Monday, August 21, 2023

Effects Of Climate Change?

In other years this would be the time of year we're wandering through the apple orchard, looking for those first ripening early season apples - Yellow Transparent , Zestar, Williams Pride or the famed Duchess of Oldenburg.

But it's not to be in 2023 for a late season freeze (21 degrees) in May dashed our hopes for a bountiful harvest.

Therefore, we won't be offering our spectacular organic apple cider this fall and there won't be a farmstand opening in the former horse barn.

Here's a report from Greg Peck (Cornell University) and Scott Ramsey (New York Cider Association), published on July 17 of this year that tells the sad story.

"For cider apple growers in New York, 2023 was set up to be a banner year. Many orchards that had been planted over the past 10 years were finally expected to be in full production... There was a tremendous bloom on cider apple trees in 2023.

Unfortunately, cold temperature returned with a vengeance on 18 May. Most region experienced temperature below freezing, with some locations getting into the mid-20s. Trees in bloom or with small fruitlets experience a range of damage from outright crop failure to varying levels of fruit loss and fruit peel damage...."

You can learn more about the frost/freeze event by visiting

And Pennsylvania DEP has gathered information about Climate Change here.

Saturday, August 19, 2023



I've been keeping my eyes on the milkweed plants that have taken root in the high tunnel, waiting for this annual event.

Larva of the Monarch Butterfly - I spotted 10 in various instar stages last week when I carried my phone with me for my morning check-in.

This morning it's kinda chilly - 49 degrees - and I'm sitting in the living room with a second cup of coffee. But I'll don the fleece soon and pull on my barn boots and visit the milkweed patch to check on the caterpillars. 

I read this article this morning to refresh my memory about the life stages of the monarch. Now I know that I won't find the chrysalis on the milkweed but will perhaps they'll be hidden nearby.

Stay tuned!

Friday, June 2, 2023

Potato Time Again

There are potatoes sending out sprouts in our garden space - at least I think they're growing. The climate-change weather pattern brought us above-normal temperatures then below-normal temperatures and now heat and lack of precipitation.

Arthur, seduced by the offerings of our favorite organic seed potato purveyors, ordered way more seed potatoes that we want or need to plant this spring. We have extras safely stored in the cellar waiting to go to someone who is looking for variety and deliciousness and wholesomeness - for they are certified organic certified seed potatoes.

Send an email ( or call the home phone (814-274-8004) if you're interested - time's a-wastin'!

Soon there will be acres and acres of potatoes growing in the fields on this old farm. As a matter of fact, my olfactory senses tell me there's some manure involved this sunny day.

Carol Metzger (Wilkerson) and
Dawn Metzger (Newton) among the
potatoes "by the sugar bush".
July 1950

and from the same roll of film,
this one says "over to Sheldon's"
See the tractor near the horizon?

Friday, April 28, 2023

Story Of Place


Through  the 46 years I've made my home in this place, spirits of those who walked these fields, those who picked up and moved rocks from these garden spaces, those who hid daffodil and crocus and tulip bulbs deep in the cooling autumn earth, those who stood on my front porch and watched the sun make a fiery ascent on a cool spring morning - those spirits walk with me - perhaps just a little closer in this spring of great change.

From author Louise Penny in her most recent Gamache novel, "World of Curiosities"

"It was the home Pierre Stone himself built. It had been in the family for generations.
Billy's parents had sold the place when it got beyond them.
Times change. You had to roll with it.
But it was impossible to roll without getting bruised."

Sunday, April 2, 2023

The Secret of NIMH

Remember those days when you went to visit Smitty at his video store in the Damascus Plaza to select videos that might appeal to the whole family?  Our kids were of the age that I could sometimes still select old favorites like Disney's Swiss Family Robinson and peruse new titles in the family-friendly section. And thus the animated re-telling ("The Secret of NIMH") of the Newberry Award winning book "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH" captured my imagination on a cold winter evening.

