Autumn on the Farm

So when I’m not writing beautiful stories like the one that released TWO DAYS AGO!!!! … I’m working on a pumpkin farm in Western New York, and in case you haven’t noticed the date, well… it’s October. Which means life on the pumpkin farm is crazy busy and crazy fun!

Hi, I’m Ruthy and this isn’t exactly a Western-themed post because right now I’m working in pumpkins and cookies and jams and mums…. as denoted in the pictures! And I just released the second book of the “Wishing Bridge” series “At Home in Wishing Bridge”…

Thea never expected to be in a small town like Wishing Bridge… much less love it.

This is what happens when you cross genres and don’t stay firmly tucked in one thing or another… you mess up everything by writing an amazingly good story about a woman who’s come the distance to be the person she is… and needs to go farther to be the person God wants her to be. It’s a story of sacrifice, doors opening wide and shutting tight, of God’s perfect timing and the chance to break out of the walls we tend to build for ourselves.

You’ve probably guessed that September and October are busy times on the farm! We all run from morning til night and I sneak downstairs to write around 3:30 AM each day… This week I heard Great Horned Owls staking their territory so that other boy owls will know to stay away… and one female owl joining in, her slight lilt offering a different kind of song, one that you know will appear in a book someday. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

Jams! We make a selection of them and by “we” I mean “me!”

We sell homemade jams during the busy fall season, a fun thing that will appear in a book, too. There’s nothing like the sweet syrupy scent of Triple Berry or Strawberry jam filling the kitchen with steam, and it’s much nicer at 65 degrees than it was at 90 degrees!

 

I’m taking some of this expertise and fun and applying it to a couple of upcoming books set in the PNW. The Pacific Northwest is different from Western New York in some ways, but we’re both big apple-growing regions and the similarity in farmland is notable. So I can take some of my information from here in the Northeast Woodlands and apply it there in the rich valleys between the rise and fall of the Cascade mountains. These are a few of the mums I grew this year… I grew 1600 chrysanthemums and they had to be hand-watered and fed daily…. who knew it was going to be one of the hottest summers on record??? ๐Ÿ™‚ Watering 1600 mums by hand is a real workout, my friends! No gym needed this summer, LOL!

While I’m writing I specialize in redemption and romance, two wonderful things!

Look at these pumpkins! All delicious heirloom or heirloom-cross squashes that make the best pies, cakes, soups… you name it!

On the farm I specialize in gorgeous colorful pumpkins. We grow Silver Moons, Jarrahdales, Long Island Cheese, Blue Doll, Porcelain Doll, Indian Doll, Speckled Hound, Cinderella, Fairytale, Rouge d’Vif, White Boer Ford, and Sunshines, a huge collection of delicious squashes that we can use for decorating the porch and yard to celebrate harvest… and then we eat them!

Blue Jarrahdale pumpkins developed in Australia… voted the best by Ruthy standards!

You’ve never had a better pumpkin than a Jarrahdale (brought here from cowboys down under, an Australian pumpkin cross) or Marina Di Choggia, an Italian delicacy squash with rich, robust flavor or the French heirloom pumpkins (think Cinderella’s coach) “Fairytale, Cinderellas and Rouge d’Vif”…. Bright green or scarlet or coral/orange, fun flattish pumpkins ideal for stacking.

When I’m writing a story I want the characters to be real. I want my readers to love them, to mourn with them, to feel their joys and their sufferings. To weep as we weep for one another and to laugh when things go well!

The same goes for the farm and using my knowledge of these things for setting or plot. Nothing is wasted when an author can use the knowledge he or she has achieved from real life and applies it to a book/story. I love doing that because I know that when that reader who grows apples or pumpkins out west reads the story, they’ll know I know my stuff… when a young mother reads a passage about kids, she’ll know I’m dealing with kids all the time. And when an older person reads about loss and time passing, they feel like I know them personally.

Taking the bits and pieces of real life and using them in stories adds a layer of depth to the story that might not be there without that hands-on experience. Sure, I study and research things I don’t do or haven’t done… but I mix in some of the actual experiences along with it. Depth in reality… and realism in story-telling.

I’ve always found that the compelling stories and backgrounds of the hero and heroine are the main dish of the book… but the setting, the research, the plot, the people, the animals, the jobs… those are the other dishes on that Thanksgiving table! Sure, it’s still Thanksgiving with just a turkey and stuffing… but when you add in the layers of side dishes, fresh rolls, desserts and good robust coffee and eggnog and punch…

Well now you’ve got a story, my friends!

