Summer News

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Corn and Pumpkins and Apples

The farm summer routines are proceeding at their calming, seasonal pace — the corn is coming up, the berries are fattening, the pears and apples are so heavy on the trees we’re propping up the branches. As I write this, a family is arrayed out in the strawberry field, filling their baskets. Our annual re-seeding of the lawn near Colonial Chesterfield, so as to repair the trample of ten thousand students’ feet, is just now beginning, with the healing arsenal on the sidelines of the village green– tiller, big bags of grass seed, steer manure, rollers. 

We’re bringing more and more land under cultivation every year, and if you visit us soon, you can see green rows of crops from east to west and north to south. It’s a marvelous combination — hard work, clean mountain water, little green sprouts, and the attending, creative hand of the Almighty. How anyone can see a farm, or a well tended vineyard, in the middle of summer and question the existence of God is beyond me.

I’ve been blessed to have one of my dreams come true. Many of my children, and the farm’s long term employees want to make this place their career, so I also have a burden to find ways of making it all grow. That reality has taken me away from the farm journal a bit — trying to launch our digital television show, “Courage, New Hampshire.”

Courage, New Hampshire

It takes, in truth, almost too much of my energy, and I’ve pushed myself and our staff to the brink. To be certain, we get a good rest now and then, and I’m a big believer in regular celebration and thanks, but it’s a very difficult push.

Everything we’ve ever tried here on the farm, in the way of new ventures, has been the same way. When we first began the Revolutionary War Adventure, my wife, Mary, spent weeks sewing expensive redcoats for the living historians, and we thought were going to go broke. Eventually, it paid off. For years, we couldn’t seem to break into the wedding business, but eventually, after sprucing up our grounds, and dedicating someone to the task, almost all of our Saturdays from spring to fall are taken. 

The farm’s stupendous scenic beauty, its architecture, its people, and Mary John’s consummate wardrobe skills, not to mention my own life-long interest in telling the American story, have all combined to push us in this direction. We pray for God’s help, and your patience, as we try to keep all these good people employed.

And, of course, you can help by watching the show and telling others about it. (It’s a new age of technology, by the way, you can do it right here for $1.95, right on your computer screen!)

About Jim Riley

James Riley is the owner/operator of Riley's Farm in Oak Glen, California and a senior partner in Colony Bay Productions. The father of six children, Riley performs "Patrick Henry" and supervises a living history program visited by hundreds of thousands of school children. He holds a degree in history from Stanford University.
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