The movie version is described this way: "Mrs. Brisby, a widowed mouse, lives in a cinderblock with her children on a farm. She is preparing to move her family out of the field they live in as plowing time approaches but her son Timothy has fallen ill and moving him could prove fatal."

The rumble of the tractor grows closer and closer to the cinderblock, the earth quakes and the blade cuts its way through the soil. Terrified children huddle together as bits of earth rain down on their heads. And, just at the last possible second before they're tossed into oblivion, the giant earth moving equipment sputters and stops as a resourceful rodent chews through a hose.

In these early spring days, I hear the rumble of heavy equipment here and wish there might be a group of resourceful rodents at work to stop it as trees fall and the ground is ripped apart.


Monday, March 27, 2023

Metzgers Serving Leeks!

We went in search of leeks yesterday but came home empty handed. Perhaps it's a bit early to see them emerging from their forest hiding spots.

Our neighborhood Hebron Grange was reportedly the first in the Potter County area  to offer leek suppers beginning in the 1930s.  Cooked leeks served with plenty of ham and other homemade side dishes were the attraction.

From Potter Enterprise: 7 April 1949

Leek eaters, ATTENTION!


Want to attend that famous Hebron Grange Leek Supper on Crandall Hill this year?

You'll have to get up on your toes if you do.

Last year the leek-hungry public almost mobbed the good ladies of the Grange who were cooing the fragrant(?) leeks in 20-bushel lots.

This year different arrangements are being made. You leek eaters have gotta get your tickets in advance or you don't eat leeks. Only 300 will be sold.

Folks in Allegany County, McKean County and Cameron County better write to Mrs. Wanda Metzger, R.D. 2, Coudersport, if they want to fill up on the stinking liliaceous vegetable that springs up in the wild lands of Potter County in the springtime.

The dinner is scheduled for Saturday, April 23 at 6:00 p.m.

Reservations must be in not later than April 28.

Costs a buck and a half for adults and half that amount for the kids.

Get tickets in advance or you don't eat. Guess that's tellin' 'em off.

From 22 April 1954, The Potter Enterprise

Leek suppers!

The season is here. Hebron Grange, originator of leek suppers, will hold its 20th such annual event Saturday May 1.

The Grangers have dug, cleaned, cooked hundreds of bushels of the popular odoriferous spring greens.

When other organizations observed the public taste for leeks, they joined the leek supper parade and now a half dozen such events take place each year.

The newspaper;s archaic custom of identifying women by their husband's name makes it seem
these women are the property of their husbands. So for the record, (left to right):
KATHRYN Thompson, WANDA Metzger, EVA Swift, GRACE Pepperman
and THELMA Metzger.



from The Potter Enterprise, April 12, 1961:

Leek suppers –

Strange how Hebron Grange started a trend when it was a pioneer in serving leeks a number of years ago.

The idea caught on and the affair became so big that hundreds came to Crandall Hill to feast on the spring green, with plenty of other food.

The time came when each Grange family was assigned the task of hunting and digging a bushel of leeks. That was not all – he leeks had to be cleaned and washed. It was not a small task.

Now the picture has changed – Hebron Grange has resigned from the leek supper business. it is willing that others should carry on. The Grangers are too busy with other duties to dig leeks, wash them, cook and serve them.

Makes us a little sad to announce - No Hebron Grange leek supper this year.


Thursday, March 23, 2023

Sugaring Close To Home


Here's young Arthur Metzger offering his assistance as the family syrup making commenced back in the 1950s. Note the barn boots, cap and belted jacket! His mother, Wanda Gooch Metzger was the family photographer.

There's a long tradition of making sugar from maples in this neighborhood.

Potter Enterprise, April 4, 1907

We're not in the maple business but just over the hill, we enjoyed pancakes, sausage and maple syrup last weekend at Green Hill Sugar Shack.



Our neighbor, Kristin Gavin, showed up on our doorstep yesterday bearing this from their Applewood Hollow Farm. The Gavins live on the farm formerly owned by C.L. Stearns referenced above.

Destined for sourdough buckwheat
cakes coming soon!

From 1923