Summer Week #16: Wednesday, September 25th – Group B EOs
Sunday was an awesome day. The weather was perfect, and Mike and I were both riding high after such a super barn party.
Two weeks prior, you never would have thought we could have pulled off a party in there. Every square inch of the barn floor was covered with curing onions. Pallets of boxes and pallet bins full of row cover, potato cloths, and plastic covers took up the rest of the floor plan. Thanks mostly to Alexandra, Kate, and Seth, over the course of 2 weeks, all the onions were clipped and boxed. Cuttings were transported to the compost via golf cart and the floor was swept clean.
The barn made the rest of its transformation from storage area to party space on Friday. The party provides the impetus for this yearly cleaning. And it’s so satisfying! Unused tables and shelving were taken to St. Vincent’s. The pallet jack made quick work of moving all of the bins mentioned above. Then Saturday, enter the Noltner family. With the help of Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Jen, Mat, and four young nieces and nephews, tables and chairs were set up and wiped clean. Firewood stacked by the pit. Coolers armed and ready with ice and beverages. All manner of wheeled children’s toys were brought out to the driveway. Party time!
Folks began to arrive around 6:00. By 6:30 there were four long tables completely full of food. It was just about impossible to decide what to eat with so many wonderful options! I chose vegetable curry; broccoli souffle; pulled pork; apple and celeriac salad; and a delicata, kale, parmesan bake. Every single bite I ate was fantastic. Cooks tend to bring out their A game for these potlucks.
After the meal, the night began to spread out organically. In the twilight, one could watch a gang of little kids running wildly after the older kids, who were doing scooter stunts down our driveway. The old timey music floated out of the barn and down to the fire, where many folks sat on make-shift benches made from buckets and 2 x 12s.
Mike and I spent most of the evening in the barn, dancing to the No Name String Band. They were the perfect band for this event. Upbeat. Lyrically talented. Great to dance to. The barn was littered with small children, ages 1 – 5. I danced and danced with some of the coolest little people I know. Zea is a spinner. Our buddy Eullan was working on a chicken-peck dance. Edie liked trying to stomp to the beat. Doren and Oak cautiously enjoyed being held and spun around. Pavo excelled at running around and weaving between the adults’ legs. Perhaps the best part of the dancing was when Eva, a wonderful friend and long-time employee of ours, engaged the kids in some contra-style circle dancing. They loved it!
The band took a break at 8:30 – or what I like to refer to as ‘toddler midnight.’ I took the opportunity to go put Edie down to sleep. When I returned outside, it was pitch black, starry, and I could see my breath. The party had completely transformed itself. Predictably, the families with small children had all left. And just as it does every year, the party was now full of adults and their beverages. For the last set of music, the adults had the dance floor. It’s great fun to see friends, employees, and CSA members shaking it to some old time music in the barn. That’s some warm and cozy fun!
When the band finished playing, I took Zea up to bed. When I returned outside, around 10 p.m., the adults were taking their turns to do driveway stunts with scooters and sit and spins. Meanwhile, the band had joined the other party goers around the fire. There’s just something so wonderful about sitting around a fire with a tasty beverage. Your shins and toes are warm. Your back is chilled by the fall air. And your cheek muscles feel sore from all the smiling and laughing, as the jokes, stories, and quick wit waft over the flames. After a while, the flames start to settle. The conversations are specked with longer spaces, as the flames begin to draw out the sleepiness in each of us.
When the girls awoke at 6a.m., we were a little tired from staying up so late. But not as tired as you might think, because we were both so energized from such wonderful company gracing the farm the night before. Thanks to all who came! We so enjoyed and feel so blessed by your company.