring Gardening on March 13 for interested folks. More workshop info. Spaces will fill up fast! The Charmant cabbage plants that I bought at the sale last year gave me delicious cabbage that was easy to raise. Charmant is an early variety that produces uniform, solid, medium-sized round heads with blue-green color, a tight internal structure and a short core. It has one of the best holding ability of all early varieties. I usually buy Quiet Valley’s sauerkraut, but I used some of my cabbages to make my own. I freeze mine, but some folks prefer to can it. We enjoyed some on New Year’s Day as part of a traditional Pennsylvania German meal of pork and sauerkraut, which is believed to bring good fortune in the coming year. Eating pork of any style on New Year’s Day is said to inspire progress throughout the year to come. According to German legend, pork is eaten on New Year’s Day because pigs look forward when they root for food, rather than chickens and turkeys, which scratch backward. Many cultures have food superstitions about what to eat on New Year’s Day to bring prosperity in the new year. In the South it is Black Eyed Peas, Greens and Cornbread. Read more here.

It’s encouraging to think about Spring and growing vegetables, herbs or flowers. Finding new ways to use veggies and the herbs in recipes or planting flowers in new spots or as companion plants in the vegetable garden. If you don’t grow the plants for yourself, remember you can visit your local CSA or Farmer’s Market. There will always be a nice selection of produce there and it will be locally sourced! Better for us and for our community growers.

That’s all for now, but thanks for checking in. Take care of yourselves and each other. I will be thinking of you. Aunt Eunice

 

Tick, Tick, Ticking

Hello Folks,

Aunt Eunice here. Well, you may have noticed the year is winding down. Winding down implies a slowing of movement such as in an old fashioned clock. A clock tick, tick, ticking the seconds down until it hits midnight on New Year’s Eve. Does the clock get wound up again at that point? There are millions of seconds in one year so why does the year seem to go by faster with each month? They all tick away, the same way, second by second.  I am full of questions this time of year. I don’t do personal resolutions for the New Year, but I really like to get answers to my questions, even inconsequential ones.

Now that our final fundraiser of the year, Old Time Christmas, is over we enter Quiet Valley’s only truly quiet phase. The end of December and the month of January are the staff’s time to reflect, to evaluate the past year and to look ahead. This is when assessment on the programming and events of 2020 will take place. What worked, what didn’t? Are there programs that just don’t serve a purpose anymore, can they be tweaked or is it best to set them aside. Are there holes in the programs and activities we offer? This kind of review is what brought about offerings such as our Preschool program which takes place each spring and fall. It brought about the Farm to Table Experience which eventually morphed into the Farm to Table Dinner. Small summer events came about more than a decade ago due to this process. The one in June focuses on something we do very well here at Quiet Valley and has been of growing interest to the public for a number of years, Gardening. Raising your own food is a very rewarding and tasty hobby and for the early homesteaders it was a necessity. In July we added a day to focus on the traditional music of the 1800s. Families of that time period had someone able to play a fiddle or dulcimer and making music was just a natural part of their lives. Children learned at a young age that singing a repetitive song made chores go a little bit faster and it didn’t seem like such drudgery. In August we started to hold a day dedicated to the heritage crafts and folk art of the 19th century. Demonstrators share their specialties and there are some chances to try the process out for yourself. Quiet Valley exists to not only preserve the life skills and history of rural farm life of the 1800s, but even more importantly to teach it to others.

As I look back at 2020 it is like looking at a picture of yourself that is underwater. It’s somewhat familiar and yet not quite what we would normally expect to see. The COVID-19 pandemic shifted our programming and events into something different, something new and yet at the same time a bit familiar. It was a confusing process, frustrating at times and a challenge.  I am proud to say the Quiet Valley staff, board of directors and volunteers were up to the challenge. We had some great ideas on new ways to present activities and events. What we offered may have been different, but it stayed true to our mission. We shared what life was like on a small family farm in the 19th century. We taught visitors how it would have been for those early settlers who were willing to face hard times to own their own land and to be free to make their own choices. We helped the public make the connection from the past to the present and offered lessons on how  this knowledge can be relevant in their lives today.

As the year winds down second by second I am glad to have this time to reflect and review and to plan and to assess, but to also rest in the knowledge that we “did good”! As January arrives though we will hit the ground running as we will be eager to face the upcoming challenges with hopefully at least some of the courage our forefathers had. What new thing needs to be added, what else can we share with our visitors, what would you like to learn?! I can’t wait to get started.

