The summer is over, according to the school calendars, but fair season is still in full swing. On our bison farm, that means tour season is also still in “full swing.” All this means the wagons, that were originally designed to haul hay from the fields during harvest, are being used for quite different jobs on our farm.
We do haul our share of hay, but not with the remodeled wagons. Those wagons are used for taking people to the field to see the bison where they roam, a holding area for calves and children as everyone gets their animals ready for showing at another fair, and a meeting area for dignitaries at our local fairs. Thousands of people, over the years, have taken a ride in our covered wagons to see the bison, take photos, pick pumpkins and even for extra seating at a wedding held in a pasture.
Grandchildren tie their calves next to the wagon so they can wash them, and clip them. The wagon also makes a great staging area for the ensuing water fights, once the animals are sparkling clean.
When the wagon is parked at the fair it houses tables and chairs so visitors have a comfortable, shady place to enjoy bison burgers. It is also the spot to sit and visit with our Governor, State Senate President, a Congressman or one of our Senators. We even had one Governor bring her staff here for all of the June birthday parties in the office – not a bad gig for a hay wagon.
Ahh, the life of a hay wagon!
The frost is on the pumpkin! It’s also on the windshields, the grass and all of my flowers! Ghosts and goblins abound and it would not be the spooky season without Halloween pumpkins. Some pumpkins are raised for pies, and other treats. Ours are raised for spooky fun. Children come in all ages at this time of year, as witnessed by the glee displayed from adults working on our local haunted rides at the local fairgrounds. I think they had at least as much fun – if not more – creating the fright fest, as the children they were trying to scare! Naturally, they had pumpkins featured throughout the whole event.
Some farms had pumpkin carving contests and displays. It is certainly amazing just how elaborate the carving can get on a simple orange orb! On our farm, after a visit to the bison field, we stop at our pumpkin patch to select the perfect pumpkin and then return to the store where we give everyone a chance to turn it into the perfect Halloween Beauty!! Since we are working with young children, no knives are involved — we use paint, glue, markers and stickers. It’s often a contest to decide who is more decorated – the child or the pumpkin!!
Walktober, a huge event in Eastern Connecticut and Central Massachusetts, is in full swing. Our bison farm had nearly 200 visitors hike to see the bison, and their handling facilities this weekend. What a fantastic opportunity to share our open spaces and visit with people from all around New England and the rest of the United States. We have the chance to answer lots and lots of questions, show people where their food comes from and meet many new friends.
Our farm is, of course, not the only farm participating in this October Adventure. Dairy farmers are inviting people to visit them in the milking parlor, walk through the fields and sample free ice cream. The local turkey farm shows off their 3000 pasture raised turkeys, their homemade ice cream and has a corn maze to show off too. The nearby orchard not only lets you pick your own apples, but you can also take a ride through the orchard in a horse-drawn wagon. If you want to pick pumpkins, there is a farm for that also, and another corn maze. Just to make sure you do not ever go away hungry, all of the farms have free samples of their CT Grown products.
It still smells like fall in this kitchen. We took time to visit the orchard. Apple pies and homemade applesauce are now being finished up and packaged for the freezer. They will be especially appreciated when my least favorite season, winter, arrives.
Here in Connecticut, Fall has arrived. The leaves are turning their brilliant hues, the mornings are crisp and there is a comfortable routine that begins with a big, yellow school bus each morning. This grandmother loves, loves, loves summer with all of the grandchildren, but fall is a very close second. It’s a very busy month on our bison farm. We do lots of agritourism, and October is one of our busiest months. We are involved in our local tourism district’s activities which includes “Walktober”. Look us up on Google! Find the Last Green Valley. You will find nighttime satellite images with a dark spot from central Massachusetts to the Connecticut shoreline — no city lights — “The Last Green Valley”. There are over 100 free walks offered in the area during the month of October. We have 2 days devoted to them. We offer a walk to see the bison and then sample bison soup. Later in the month we offer wagon rides to see the bison and some new baby calves in the fields. After the ride, we visit the pumpkin patch, where everyone chooses a pumpkin to decorate back at the retail area and try samples of bison goodies. This weekend we are taking our “show” on the road. We are going to a farm museum where we will be selling bison cheese steaks and soup in the food tent. The soup is simmering in the kitchen now, so it looks, feels and smells like fall. Such a special time in New England.