Hey, I’ve got one copy of “At Home in Wishing Bridge” to give away today! If you haven’t read book one “Welcome to Wishing Bridge”, that’s all right… they’re stand alone stories and you’ll be fine, I promise. But I expect you’re going to like both stories, the stories of three teens who bonded together to survive some really rough childhoods… and who meet together twelve years later when one sends out an SOS and the others come running to help… and then just maybe they realize that Wishing Bridge, NY might be the home sweet home they’ve been dreaming of all along.

Leave a comment below about anything you love…. and I’ll put your name in the mum pot!

 

 

 

 

Ruth Logan Herne
Multi-published, bestselling, award-winning author Ruth Logan Herne lives on a small farm in Western New York surrounded by grown kids, cute grandkids, cats, dogs, chickens, frogs, toads and snakes. That's why writing Westerns doesn't scare her. Not one smidge. Because she's surrounded by critters of all sorts, and has been known to teach lessons on snakes as available... She started writing Westerns by accident/invitation, and L-O-V-E-D it... matched with her love for both historicals and contemporaries, Ruthy's working on a new Western series for Love Inspired, New England mysteries for Guideposts and her historical Westerns for the indie market in 2018. She loves God, her family, her country and absolutely, positively loves what she does!
Updated: October 2, 2018 — 2:40 pm

42 Comments

  1. Amazing post. I want to run out and get some squash and pumpkins and other things. I love Fall for giving us all these things.

    1. I love it, too! It’s like one of my favorite verses from the Bible “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven…”

      It’s such a time of bounty and color!

  2. Hi Ruth, I never knew there were so many different pumpkins. That’s amazing to me. To be a farmer. to me shows a work ethic and dedication that’s rare thing today. Thank you for posting I haven’t read book 1 but I will along with the second.

    1. Carol, I hope you love them both! I have enjoyed people’s reactions to them, what a joy to make people happy when they read… with a few tears, too.

      Tears are therapeutic!

  3. It seems over the last few years, I have been seeing lots of different kinds of pumpkins. I never knew there were so many different kinds. I enjoyed learning what they are. And hand watering all those mums. I sure don’t envy you there. It sounds like a lot of hard work.

    1. I called it my farm fitness program, Janine! Didn’t have to join a gym…. #truth

      1. I can see how it would be a good workout.

  4. I love everything about Fall. Cooler weather, changing colors of the leaves, putting the garden to bed, my favorite—pumpkin pie.

    1. I love pumpkin pie! LOVE IT! And pretty much any kind of pie, I am a pie person.

  5. I love seeing all the fall decorations out different pumpkins cooler weather changing leaves. Its a beautiful time of the year.

    1. I am in full agreement! It makes the whole world look bountiful, doesn’t it? And then I think of what one soldier said coming back from a tour in Iraq…

      “The color hurt my eyes at first. After so much time of beige and brown I came back and everything was rich greens and golds and orange and it hurt my eyes.”

      Can’t you just see that? The difference in little color and the blessings of America, rich in water and vegetation.

      We are so blessed.

  6. Thank you for sharing your wonderful post. I love everything fall and especially pumpkins. Crispness in the air, colorful leaves….Oh how I love fall!!!

    1. Me, too! And because it’s our business we get to surround ourselves with decorations… our whole yard is our “sale area” so that it’s filled with displays and pumpkins and ideas… and I have a few idea gardens and two porches so folks can see how things would look at their house.

      And I’m not the clever designer of the creative side. That’s my daughter-in-law Lacey and her mom Becky…. and my friend Christina. They put their heads together and come up with gorgeous things and fun looks… like hanging a metal mattress base from an old baby crib from a tree and using S hooks to hang Indian corn bundles from it…

      I would never think of this stuff!

  7. Cooler weather would be nice. North Central Texas is still waiting for it.
    I like the smell of the Fall with all the spices. Pumpkin anything and everything brightens my day.

    1. Yes!!! Pumpkin spice should be a perfume!!!! With cool breezes!!!!

      Jerri, when does fall arrive in North Central Texas? (by the way, that’s about the size of three normal states, darling…)

  8. I love the Thanksgiving analogy!
    Fall is in full swing here in New England and I am loving the pumpkins, the mums and the COLOR! We have a semi-famous mountain view drive in NH, the Kancamagus Highway, and I’ve incorporated it into the two-so-far books in my Hilltop series.
    My husband and I took off yesterday and went to the mountains. They were stunning.
    Looking forward to cooking with pumpkin, although probably not your varieties. I’m lazy now, I open a can.
    The other big flavors in New England are apple, maple and aged cheddar cheese. I’m trying to conceptualize a pie or something that features all four.
    Kathy Bailey
    Good to hear from you Ruth!