See you in 2021! Best Wishes for the New Year and take care. Aunt Eunice

November is About Transitions

Hello Folks,
Aunt Eunice here. November has not only arrived, but is half over already. This month more than all the rest of them makes me feel like I am running to catch up! Perhaps it is a combination of the workload here at the farm as we prepare for our Old Time Christmas event and my home-life that make the difference. My family has quite a few birthday this month including mine. Throw Thanksgiving into the mix with six birthday parties and you have a very full month.  I feel like this is a month of transition as we move from fall into winter, as the leaves finish falling off the trees, the last of the lawn mowing takes place. Day Light Savings time is over so of course it gets dark earlier. The colder temperatures at night might have us inching up the thermostat. By the time I get home at night it is quite dark and instead of going for a walk I now curl up with a book. It makes me anxious for December 21st to arrive as then I know every day starts to get a little longer. The good news is it won’t be long until the seed catalogs start arriving!

Let’s not forget Veteran’s Day is in November, an important day of recognition of our military service members and all they have given to our country.  According to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs – World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m. An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Thanksgiving will soon becoming up and the traditional foods as well as some that are simply our family favorites will be enjoyed at Aunt Eunice’s Thanksgiving. It will be smaller than usual as we are being careful and social distancing. It is the smart thing to do. The original colonists on the Mayflower would have understood. History.com says – In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth. Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore and were taught and helped by the Native Americans. Our meal is bound to be different than the original harvest meal shared in Plymouth. Though no record tells us the exact menu the meal most likely consisted of items such as deer, corn, shellfish, and roasted meat.

Whatever dishes may be on our Thanksgiving sideboard we will be grateful and we will be praying for our family, friends and neighbors. That’s all for now.

Please take care and talk to you soon. Aunt Eunice

Fall Has Flitted Away

Hi Folks,
Aunt Eunice here. I must apologize for abandoning my post as far as the blog goes. August and September raced along in a blur and now here we are approaching the end of October. As they say tempus fugit, which Wikipedia describes as such, Tempus fugit is a Latin phrase, usually translated into English as “time flies“. The expression comes from line 284 of book 3 of Virgil’s Georgics,[1] where it appears as fugit inreparabile tempus: “it escapes, irretrievable time”. The phrase is used in both its Latin and English forms as a proverb that “time’s a-wasting”.  Well, time may have flown this fall for Quiet Valley, but we certainly didn’t waste it. With two Saturday tour days and five weekends of events there were plenty of chances for people to come visit the farm. While here they could enjoy the beauty of autumn in the Poconos and this year there was plenty of lovely foliage to view. Opportunities to learn abounded as many heritage craft and seasonal farm skills were demonstrated. Spooky Days on the Farm took place this past weekend and many “detectives” visited the farm to help us solve a “Murder Mystery”.  I hope you had time to see some of our mini-events as they flew by. I think that perhaps time is actually stationary  and humans are the ones rushing headlong into the future. Whatever the case may be we need to look forward so we don’t trip in our haste to get wherever it is we are going!

With Halloween taking place this weekend it brings back memories of the Mischief Nights of my youth with pranks like soaping car windows, throwing field corn kernels at house windows and toilet papering trees. Nothing that was truly harmful. College students have been pulling tricks at Halloween for longer than I’ve been around, even back in Victorian times. I thought I’d share this 1887 New York Times article as it concerns naughty college students at a college in nearby Easton, PA. It is actually my brother’s alma mater though I am sure he never pulled such pranks! Right, David? I don’t think the young sophomores in this story got any sleep on this mischief night!!

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To be honest my favorite part of Halloween is the treats not the tricks. When I went out as a child with all the kids in my neighborhood we     always planned our route so that midway we would be knocking on the door of the Peterson house. They had a small farm which was now   surrounded by suburbia, complete with a few dairy cows and apple trees.  Mrs. Peterson would offer you a cup of their own cider and her   homemade, still warm, sugar donuts! Now that is a treat!! Full size candy bars were the norm from the other neighbors though there were   occasionally apples as well. At the end of the evening my friends and I would dump our bags out on the living room floor and start the trading process. M&Ms, Rolos and Milky Ways were always my favorites. I also always had fun making costumes from scratch for myself and later for my family. That’s been a popular pastime for many generations.

