Well, here we are! It's Christmas Eve, and our countdown is
over, but I want to leave you with one last gift... the gift of
Setting aside the distractions of a non-farm life and creating a
meal together from items found in the garden; listening to the
sound of more quiet than you're used to, or the unfamiliar noises
of goats and chickens; playing in a creek or floating down a river;
brushing a horse and playing cowboy; sipping wine; stargazing...
these shared experiences are priceless.
We're looking forward to what 2013 has to bring for Farm Stay
U.S., all our farms and ranches, and all the travelers whose
company we will enjoy. Cheers!
Know what's fun? Horseback riding. I spent many a childhood
holiday hoping for a chance to go on a trail ride.
Day 2 - Horseback Riding
Whether going on trail rides, taking part in cattle
drives, or making use of indoor
or outdoor riding arenas, communing with the
horses is a fantastic gift from our farms and ranches.
Since I'm in a wintery mood and would love nothing more than
snow for Christmas (which probably won't happen), I'm daydreaming a
Day 3 - Snowshoeing, Snowmobiling, and Skiing
This is different from day
eight's sleigh rides because... hmmm, because... because I'm
making this up as I go along! Anyway, these are
get-up-and-get-moving activities, perfect for working off some of
that extra helping of sweet potatoes.
Some farms have lots of land, and you might be able to step
right out the door and start snowshoeing. Others are very near
popular destinations and make a great place to stay overnight and
call home-base to your snowy explorations.
The gift of a winter wonderland!
Well, here we are, just four more days until Christmas! Today's gift comes from trees...
Day 4 - Maple Sugaring
Trees that give you SYRUP.
"We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup."
I didn't include this in yesterday's post because, while it's something farmers can show or teach, it's not like most people can then go home and tap their own maple trees (unless you have the right kind). Maple sugaring is a seasonal activity, usually taking place in the spring.
The gift of sweetness!
The alpacalypse is coming! Here, this llama will explain...
Okay, all jokes about the end of the world aside, farms are great places to learn a skill or two that might see you through some tough times -- or at the very least, impress your friends at parties. (Seriously. Homemade cheese? I would be so impressed while I hid it all in my purse to take home.) (I like cheese, is what I'm saying.)
Day 5 - Bread, Butter, Jam, and Cheese Making; Canning and Preserving; Soap Making; Teaching Farms; Teaching Ranches; Cooking School
Fresh, whole ingredients, usually straight from the source. A knowledgeable farmer or rancher to teach. These are some invaluable gifts!
The Farm Stay U.S. search page can help you find all kinds of new skills to learn. Just click on "Show More Search Options" and select an activity to see what our members have to offer.
What's your favorite vision of a vineyard? Is it the bare vines in late winter, racing toward a spring bud break? Green leaves and row upon row of lush fruit in the early fall? Or, later, after harvest, the leaves turning green-to-gold-to-orange-to-brown, heralding the vines' winter dormancy? Day 6 - Vineyards and Wine Touring/Tasting
The end of another harvest...
Isn't there just something lovely about a wine tasting room, too? Congenial and inviting, and most often there is a host willing to teach a thing or two, or just chat about wine. It's such a relaxing way to vacation.
Vineyard stays tend toward the romantic, rather than a full-blown family vacation (although not always - a couple of our vineyard members do allow children under 12!). There are also farms and ranches with wineries nearby that offer tastings or tours, or with vineyards of their own.
This, as Galileo might agree, is the gift of sunlight.
Take a peek at our list of vineyard members, as well as all the members who offer wine touring or tasting as an activity.
It's snowing here! Is this because I wrote about snow yesterday? If so, then today I shall write about chocolate... Oh, wait, my husband just informed me that's not how it works. Drat. In that case, let's talk about keeping snuggly warm. Because, brrrr.
Day 7 - Quilting, Fiber and Weaving (workshops, demonstrations, retreats)
Hand carders and spindles.
Thank goodness for the enthusiasts of these crafts, or they might soon be lost to us in this era of synthetic fibers and producing cloth in the most efficient, inexpensive way possible. There are members of Farm Stay U.S. that offer activities like quilting classes (not to mention - as guests - being able to cuddle up under the handmade quilts often present in the accommodations!); spinning and weaving classes; knitting retreats; dyeing; and even helping with sheep shearing.
And the animals that produce all this glorious fiber... visit with happy sheep, alpacas, llamas, goats, and even bison!
This is truly a gift of warmth. Check out these Farm Stay U.S. members that offer quilting, fiber related activities, and weaving.
It's the baking that has brought me here. Baking, using fresh
eggs from local farms, has me contemplating all of the gifts our
farm, ranch, and vineyard members have to offer us. I thought I'd
highlight a few things to be thankful for as we race towards
December 25th... one each day, so tune in again tomorrow!
Day 8 - Sleigh Rides
Dashing through the snow...
How many of us don't really have snow? Let alone sleighs, and
horses to pull them? The idea of sleigh rides bring thoughts of
snuggling up in warm clothes, hugging someone close, and listening
to the jingle of bells, all while being pulled swiftly along a
picturesque lane or over fields. And if I can get my hands on some
hot chocolate at the end of the ride... all the better!
This is the gift of cold noses. And giggling.
out these Farm Stay U.S. members that offer sleigh rides.
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