Saturday, June 19, 2010

Never a dull moment at the McClosky Farm

Essie McClosky is a spunky gal with a zest for living – and mischief-making. Me? I’m always up for adventure and fun. Put us together and watch out! We have a well-deserved reputation to live up to.

Today is Day Three on the McClosky Farm in Jamestown, Pennsylvania – and the two of us are having a blast. Richard, a quiet hard-working farmer with a continuous twinkle in his eyes, is tolerant even though I think he suspects - or simply knows that we are probably up to something.

The picturesque McClosky Farm is a charmer. The minute Bucky, Cat, Jeremiah and I turned in the driveway, I knew the long drive to get here (2,860 miles) was worth every mile. There are tall, tall trees in the yard, lots of mowed lawn, flower beds bursting with colorful blooms, a stately tall farm house, barns and sheds, and a large pond that is stocked with fish. Oh yes, add the acres of farmland that keep Richard (aka Cuke Dude) busy dawn to dusk growing all sorts of vegetables, strawberries and blueberries on 170 acres. (Don't forget to double-click photos to make them easier to see.)

If you don’t know it, farmers are at the mercy of the weather. Too hot, too cold, too much rain, not enough rain, etc. This past week it was too much rain and hail – resulting in a ruined strawberry crop and many disappointed people who came expecting to buy some.

The greeting committee

As I drove Hwy 58 toward Jamestown and the road that would take me to the farm, I missed the turn. Since I had a few cars behind me, I could not back up. Another narrow two-lane road; where could I turn around? I did find a small place where I could at least pull onto the shoulder and check my map. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a red ATV pull off opposite me. I looked up and low-and-behold it was Gary Kidwell (another Cave Creek Park volunteer). He gave me directions, saying that the next road would get me to the farm.

As I drove into the farm driveway, there didn’t seem to be anyone around. But I did see the farm’s “livestock” – three kittens, a passel of baby Mallard ducks and Katie the dog. Then Richard arrived on a tractor. Essie was with her mother and would be home shortly.

Camera in hand I explored the expansive yard, stopping to get close looks at the flowers and to enjoy the kittens’ antics.

Jeremiah settled in alongside the farm market; I will be here more than a week.

The Great Fathers’ Day Plan

Essie had already asked Richard what he would like from her – his response was “More potatoes!” Well, what a splendid idea. Essie and I are thinking of serving plenty of potatoes dishes on Sunday!

That was settled, but our playful, scheming brains did not – or more accurately could not – stop. Especially after Essie told me about a ‘Chicken Yard Sale’ in a nearby town. The newspaper ad said, “small farm animals, farm implements, yard sale items, plants and baked goods.” (This is Amish country.)

Hmmm! Small farm animals – perhaps we could get something and name it Tater. Picture Essie and me with devilish grins.

The Chicken Yard Sale

There WERE small farm animals offered by a variety of vendors – ducks, geese, rabbits, chickens, bay peacocks, sheep and goats. I’ll let photos tell the story.

Hmmm, what about a baby goat? No, it would eat the flowers.

Or, what about a chicken? “Richard loves to hear roosters crow,” Essie offered.

So, chicken it was – not just one, but three roosters! So much for one animal named Tater. We decided the roosters’ names would be “Po”, “Ta” and “Toe.” And she would explain to Richard, “Well, you wanted more potatoes!”

We giggled all the way back to the farm, stopping briefly at a “moving sale” where Essie paid $2 for a genuine rabbit fur jacket and I paid $4 for a Wilson black leather jacket.

Then we plotted how we were going to hide the roosters until morning (Fathers’ Day), hoping that Richard would be out in the fields. He wasn’t in the field, but he was engrossed in repairing an implement that would allow him to cut the weeds and grass around the pond. We rounded up three cages, took them and the roosters out into the pine “forest” not too far from the house. In a day or two, the roosters will join the ducks, kittens and dog to roam the farm at will.

Well, come evening, Essie could not keep the secret any longer. So, the three of us went to the hiding place.

Note: Richard says one if our “roosters” is a “hen”! Stay tuned.

The adventure continues!