The next big happening at Quiet Valley will be our annual Old Time Christmas event. Not surprisingly there will be social distancing measures in place. Tickets will go on sale soon so keep an eye on our website.

That’s all for now. Thanks for checking in and take care. Aunt Eunice

August Arrives Auspiciously

Hello Folks,
Aunt Eunice here. Well, in my last message I said August would be as busy as July and so far I am right on the money! Besides the historic tour last week we have had bake oven highlights, a pottery highlight, a visit from the bee keeper with some of his bees and Saturday was Heritage Craft Day. Heritage Craft Day is a summer event that offers a close up look at a number of the traditional craft and trade skills of the 19th century. As part of our farm museum’s mission we are tasked with preserving this kind of knowledge. There were rye straw basket and hat makers here, spinning and weaving was demonstrated, and the bobbin lace and tatting ladies shared their versions of lace making. The potter was at her wheel, there was quilling which is a paper craft and quilting as well. There was puppet making for the children, the men folk were making rope and the bake oven was busy turning out loaves of whole wheat bread. Aunt Eunice even had a chance to sit a spell and do some whittling. All in all a lovely day both entertainment and weather-wise.

I was in a discussion with a visitor and we were commiserating about the hot temperatures we had experienced in July. He said we hadn’t even gotten to August yet and the “dog days of summer”. While I didn’t correct him it caused me to double check my facts on this phrase. Some of you may already know it doesn’t refer to the weather. Here is what the good Old Farmer’s Almanac says – a well used resource for farm families in the 1800s.

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the unofficial authority on all things folklore and weather-related, the phrase “dog days” refers to the hottest time of the year, which is the 40 days that span from July 3 through August 11. The Almanac explains:

August 11 coincides with the heliacal (at sunrise) rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. The rising of Sirius does not actually affect the weather (some of our hottest and most humid days occur after August 11), but for the ancient Egyptians, Sirius appeared just before the season of the Nile’s flooding, so they used the star as a “watchdog” for that event. Since its rising also coincided with a time of extreme heat, the connection with hot, sultry weather was made for all time: “Dog Days bright and clear / indicate a happy year. / But when accompanied by rain, / for better times our hopes are vain.”

So though tomorrow is the last of the dog days for this summer I doubt we are through with the hot, humid weather! Our tomato plants seem to be loving it and we are harvesting many different varieties. One of my favorites is the Juliet, a small, plum shaped one that is firm and has a sweet flavor.
According to Bonnieplants.com – Juliet tomatoes are slightly larger than the well-known Santa grape tomato, it bears delicious, sweet fruit on indeterminate vines. Some gardeners refer to it as a mini Roma because of the shape. The wonderfully sweet fruit are crack resistant and remain in good condition on the vine longer than most cherry tomatoes. The fruit are as soft and juicy as cherry tomatoes, they hold up well in salads, even leftovers, and they have a longer shelf life so you can keep them on hand without picking every day.

Here is an old time recipe using squash and tomatoes from Quiet Valley’s bake oven cookbook. It may help you use up some of the many you will be harvesting in the month of August!

White Sauce – Ingredients & Instructions

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups half and half creamer (or whole milk)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the flour and whisk until combined.
  • Slowly stir in 1 cup of cream (or milk) and whisk until smooth.
  • Stir in the remaining cream, salt and pepper. Whisk constantly until the mixture starts to thicken. This will take 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove the white sauce from the stove.

Cucumbers, squash, carrots, beets, bell peppers, kohlrabi are just some of the other vegetables that we have been harvesting. Last Thursday we pick the sweet corn. It was immediately blanched, cut off the cob and frozen. All the staff received one ear each for lunch. It was delicious and certainly couldn’t have been fresher! I hope your gardens are producing as well as our Quiet Valley kitchen garden. Otherwise remember to check out your CSA or farmer’s markets. Your local farmers will appreciate the support.

