|Our mountain of cider apples|
|Dan and Randy beginning|
|Alex picking through the apple pile|
|Glass hermit crab shell|
Running a little late, we hopped in the car and sped off to meet Robert at his studio, about 5 miles away. Unfortunately, at the bottom of the long hill leading to the farm, the Volkswagen started bucking and coughing, and eventually died. After about ten futile minutes of attempting to start it, we trudged the mile uphill back to the farm. Slightly worried about the car, but more worried about missing our chance to blow glass, we jumped into the farm truck and continued on our way.
When we arrived, Robert was in the middle of making his signature transparent glass hermit crab shells. He gave us a crash course in glass working (we would not actually be using the blowpipe to make our paperweights) before getting us started. Using colors left over from Robert's glass pumpkins, we dipped, pulled, twisted, melted, and shaped our one-of-a-kind works of art.
Over the next few days the fate of our car weighed heavily on our minds. What we had originally thought was a simple lack of gas was not remedied with the gas Robert lent us, so we had the car towed back to the farm. After a week of tinkering in his spare time, Randy finally realized that the gas Robert had lent us had been mixed with kerosene. As much of a pain as it was to siphon the gas tank, we were relieved it was such an inexpensive fix.
|A handblown hermit crab terrarium|
|The "glory hole"|
Jamie and Dan shared our enthusiasm for a good board game, and agreed to pick a game from Randy's stash. At the last farm, Randy had added another stack of board games to his ever-growing collection. Even while traveling he constantly scours thrift stores and yard sales for new games, and has about a dozen at any one time. Jamie chose a trivia game by Isaac Asimov, and we all had a good time learning predominantly science-based trivia from the 1970s (did you know that the only actual deaths in space were Georgy Dobrovolsky, Viktor Patsayev, and Vladislav Volkov in 1971?).
|Frying up our mushrooms|
|Making the innards outtards|
Early one morning Jamie, Dan, and ourselves were awakened to the loud clatter of dishes hitting the floor. Everyone assumed it was someone else's early-morning clumsiness. However, later in the day we noticed nut shells on the floor, and realized the noise had instead been made by a sciurine intruder. Jamie and Dan took on the task of squirrel-proofing the apartment, and making safe all future nuts.
That evening the winds began to pick up, and grew into a blustery gale. Laying warm and dry in our bed we listened as Robert went outside to check on all the animals, and were glad that our farming responsibilities do not yet include hurricane patrols at midnight. Everyone took a hurricane day on Tuesday, holing up inside as the power flickered on and off. We took advantage of this time to work on our blockprinting. We had almost been looking forward to "roughing it" if the power went out, but when it did for a few days Taft Hill's industrial-size generator kicked on immediately, so the outage wasn't even a blip in the house's daily routine. The hurricane did knock some limbs down, but all in all it wasn't that bad.
We were lucky enough to be present for Robert's honey harvest, and were able to help spin the honey out. First Robert showed us how he used a heated knife to cut the wax caps off of the honeycomb. Next the frames were loaded, four at a time, into Robert's antique honey spinner. A spout at the bottom of the honey spinner filled a large pot, and ultimately we got about three gallons of honey.
For Halloween we went over to Brian and Naz's with Dan. Our migrant farmer wardrobe limited our costume options, but at the last minute Holly came up with the brilliant idea to dress up as each other. Holly enjoyed having pockets big enough to put a book in, and by the end of the night Randy was glad to take out the itchy nose ring. As a special Halloween treat we used quince juice given to us by Vermont Quince, rum, limes, and mint to concoct delicious "quincejitos." While gathering ingredients, Holly lamented the fact that we didn't have any mint, but then she remembered that Naz and Brian live on a farm, which of course had five patches of it. Yay for farmer friends!
The next day was Randy's birthday. For his cake, Randy wanted to try a crazy cupcake-cheesecake confection. First we made both chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, then filled them with cream cheese icing, and baked them into a cheesecake. Needless to say, it was a huge hit, and we should probably patent the idea
Friday morning we left, and as a delicious send-off, Jamie made apple-cheddar scones for breakfast. Randy needed to be in New Jersey for a game design conference that night, and Holly took the bus to Boston to visit with friends while Randy got his geek on.