On October 11 Ben and I got married here on the farm. We were blessed with the most magical wedding we could have hoped for. The ceremony was officiated by our dear friend Jim Morrison, anointed for one day by the Judge in Albemarle County, and attended by more than 100 friends and family. Many thanks to Katherine Turner, for her photographs.
The best parties take on a life of their own, nudged into being by their hosts, but carried along and transformed by the imagination and initiative of the guests. For a party this size to do that—which it did—is testament to the skills, hard work, and guidance of our wedding party: Sarah Stowe and Stephenie Ritchey. Thanks gals.
Celebrating a job well done!
Our guests outdid themselves in ways we know and in ways we don’t know. Popsicles appeared. Yards and yards of tulle for decorations appeared. A stunning hand-woven willow arbor appeared. Buckets, and then more buckets, of flowers appeared.
The tractor barn got transformed into a relaxing bar, complete with an embarrassing slideshow of baby pictures. The pole barn got transformed into a dance hall. The square dance started, and then kept going. Every time we looked there was a new band and a new caller. Gorgeous custom wedding shot glasses appeared, and then the cider toast got poured.
Bountiful bread, trout, and squash emerged from our oven. Pork and chicken got smoked and pulled. The food tables groaned under the weight of the feast. An outdoor home, complete with living room and kitchen, appeared in our front yard as a retreat from the fray. And a place for hung-over campers to breakfast the next day.
It was incredible.
Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday. For us, it marks the end of our markets and celebrates the successful completion of another growing season. It is an occasion to gather with family and friends for no other reason than to be together and to feast. It is an excuse to make—and eat—ridiculous amounts of food. And it is an annual reminder to feel grateful.
Schaeffer’s Hollow Lane, in October
We couldn’t feel more grateful this year. We have had an incredible season filled with wonderful people, great markets and unforgetable milestones. The experience of starting a second season and having customers remember us, and seek us out at market, was unexpectedly gratifying. The oven that we built earlier this year allowed us to bake much more bread, and even dabble in pastry. Our CSA expanded and included donors that allowed us to subsidize shares for four families through our Pay-What-You-Can program. El Nino provided autumn warmth that made November markets positively pleasant.
But nothing beats getting to know our community more deeply, and knowing that we are serving it in ways that we believe in. We are so grateful to you, the people that support us, and our farm. You are a big part of what makes what we do possible.
The other part is the work our soil does for us. We had the pleasure this year of seeing our soil respond to our care. An eye-popping root crop followed a buckwheat cover crop, and the soil is looser now than ever. The conversion of seed into vegetable never ceases to be a source of awe. May we never loose sight of the soil, and sun, and rain, that make our life possible.
Over the next week, you can read some more specific reasons why we are feeling grateful this year. This is the first of seven posts in seven days. Then we will take a break for the holidays, and be back at it in January. Happy reading!