Life on the Farm – “Seasonal changes – A farmer looks back.”

 
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Everything has its season and the Maize Quest Corn Maze and Fun park season ends this Sunday. Sure, we’re tired from working seven days a week for a month and a half, but it’s always sad to see it end. We checked in our last big school tour this morning and it hit me – Soon the fields will grow quiet again.

I work best in bursts. I guess it’s the farmer in my DNA, but I work best seasonally. Unlike a battery that gives power slowly and continuously, I’m more of a capacitor -> I get charged up and put out full power for a short period of time, then end completely exhausted.

Are you a battery or a capacitor? Neither is better, each is different.

I like the high-energy, “It’s Go Time!” mentality of Harvest season, but even your Mazemaster needs time to recharge, so it’s now that I get reflective on the joys of the harvest.

Here are some of the notes from this season on the farm:

Early Spring was a roller coaster of warm days and cold-snaps. The cherries and apricots were completely killed by frost and some of the peaches for damaged. Not a great start to the year, but fortunately, blueberries and apples emerged unscathed.

Spring had Winemakers Matt & Hugh stymied by challenging cherry and blueberry fermentation. If not for our network of winemakers and a lot of extra work, Cherry Blossom wine might not exist!

Corn & pumpkin planting went very well and was followed by a lot of rain, great start! Drought-like conditions took hold in August and early September stunting the total yield on corn and pumpkins.

As we worked into early October, welcoming our usual Harvest Festival guests turned into a job of dodging rain drops in those first weekends of October, but Pennsylvania weather is always changing and brought gorgeous sunny weekends in this middle to allow guests comfortably to the farm.

As we come to the end of the Fall Fest season, we have had a run of unseasonably nice weekends and are thankful for it. Even this final weekend in November, looks clear and bright with lovely Fall temps.

Farmer Matt (he kinda does it all) is finishing harvesting field corn and soybeans now, and the fruit picking crew is finishing up apple harvest. Soon we’ll be cleaning up and storing equipment away to hunker down for the winter, but…

…NEW for 2016, the farm market, bakery and wine tasting room will remain OPEN Saturdays 12-5PM & Sundays 1PM-5PM through Dec 18th, INCLUDING Black Friday 12PM-5PM!

That means YOU can get your bakery favorites and shop the farm market, then head over for wine tastings ( if you are over 21, of course.) Miss Dee will even take your orders for Thanksgiving Day pies for pick-up Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

So, why not head to the farm one last time for the maze season, then don’t forget us for your holiday shopping. The Fall Fest season might be coming to a close this Sunday, but you can stay connected to your farm friends for a few extra weekends.

When I try to look back and capture the season in a few paragraphs, it seems to slip through my grasp. So many tasks, so many interactions, so many challenges, so many hassles, so many wonderful moments – when I try to quantify it, it slips away. The only answer if to feel it, to feel and consider all those moments as a whole and big complex system you can’t understand, but you can feel. It’s overwhelming; it’s overwhelmingly joyful.

Thank you so much for your loyalty to our family’s farm. It is a joy to serve and entertain you each and every season. While I personally might need a little time to recharge, I guarantee I’ll never be short on energy when you’re here

Maple Lawn Farms & Maize Quest – “As young as you can, as long as you can.”

Pumpkins patch OPEN | PRIME Apple Picking | Maize Quest Flashlight Nights | “Young as you can.” blog
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The BIG pumpkins go FIRST! Get here early to pick.
Eric Big Pumpkin
Early pickers get the BIG ones! Checkout this family’s haul. Pumpkin Express Wagon Rides are FREE starting Fri-Sat at 11AM, just pay for the pumpkins you pick: $.75 per pound, BUT NO PUMPKIN costs more than $12, no matter how BIG!
3 Things to Know this Week:
  1. Mac, Smoothee, Red Chief, Empire, Fuji, JonaGold for apple picking in the orchard. Just $15 per half-bushel. Mr. Allen is in the gazebo with baskets!
  2. Maize Quest OPEN Friday 10AM-10PM, Saturday 10am-10PM with Flashlight Nights, Sun 1PM-7PM. Fruit picking everyday Mon-Sat 8AM-6PM, Sun 1PM-5PM – Last Orchard entry hour before closing.
  3. SAVE on Maize Quest Tickets and experience our newest attraction the Hidden Gem Railroad Trackless Train Ride. [CLICK HERE]
Life on the Farm: “As young as you can, as long as you can.”
On top of every thing you have to do in a week, you still need to parent your children. Wait, strike that, reverse it. During this hectic week we stumbled into some very typical “kids growing up and dealing with issues” moments. It led me to revisit a premise upon which my wife and I whole-heartedly agree: “Keep them as young as you can, as long as you can.”
Dress code. I have a fashionista daughter, who by some miracle of wife, church and modesty, has not yet fallen prey to Justice, booty shorts, and “Princess Butt” sweatpants.
For some reason, as boys shorts keep getting longer and they pull their socks up to meet the bottom of their shorts, girls are pushed into “adult revealing clothes”, though most adult women I know, wouldn’t where stuff like that.
Keep the dress code, young as possible, as long as possible.
Media. Please, we don’t even have an Xbox and we have one TV in the house. We’re not Amish, but we’re too busy to watch hours of media each day. Video games are monitored, devices aren’t allowed in rooms, the computer stays in the kitchen we’re we can see it. Don’t fall for “Everyone else is playing/watching/listening to…” Our rocking family nights are more “So You Think You Can Dance” than “Call of Duty VI”.
Keep the media inputs as young as possible, as long as possible.
Family time. I love this time of year, because we see so many familiar faces. After 19 seasons in the maze and longer on the farm, we have watched families grow up in the orchards. I saw a great, long-time visiting family this weekend; just happened to run into them before they left.
Both 20-something sons have full-time jobs, parents are busy with their lives, but they prioritize time together as a family. They were smiling, laughing and joking because one soon had been in a severe auto accident a few months ago and had a concussion, so they brought him to test him in the maze!
They were having good, old fashioned fun together as they had for over a decade at the farm.
They are staying young together, enjoying time together, as long as they can.
I know this email might sound a bit preachy, but this is what’s happening now, in my 40-year-old life. Am I way off base here?
This is a beautiful weekend, apples are ready, pumpkins are ripe, the Fun Park & Amazon Corn Maze are ready for your family. Call a time out on your hectic life and escape to the farm.
If you’d like to keep your kids, kids a little longer, no matter how they are, nothing beats some Fall fun on the farm.
See you soon on the farm,
Hugh