That’s all for now folks. Hopefully we will see you on the farm before summer ends. Remember to check our Calendar of Events as we are planning several moderately -sized fall events to supplement our non-profit organization’s income. Take care. Aunt Eunice

July Flying By

Hello Folks,

Aunt Eunice here. I am sorry it’s been a while since I have written to you. With July arriving I have been busier than a farmer trying to catch a litter of rowdy piglets! Speaking of piglets, our sow Sweetie Pie had a litter of sixteen last month. Whew!! That is quite a large number as she only has the spigots to feed fourteen. She is a great mother though and all of them have thrived. Now that the babies are eating on their own and have grown a good amount  the majority have found homes at another farm. Last week our new heritage breed boar arrive at the farm. He was a bit shy about exiting the trailer into his new home, but with some coaxing (and food) he decided to enter the pig barn. Our sow Bertha was there to greet him and they have become good companions. We have named the boar Max and he is a fine fellow. It has been hard to get a good picture of him as he is in love with his mud wallow so that is where you can find him most of the time. Max is a Gloucester Old Spot breed.

The new draft horses Jenny and Judy have settled in nicely as well. They did not come to us as a team, but they are working very well together. They are so similar looking that they seem like sisters. They are both Suffolk Punches. The other animals are all doing well and there are plenty of them for visitors to see. Our Corona Virus adapted tours are going well and folks can safely visit and learn about various chores and tasks done on the homestead in the 19th century. Last week was a very busy one with several extra demonstrations. There was a pottery highlight, a Spinning and Weaving Day, a Bread Baking Highlight, oats being harvested and Saturday was Music in the Valley. Several musician came out the the farm and played traditional music on dulcimers, fiddles and banjos. We appreciate the sharing of stories about music development in the United States along with their talent at playing the music. We even had a very entertaining puppet show. It was a great day.

This week will be another busy one with a Rye Straw Craft Day on Tuesday, Split Oak Basketry along with Quilting on Wednesday, Paper Crafts on Thursday and on Friday evening 7/24 a special fundraiser, an Ice Cream & Art Twilight Tour where folks can create some art work, enjoy homemade ice cream and visit two tour stops on the farm for special presentations. You can call the office for more info or to sign up, but hurry.

July has been plenty busy and August looks to be the same. I hope you will have an opportunity come visit us. We will appreciate your business and you will have fun and most likely learn something new. Nothing better than having fun while learning!

Well, that’s all for now folks. I hope you are staying healthy. Take care of each other. Thank you and see you soon. Aunt Eunice

Going Green on Summer Solstice

Hello Folks,
Aunt Eunice here. Quiet Valley is very excited as on June 19th Monroe County, PA moves into the Green Phase of the COVID-19 quarantine. This means we can open the gate and invite you in to visit the farm and learn about the past. Be assured we will be putting in place all social distancing measures that are needed. At this time that means staff, volunteers and visitors will be required to wear masks and stay six feet apart from other parties. There will be no more than 250 people on the farm at one time and at any one stop there will be 25 guests or less at a time.

We will be having a cautious, safety conscious  opening on summer solstice, June 20th,  with our Sheep to Shawl Fiber Arts Day. It runs from 10am to 3pm and admission will be $8 per adult and $4 for ages 3-12.  Watch as our sheep are sheared and the spinners and weavers take one of the fleeces and create a beautiful shawl. You can visit some of the farm animals whose wool, fur and hair are typically used in the fiber arts. The outdoor brick bake oven will be operating and selling freshly baked loaves of bread as a way to raise funds for Quiet Valley.

The following weekend on June 27th & 28th will be our Quiet Valley Flea Market Day from 9am to 3pm both days. There is no admission fee for this weekend. There will be several booths where you can shop for interesting collectibles. The Friends of Quiet Valley will have their Timeless Treasures tables full of beautiful linens and unique vintage items for your shopping pleasure. Heritage crafts made by local artisans will be available for purchase in the Quiet Valley Gift Shop. The bake oven will be in operation on Saturday and you may purchase tasty loaves of bread. A delicious way to raise funds for the farm museum.

On Saturday July 4th we will officially open for the summer tour season on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10am to 4pm and Sundays from noon to 4pm. The museum grounds will be open until 5pm. The 142nd Civil War Volunteer Co. G will be encamped on the farm 7/4 -7/5. On Saturday the 4th there will also be other activities like old fashioned children’s games, one room school presentations along with loaves of bread made in the outdoor bake oven for sale. Please check out our online Calendar of Events section to see the many other activities happening in addition to our historic tours.

