Our autumn, mild as mild, has yet provided us with a new season of firsts at Fatima Farm. A handful of bitter-cold mornings, an equal handful of wonderful nights around the bonfire, a bounty of rich colors, crunching leaves beneath our feet, and woodland-smoky aromas all entice us outdoors and further into bosom-friendship with the maturing sun. Our fruit picking, with the exception of a last round of figs, is generally complete – with the pears practically transformed into later flowers for the bees, who buzz and nestle ceaselessly within the over-ripened fruit fallen thickly upon the ground. And this week, after months of diligent care and wondering, we found a single, beautiful little blue egg in the coop, oh frabjous day! We clapped and rejoiced, much as we clapped and rejoiced upon first hearing our budding chanticleer put forth a resounding cockle-doodle do. Recently we planted eight blueberry bushes, one of many childhood dreams it is such a delight for us parents to try to make a reality with our own brood. Much of our work is in preparation for harvests to come, and gladly do we put our hearts and hands to the work, novices that we are! ~ Our First Saturday gathering last weekend brought, too, a much-desired respite from the ill-tidings of the world that threaten – but happily do not wholly succeed – to encroach upon the sacred grounds of our haven. How grateful are we happy few to freely gather and pour out our hearts to Mother Mary! That day, after a morning of pouring rain, the sun broke through the clouds and family and friends joined us to roam and play, converse and pray, feast, make music, and sing. The irresistible refrain of The Ballad of Jesse James was a highlight, drawing a happy crowd of smiling faces, and it continues to be a joy here for dad and mom to hear our boys and girls spontaneously echoing the ballads of a simpler time – or at least a seemingly purer time; a kind of way in which we wish to employ our imaginations and be - as we go about our daily chores and tasks. May the Holy Virgin continue to keep us wrapped in her mantle, accepting our humble offerings, and may we continue to be inspired and committed to doing all things for the glory of her Son, Our Lord!
Soon after moving here, we endeavored to do a brave thing (for us) and took up our friend’s invitation to take a portion of the chicks she was ordering. We thought, somehow, that they would arrive in the Fall, and laid our anticipation quietly in a drawer so we could focus on other ways to settle in. Imagine our surprise when, two weeks later we received the announcement that the chicks had arrived! We scrambled – really – to contrive a proper homecoming. A pop-up mini-coop miraculously presented itself in one of our sheds, and we borrowed a lamp while waiting for a brooder, and suddenly found ourselves with a lapful of adorable and fascinating little lovely birds. The children – all of us, truly – were in love with these little creatures and the prospect of raising them. The prettiest chick, Camilla, stood out for her sparkling black eyes and bewitching expression. All of them are pretty, though, and we have delighted in watching them grow. From their first home in the garage they transferred to a homemade coop – handcrafted by the master of the house himself with the help of an adept woodworking friend, and painted by the children – in the goat pen beyond the house (we dream of goats someday), which despite the one ravenous groundhog that attempted (but failed) entry, has stood firm against potential predators and violent weather. Our Camilla developed in a roosterly fashion, however, and recently we began to suspect that she’d be Gonzo after all, but we would not make the call until she crew. On that momentous afternoon, the children raised the alarm, so to speak, and we all ran out to the field to witness the call of the ruler of the roost – and he reminds us, numerous times a day (and night) that he is in charge of his domain. We had not planned to have him, but cannot help but love the sight of his pluck and plume as he struts and harasses and makes his demands. He is a fascinating weight in our little world, and we like the way he wields his wings and talons – inspiring in us a healthy level of vigilance and care in proximity - and we are grateful to have a rooster after all.
On this little homestead our family aspires to work the land and hand on the Catholic Tradition, walking in wonder and learning to live by the fruits of our labor, in honor of Our Lady of Fatima, who guides us to Him.