Date published: December 1st, 2016 | By Maddie
Dear Longacre Family Far and Near,
(Editor's note: ... and a warm welcome to our new subscribers joining via the Giveaway.)
The fall season has been a busy one here on the farm, but nonetheless a predominantly joyful one. As we get ready to bid 2016 farewell and welcome in the new year, I thought I would send you a note about what we have been up to out here in the rolling hills of Central Pennsylvania.
First off, Mark and I are expecting a baby in May. This baby will be the first human addition to our brood, which includes turkeys, cats and dogs. We just got back from a lively Thanksgiving trip to Detroit to visit my rather large extended family. It is always a great feeling to be surrounded (and at times almost smothered) by that much love. Mark and I are looking forward to a Pennsylvania winter, as our previous states of residence include Michigan, Wyoming, Maine and New Hampshire. The next few months may be a balmy treat in comparison.
Louise was also recently on the road. She just got back from a trip to the D.C. area where she visited a few farmers. If you want Louise to head to your town, just drop her a line! She loves a road trip in the name of catching up and hugging farmers.
You probably know that Louise loves projects. She and Jake have been a particularly busy duo this fall, working tirelessly on the basement renovation of their beloved church house. Not only are they finishing the basement (which has been largely untouched since 1882) but they are also heating the space with a really neat (and efficient) outdoor woodstove. Louise and Jake are going to be snug as a bug this winter, and staff are going to have a beautiful place to spend their days off next summer. Wins all around!
Louise has been feeling quite sad about the loss of Rusty who, as you may have seen on Facebook, was recently put down at 33-years-old (that’s over 100 human years). After being rescued in 2002, Rusty spent many wonderful years at Longacre. We wish we could determine how many hundreds of kids rode Rusty gleefully around the farm throughout those 14 years. Needless to say, he was well-loved by humans and horses alike (especially his faithful companion, Jazz).
Speaking of animals at Longacre, Matt’s cows are enjoying the cooler weather (unlike the horses) and so is Matt. He much prefers rotating them around the farm without the pesky mosquitoes, ticks and, of course, the hot temperatures that seem to make him a littttle sweaty. With winter just around the corner, Alecia’s impending due date also draws near (Christmas Day!). We are overjoyed for Matt and Alecia and are SOOOOO excited to have a baby on the farm.
Cold weather also means it's time to winterize the campsite and the barns. Thank goodness Big Al Smith (Susan’s younger son, Matt’s brother) is here visiting his friends and family for a few months. He has been a BIG help around the farm. Plus, it's just plain wonderful having the Smith brothers together again after many years of living on opposite sides of the country. We're really happy to have you here, Al.
Last, but most certainly not least, Rog and Susan just hosted a family-filled Thanksgiving at their house ... 18 people! While Susan has been enjoying her “retirement” this fall, it seems to me like she has not rested one single minute. She planned and orchestrated her 60th high school reunion in Wellesley, Massachusetts. In addition to trips to New England, she successfully put the garden to bed for the winter, and preserved a great amount of fruits and veggies to get her family through the colder months. Can you believe she and Rog are still eating kale out of the garden?! Also, big news, Rog recently announced that, after ten wonderfully successful years, he will be stepping down from his Executive Director position at the Perry County Council for the Arts. He will likely remain about as restful as Susan in retirement.
… and there you have it! Enough about us. Please share your news with us if you feel so inclined. We love hearing your updates!
Maddie and all the gang on the farm
(Pictured, left to right: Jake and Louise, Rog and Sue, Big Al, Maddie and Mark, and Alecia and Matt. Horses: Rosie and Shasta.)