We are so happy to be able to open the gates even in a more limited fashion than usual. Tours will be held with COVID-19 safety adjustments in place. Please be assured we will be doing everything in our power to keep our staff, volunteers and our visitors as safe as possible. We hope to see you soon. Keep up the good work in social distancing and smart practices like hand washing and wearing masks. It is working, but we still have a way to go yet. That’s all for now. Thanks for checking in. Aunt Eunice.

June in Yellow

Hello Folks,
Aunt Eunice here. I hope you are all doing well. Monroe County, PA, where Quiet Valley is located, has reached the Yellow Phase of the quarantine. We all hope nothing interferes with our progress to the Green Phase. One step at a time.

Now that June is here our thoughts at Quiet Valley generally turn toward our summer tour season. That is going to be different this year as gatherings like that are not able to happen quite yet. Fortunately we will be able to hold our camp groups for ages 6 through 14, with a limit of ten students per camp. Camps in each age group will have a different focus though all will be fun and the activities interesting. Part of the good times will involve the farm animals, heritage crafts and hikes through the 114 acres of the farm. If we move into the Green Phase modified historic farm tours will begin. We will be live steaming the sheep shearing that will take place on Saturday June 20th. If you have never seen it before it is an interesting process. Stay tuned.

June is also a time to celebrate the longest day of sunlight of the year, Summer Solstice. In 2020, the Summer Solstice is Saturday, June 20, at 5:44 P.M. EDT. This date marks the official beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, occurring when Earth arrives at the point in its orbit where the North Pole is at its maximum tilt (about 23.5 degrees) toward the Sun, resulting in the longest day and shortest night of the calendar year. (By longest “day,” we mean the longest period of sunlight.) At the June solstice, the Northern Hemisphere receives sunlight at the most direct angle of the year. The first day of summer is said to be when the Sun reaches its highest point in the sky, which occurs on the summer solstice (June 20–22). Therefore, the summer solstice is considered to be the first day of summer, astronomically speaking. The summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere ranges in date from June 20 to 22. This occurs in part because of the difference between the Gregorian calendar system, which normally has 365 days, and the tropical year (how long it takes Earth to orbit the Sun once), which has about 365.242199 days. To compensate for the missing fraction of days, the Gregorian calendar adds a leap day every 4 years, which makes the date for summer jump backward. However, the date also changes because of other influences, such as the gravitational pull from the Moon and planets, as well as the slight wobble in Earth’s rotation. Visit almanac.com for more info.

Another special day is June 21st, Father’s Day. Many time celebrated with a cook out it is a time to focus on the patriarch of the family. Dads work hard to take care of their loved ones, teach manly skills like throwing a baseball, changing the oil in your car, mowing the lawn, grilling a perfect steak and so much more. Long gone are the days only father and son learned these skills together. Fathers and daughters also bond over many of the same learning experiences. If your father is still around make sure he knows how much he means to you.

According to Britannica.com  Father’s Day, in the United States, is celebrated on the third Sunday in June, to honor fathers. Credit for originating the holiday is generally given to Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, whose father, a Civil War veteran, raised her and her five siblings after their mother died in childbirth. She is said to have had the idea in 1909 while listening to a sermon on Mother’s Day, which at the time was becoming established as a holiday. Local religious leaders supported the idea, and the first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, the month of the birthday of Dodd’s father. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge gave his support to the observance, and in 1966 President Lyndon B. Johnson officially proclaimed it a national holiday. Observance on the third Sunday of June was decreed by law in 1972.

As the summer season gets ready to kick off remember social distancing is still very important. Keep wearing masks when out and about and wash hands regularly. We are all tired of it all, but it will truly help us get past this pandemic. Well, that’s all for now. Take care and stay safe. Aunt Eunice

 

Creative Spirits

Hello Folks,
Aunt Eunice here. I pray today finds you doing well and in good health. I have heard many discussions on the news and from telephone conversations with coworkers and family that changes are coming soon as to who can go out into the wide world. I hope the powers that be are making judicious and thoughtful decision about loosening the reins on social contact. Caution should be our watch word. Hopefully this is the sign for which we have been waiting and praying.