    1. Kathy, I have a recipe that adds grated cheddar cheese to the crust of an Apple pie. You could use maple sugar or syrup for the sweetner and you would have all of the flavors. Maybe I’ll try it with some of our Washington apples. I do have to look in the grocery store for the pure maple syrup.

    2. Hey, did you ever try pan-frying apples and pumpkin in a light base of olive oil? Think of it as grilled apples and squash, then glaze them with a light drizzle of maple syrup and serve the sharp cheddar on the side. Pan frying them together is so stinkin’ good, Kathy!

  9. I love anything pumpkin especially pumpkin spice coffee I finally found some yesterday we live in a small town so our Walmart is slow sometimes to get seasonal things. Have a Blessed Day!!!

    1. Glenda, thank you! You, too! I can smell the pumpkin spice now!!!

  10. Wow, I’m tired just reading all that! What a busy fall season you have. I adore the pumpkins and mums that come around this time of year. I always look forward to thanksgiving and what good food and family that comes with it!

    1. Susan, it is crazy busy but also so much fun… and I love the people, I’m a people person. But I LOVE WHEN WINTER COMES AROUND and I can breathe again… of course then I gain weight, but a girl can only control so much, Susan!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Your beautiful post today was inspiring and captivating. Your area has such wonderful crops. The apples, pumpkins and jams remind me of my former life in Ontario where the variety of apples were great for baking and cooking. What a talented women you are.

    1. Anne, what part of Ontario were you in? That’s right across the big pond from me! I love living in apple country, although as I was doing research on a new series, the numbers of apples that come out of Washington state now DWARF us!!!! But we love our apples, peaches, cherries and plums. Such a great place for growing things, we have gorgeous rich top soil, and it’s 8-12 inches deep…. so it’s happy dirt!!!

  12. Your life is bountiful and fortunate. To be surrounded by the natural environment and enjoy the fruits of your labor is fabulous. I have seen orchards and picked apples and to me that is an experience that I will never forget. Every fall we drove to the apple farm. I miss those days.

    1. Pearl, I absolutely agree. I love being in the country, working with people and produce and the beauty of fall harvest. And our place makes people happy. They love seeing all the colors and shapes and hearing about squashes and all that fun stuff. (and even if they don’t want to hear about it they are very polite and don’t shush me!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. What a busy and productive life you lead. I envy you. So much that so worthwhile and living where you do. The fruits, veggies and jams are so enticing. I love Fall so much.

    1. April, I kind of thrive on it. I blame God… he put a frenetic person in New York and you know how we New Yorkers are!!! Bossy Yankees! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Where do you live? So much of our country doesn’t get “fall” like we do, and I forget that until I travel and see the difference. Thanks for being here today!

  14. Wow, did not realize there were so many different pumpkins out there…

    1. Colleen, so many of these are either from heirloom pumpkins or international crosses… and they’re wonderful. Says Ruthy who loves squash and pumpkin anything…. for realsies.

  15. Informative post

    1. Hey, anonymous, glad you stopped by!

  16. So many beautiful pumpkins and squash. So many good things to make with them, and such a wonderful smell while they bake.

    1. Aren’t they beautiful???? And yes, a bounty of food, Alice!!!

  17. Love looking at all over your different pumpkins. There’s a farmhouse stand nearby which has a lot of those varieties, and that’s where we go. It’s more of a permanent, year-round farm store.

    1. Denise, a part of me would love a year-round store, or at least 8 months… winter is quiet here….

      But building it would cost so much money and we keep weighing that up. At our age it might not be the smartest move…. But it’s still under consideration.

  18. Pumpkin pie.

  19. Who knew there was so many different Squash I’m more a Squash person than a pumpkin person.

  20. Kim, one of the things I’ve noticed is that internationally they might go by either name… squash or pumpkins. And they’re all fine with it.

    So several of these are more like a Butternut squash texture and some are like a buttercup squash texture, so there are variations among the squashes… but of the ones I’ve played with, they make really good pies!!!

  21. Happy Fall, Ruthy! Thank you for the fun post! Your photos are beautiful!

  22. Real experience with aspects of a story as well as the location add so much more to the quality and feel of the book. You certainly have had your hands full this year. “Working the land” to any degree sounds much more romantic and fun than it often is. The rewards of the harvest are well worth it, for those who grow and those who purchase and appreciate. I will have to look for some of these new to me varieties of squash and pumpkin. Personally, winter squash and apples are the best part of the Fall bounty. We have decorated with squash, corn, and pumpkin several times, but have been too busy to do much lately. The best part is eating them afterwards.
    Thank you for an interesting post. We will be heading to Northern N.Y. for a family wedding in the near future. I am spreading planning on filling at least part of the car with boxes of McIntosh apples to bring home for families and friends. I will be looking for some of those squash varieties, also.

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