October 28, 2014

Fruits of Autumn

Dear Friends,

Nature.  It’s beautiful, bountiful, honest, and at the same time unforgiving, sometimes harsh, and always outside our control.  Dan and I are in the car, heading toward Idaho and the Trailing of the Sheep Festival in Sun Valley.  Having gone over our last minute chore lists, packed and loaded, we now have the opportunity to “catch up” while riding down the highway, and reflect about what’s going on at the ranch.  The conversation immediately focuses on the topic of moisture, or lack of.  Last year we had about 5.5 inches of rain in August and September, giving the grasses a great boost.  Besides the growth aspect of the fall “green up” affect, moisture affects the palatability of the grasses too.  This “green up” really helps wildlife and livestock.  This year, we’ve had less than 1.5 inches of moisture since the lst of August, combined with the continued hot weather, it’s really hard on the animals right now.  One recent morning, we had heavy dew, and even that perked up the sheep and cattle.

Peach Pie (640x480)

These dry conditions affect us in multiple ways.  We hesitate to start putting seed in the ground for crops, and yet the longer we wait, the less time the seeds will have to sprout and grow, getting strong enough to withstand winter conditions ahead.  The boys always say fall is the time to “hurry up and wait.”  We wait for fall rains in order to proceed with farming; and we wait for fall rains to rejuvenate the grasses.

Nature did gift us with incredible fruit in our orchards this year, due to no frosts when the blossoms were on.  We have enjoyed bumper crops of cherries, apricots, plums, pears and peaches.  Lots of canning, and the unmistakable smell and taste of fresh peach pie!!  Is there anything better?  I can feel the warmth and taste the flavor just looking at this photo!  Now we’re busy picking apples.  I can’t wait to make the first batch of applesauce, and the kids will be pressing cider all weekend.

We just hosted our first ever Fall Vogue Knitting LIVE! Destination Experience with designer Josh Bennett teaching the workshops.  So much fun!  It was a great group of women from all over the country, and maybe our best group of dancers ever!  A boat load of them braved the rapids of the Deschutes River Canyon, some demonstrated their artistic talents in fly casting, besides knitting, and cowgirl Doreen of Vogue Knitting took the stage and thrilled us with her rendition of “I Want to be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart!”  And I heard a rumor that Josh might be moving out west to be a ranch hand.  (Just kidding!)

Well, my turn to drive.  For all of you who are fans of Imperial Yarn, you are close to my heart.  Thank you for being part of our family.

Warm Regards,