Monday, May 30, 2011

Tanglewood's First Farm Party

The weekend kicked off with an amazing gathering of friends and students out at our homestead/farm. We called it the Tanglewood Detangling Party. Folks showed up with gloves, shears, loppers and serious work ethic. I didn't get a single photograph of the detangling crew in action, but we had no less than ten people working down in the orchard to clear away the invasive vines that have been choking the geriatric apple trees. Before our party, each tree was skirted by 10-20 feet of multiflora rose vines, virginia creeper, grape vines, poison ivy vines, box elder trees and more. The poor trees were literally being drawn and quartered by the various vines!

I can't begin to explain how grateful I am for the wonderful people that came to help, Saturday. There was so much accomplished in such little time! All of the brush and vines removed were dragged to line the fence along the edge of the property. Hopefully this will help deter the deer this fall, especially since the one spot with the most brush is also the spot they cross most commonly into the orchard to nibble on the trees as well as my raspberry patch.

I had daydreamed of having the orchard cleared ever since we moved in, but I never thought we could do it. It's amazing what good friends and the promise of home-made pizza can do!

While the majority of friends and students worked down in the orchard, I had a small ground of younger students (some as young as 8!) that came to help too! Of course I couldn't have them up to their knees in poison ivy and nettles so I found various other jobs for them including planting out over 150 lettuce seedlings! One of the lettuce varieties, Forellenschluss (an Austrian variety) was particularly fun to teach them to pronounce.

It was awesome to see them daintily plucking the seedlings up and planting them. I taught them each how to measure planting distances with their hands and they made very quick work of it. They also planted all of my marigolds and calendula out in the north garden and weeded some of the raised beds.

I think my favorite moment with the younger students was when I told them yes they could go in and see my antique taxidermy/skull collection. I'm not sure any of these kids had ever seen taxidermy in real life before. Their faces were priceless. One little girl in particular has become fascinated by skulls lately and we had a chat about how it's fairly socially unacceptable to go around saying "I like dead things"... hahaha.

The evening came to a close with a fantastic feast of homemade pizza (with asparagus, oyster mushrooms and pesto), fresh rhubarb lemonade (the best ever), salad with maple/balsamic dressing and various other potlucked pasta salads, brownies, cupcakes... it was amazing!

I'll try to post some more about the various foods/recipes soon.

Folks wandered in and out all day, and when the food was ready we all gathered up by the house to eat. The weather held out until most of the people had tapered off in the evening, and then it began to sprinkle. At the very end of the night we were left with my three closest friends, chatting in the living room about horse-related nonsense. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.


  1. Kay and the Shelley's? :) I wish I could've stayed and caught up!

  2. Would really like your Pizza recipe :)

  3. Love that your younglings were so taken with the taxidermy. Do you still, by chance, have that horse skull I dug out of a swamp for you when we were kids?


  4. That pizza looks absolutely amazing. I want it in my belly.

  5. What a wonderful day! I shall have to stop by some time on the way to the eastern suburbs and get some tips (maple, honey?, taxidermy, etc.).