Happy Holidays from Square Peg Farm!

christmas_ farmThanks so much for following along all year long. We appreciate every click, comment and “like” we receive. Mostly we keep this blog as a sort of journal for ourselves so that we can look back over projects that have succeeded, and those that have failed, and make plans for future projects. Its been such a fun surprise to find that we have “followers” and regular readers. Its really neat knowing that when we learn something new on the farm there are other people out there learning through us. Hopefully we can help prevent you from making some of the mistakes we have made, or at least let you know what you are getting yourself into!

 

From our family to yours we hope you have a Happy Holiday and a Wonderful New Year!

Getting into the Holiday Spirit

entryEver since we moved to Kentucky, 7 hours away from family, in December we struggle to get into the holiday spirit. All of our old traditions had meaning because they were shared with our family and the communities we grew up in. Thankfully our parents and my brother will be traveling to spend time with us right after Christmas so we are looking forward to that, but we are still left not sure quite what to do in the meantime! Little by little each year we are creating new traditions and ways of celebrating either by ourselves or with our new Kentucky friends.

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Tonight, our friend Alicia came over to bake Christmas cookies, listen to Christmas music, and decorate the house (or at least get the decorating started!).

DSC_0222We made two types of cookies, ginger cookies (Chris’s request) and cream cheese sugar cookies in the shapes of farm animals! Alicia and I did most of the baking and Chris made us festive Christmas themed cocktails with sprinkles around the rim!

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We got a good start on the decorating. The front entry way including the banister is done. The mantel is mostly done, it just needs a new wreath to hang in front of the mirror. Chris made the candle holder on the mantel using a stave from a bourbon barrel. I’m thrilled with how it turned out and I think that after the holidays are over I’ll swap out the red candles for something more neutral, take down the Santa and stockings and leave the rest in place until spring!

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Alicia brought her pug, Tater, and she and Avi spent the evening competing for attention and putting up with their silly humans trying to dress them in Christmas hats.

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Lovefeast Season

I received the neatest surprise package in the mail today. A few days ago I entered a drawing on the Facebook page of my alma mater, Wake Forest University and- shockingly- I won!

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You see, every year before classes let out for Christmas break Wake Forest has a Lovefeast service in the campus chapel. For a lot of Wake students, this is their first time attending the Lovefeast service and becomes cemented in their mind as a particularly “Wake Forest”-y experience and a memory that they take with them into their adult lives. For me, the Lovefeast service means a bit more. The Lovefeast service is a Moravian tradition.DSC_0056 If you haven’t spent a Christmas in North Carolina or Pennsylvania you might not have ever heard of the Moravians. If you want to hear the history of the Moravian people and Moravian Church, my dad would be a great person to talk to. But in a nutshell, the Moravians were a group of Germanic people who, led by Jon Huss, formed one of the first Protestant religious communities¬† in the 1400s (long before Luther came along). After decades of hardship and persecution the Moravians eventually found their way to the colony of Pennsylvania in 1741 and, shortly afterwards, founded a small settlement in the wilderness of North Carolina. My ancestors were among these first settlers in NC and my family has lived in (what eventually became) Winston – Salem ever since and remained part of the Moravian church. DSC_0051So- what does all of this have to do with a Christmas Lovefeast service, you ask? Well, the story goes that in the early 1700s things were looking pretty grim for the Moravians. They were living “underground” since it was illegal to be anything but Catholic in Moravia at the time. But then a wealthy but generous noble man – Count Zinzendorf- gave them refuge on his estate in eastern Germany. They were so happy to finally have a place to live and worship safely and openly that they came together for a service of worship and celebration. According to the story, they were so filled with love for each other and for God that they couldn’t tear themselves away from the service. It went on so long that they started to get hungry, so some members gathered up loaves of bread and coffee (okay, it was probably actually beer being Germany in the 18th century but as a kid I was told coffee). Then it started to get dark, so they passed around candles for light. This was the first Lovefeast.

 

The tradition has continued to this day. Lovefeast services are actually celebrated throughout the year at Moravian churches, but they are best known for the Christmas service. My family’s church always celebrates the Christmas Lovefeast on Christmas Eve, but other churches in the area – including the one on WFU’s campus- have Lovefeasts earlier in December. People from throughout the region attend the Christmas Lovefeast services, even if they don’t attend a Moravian church during the year. It has become a distinctly “Winston-Salem” experience for a lot of people and for many of us, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without the taste of rich coffee (with plenty of real cream and sugar)and soft buns of bread and the smell of beeswax candles.

 

As a child growing up in the Moravian church, Christmas Eve was the Big Day in my family and Christmas Day was just an afterthought. We basically spent all day at the church, sometimes rushing home for a big family lunch in between services, because my parents were both “deniers”. These are the people who serve the coffee, buns and candles to the congregation. Once my little brother and I were tall enough to reach the door knobs, we found a job as “door openers” — the deniers with their hands full of trays of food and candles always needed a little helper to open the doors to the sanctuary. As we grew older we were trusted with greater responsibilities and eventually became deniers ourselves.

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Now that I live in Kentucky I’m often not able to travel back to North Carolina for Christmas. Thankfully, our family is able to travel to visit us when we can’t make it back home and we are forming new holiday traditions, but Christmas isn’t quite the same without attending the Christmas Lovefeast. This year I’m looking forward to tuning into the Wake Forest live feed of the annual on-campus Lovefeast Sunday Dec 7 at 8pm. I’ll be ready with my cup of coffee, beeswax candle and even a printed program so I can sing along. Chris has promised to see what he can do with the Lovefeast Bun mix so maybe I’ll even have a bun to dip in my coffee!