Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The First day of Autumn: a Celebration

 It all started with a letter from Megan, a dear friend of mine, mentioning the fact that she would like to host a fall farm girl party with us sometime in the future.  Beyond that her ideas were sketchy and vague, and she asked for my input. The basic idea intrigued me and after talking the thought over with Faith, I wrote Megan back with myriads of suggestion and plans.  Days of planning and pages filled with all sorts of diagrams and lists past, and finally I found myself sitting down with Megan making up the invitations to our "Fall Farm Girl Party and Harvest Dinner Preparation."  The date was to be September 23rd, a whole two weeks before our original tentative date, but the 23rd was the first day of Autumn.  What could be better!?!
We sent our invitations out with high hopes, and to our delight received affirmative RSVP from all the families!  The agenda was to have the older girls of the family come at 10:00.  The morning would be filled with crafts games and luncheon, and then when noon had passed we would dive into creating a Harvest dinner fit for royalty to serve our families who would arrive by 6:00. 
Friday morning dawned cloudy and drizzly.  Megan, Faith and I ran around cleaning setting up and decorating.  The girls arrived on time, and were directed down stairs, since it was not the most amiable outside.  But as with all things, God knew best, and it turned out even better the way it was.
Our first activity was making sachets.  Various spices were spread around the table in all of our prettiest bowls, and circles of fabric, in a rainbow of colors were arranged down the middle. 
The girls chose whether to make an eye satisfying potpourri, a nose pleasing simmer, or a refreshing Lavender sachet for their closets.
Once they had picked out their spices and sewn up the bags, they made tags for their little sachets, some with a creative title, others with a list of the spices enclosed.
When all the girls had made a couple of bags each, we moved on to our next activity.  A butter making contest!!  We split into teams of two, and each team received a pint jar with a cup of cream in it.  Faith was the official time mistress.  One of the girls on the team would shake for one minute before passing it to their teammate etc. 
We were all rather sore by the time the butter formed, but though exhausted we all had a lot of fun, and now we had fresh butter to serve with dinner!
After sending the butter upstairs to be washed, we gathered the girls together to practice a song that we wanted all of us to sing for the families that evening.  It was a beautiful yet simple two part song called "The LORD is my Shepherd" (not any of the original tunes) and the girls all learned it easily, and sounded lovely and melodious.
Luncheon was served promptly, and was composed of, ham and cheese pinwheel sandwiches, stuffed cherry tomatoes, (there were three different fillings for the tomatoes: herb cream cheese, tuna fish and relish, and mozzarella cheese and basil drenched with garlic flavored olive oil), stuffed eggs, grapes and tea.  It was an enjoyable time of food and fellowship, and when concluded we all trooped upstairs to clean up and then dove into the creating of the dinner for the families.
Our first task was to go pick the squash and pumpkins required for the meal.  It was a bit drizzly and moist, but we put on our boots (or took off our shoes:) and marched out back to the squash patch.  After collecting the desired vegetables, we turned our faces homeward to the kitchen were we would dispose of our spoils.
Upon reaching the domestic domain, we divided into three groups, Faith, Megan and I each heading a group.  Faith's group quickly became engrossed in pie making.  Three pumpkin, two apple, and one green tomato mince, were on the docket, to be finished and out of the oven by 5:00!
Meanwhile, after peeling and chopping all the squash, Megan and my groups got up to our elbows in bread dough!
Megan's "girls" turned out two decadent garlic herb bubble breads, and together with my partners I created two farm house loaves.
As the time for the families arrival slowly ticked closer, our well organized groups, dissipated and it became a "help out with whatever seems most important at the time" mentality.  Some of the girls set to work slicing apples for the apple n' onions while others helped set up in the garage since it was still raining outside and didn't look as if it had any thought of stopping.
Though pies were the main desserts, we all knew that there were some people who would not be extremely pleased if some sort of chocolate dish did not show its face on the dessert table.  So Megan made some Brownies, Charity frosted it with chocolate mint topping, then Megan and I declared it Autumnal by sprinkling colorful leaf candies over the top.

6:00 had arrived.  The Dining room table was loaded with things "good to eat" which now had to be moved from their present resting spot, to the tables set up for their occupation in the garage.  The girls flurried like moths, from the kitchen to the garage and back again.  Carrying dishes, serving utensils, plates, silverware, and other sundry items.
Once all the dishes had made their way to their designated posts, Dad instructed the gathered families to find their seats, and then all of the hardworking young ladies filed out and gathered to sing "The Lord is my Shepherd."  I highly regret that I have neither video or pictures of the song.  God knew what He was about (as always) when he forced us to relocate to the garage; our blended voices resonated around the enclosed area, lending beauty to our humble praise.

When our song had concluded Dad lent thanksgiving for the food, and then dismissed the crowds by table to "dig in"!!  The evening was a distinct success!  All of the young ladies deserved three extra helpings of thanks for how persevering and willing they were in washing dishes, and keeping the kitchen clean in general, throughout the event and especially after the dinner.  Can anyone say 40 some large plates, plus silverware!!?  Thank you to all who came and participated in this First day of Autumn celebration.  Who knows, maybe we'll make it annual!:)


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