I have been so interested during our seclusion in all the efforts of people to stay connected and to entertain themselves and others. Videos being one of the major way to make this happen. Everyone from famous actors and musicians to your next door neighbor have jumped on the band wagon. It’s wonderful to see the creative spirit of the human race with videos of everything from toboggan slides down stairways to songs and crafts and cooking. Bravo! It is good for the soul to have the truly good laugh that some of these videos bring.

Quiet Valley has been sharing videos, too, each Friday. The content varies and we hope you both enjoy them and learn something interesting. We are trying to stay connected to the outside world while the actual farm museum is closed. This Friday’s video should be on weaving which is always a very popular subject. As summer approaches and the gates to the farm are finally open you can come out and see many of the video subjects taking place right before your eyes. On Quiet Valley’s website there is a Calendar of Events section that  lists summer events and highlights. Be sure to check it regularly as Highlights will be added for the next month or so. At some point Aunt Eunice will be demonstrating Rag Doll Making and also teaching folks about Pantry Staples such as eggs, sugar, butter and salt.

That’s all for now, folks. We appreciate you checking in with us. Stay safe and I will talk to you soon. Aunt Eunice

Patience is a Virtue…

Hello Folks,

Aunt Eunice checking in and praying you are well. As our enforced time at home continues I find my patience is getting thin. There is an old verse that goes “Patience is a virtue, find it if you can, seldom in a woman and never in a man”. I believe it is truly important though to “stay the course” and keep up the social distancing, but sometimes the “collar chafes”! Being inside on these rainy days we have been having has me “chomping at the bit” to get some fresh air. Yesterday I walked with my umbrella. Several days ago I watched through the window as a large pond formed in my back yard. It is still an oversized mud pit! It has a bear’s footprints in it and I am sure he must be the guilty party in the garbage can incident!! These days it can feel like you are under house arrest being home bound as we are, especially if weather keeps you cooped up. I have been taking the time since I have it to go through old paperwork. I found a number of my mother’s old journals. I am not sure if it is because she was from the south or if it was a generational thing, but her writing and her conversations were always laced with sayings. It was the same for the early settlers who had a saying for most every occasion or circumstance. It was a way of teaching  as most folk phrases had a “moral to the story” or a message to make a point. Some sayings had to be simple colloquialisms. My mother and her sisters had lots of sayings about water and bridges such as “weights what broke the bridge” in reference to their children saying “Wait a minute” when called by a parent. My mother was not one to get in a tizzy about things. It took a lot to “ruffle her feathers”. She believed it was a matter of “water over the dam” or “under a bridge”. I wish I had more of her calm affability right now.

Some folk phrases like “Angels weep when women whistle” could have discouraged girls from becoming whistlers which was not considered appropriate for young ladies. “A stitch in time saves nine” was a way to teach that a problem should be tackled while it is small rather than when it gets bigger, which is almost always what happens. Some sayings like “it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans” may seem of little use to us. Back in the day though everyone knew whether you were talking about a subject in a size sense or monetary one a hill of beans wasn’t worth much. On the farm there would be animal sayings like “madder than a wet hen. Have you ever seen a wet hen? If so, you know it is very mad indeed. “‘Til the cows come home” means settle in, because whatever we’re talking about or doing is going to take awhile. Cows aren’t known for their speed. A farmer might tell his son ” don’t buy a pig in a poke” as a way to teach him to get a good look at an animal before purchasing it. It’s hard to really see an animal enclosed in a small pen. It was also a message saying be sure what you’re getting into before you commit. “A new broom sweeps clean” may be a reference to a person with a fresh perspective clearing the air. I do find a new broom really does sweep cleaner than my old one. I love getting a new broom, especially an old fashioned one made from broom corn.


Broom Corn
Henry David Thoreau once said “Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed in them.” I believe he was referring to what I say is “our houses are so much to take care of and take up so much of our time that the house owns us rather than the other way around”.  My frustration with being sequestered may sometimes make my house seem like a prison, but I know it is truly a haven. A place to be safe, helping us keep others safe, doing my part to contain this dangerous virus. I am sharing quality time with family, getting my work done from home, accomplishing odd jobs I’ve been meaning to get to. I pray for those on the front line, those who are out of work, those without the necessities they need, those suffering from the virus and those grieving over the loss of a loved one.

I hope we can all find a way to accept our confinement with grace, with patience for what steps are needed to get us to the other side of the pandemic. Take care, my friends, and stay safe. Talk to you soon. Aunt Eunice