Monthly Archives: December 2009


*written December 10
The first installment of my homesteading books came in at the library today – no Copperthwaite yet, but I did get Keeping a Family Cow by Joann Grohman.  The edition I’ve got is 2003 – I’m not sure what the most recent edition is, but the first was in 1975, under the title “The Cow Economy”.  It’s a beautiful piece of work so far, though I’m only about 30 pages in.  One sentence in particular has stuck with me: “Good health isn’t something left over after you eliminate all the risks.”

I’m not sure anyone has ever summed up my philosophies on food so succinctly.  If you eliminate all the risks in life, love or food, you’re left with something bland, tasteless and boring. I prefer a bit of chance and excitement and flavor. Give me un-pastuerized milk that tastes like something and let me decide for myself if it’s safe.  Give me meat from an animal that died a respectful death on the farm on which it was raised, and let me decide if I think it could be contaminated.  Give me unsprayed apples that might not look perfect and sourdough bread that might not rise just right each time you bake. I’ll take variety and spice over plastic-wrapped uniformity and bland security any day.
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snow + sweaters

The first snow is falling outside the window and my first sweater is coming along on my needles. Two days ago I finished my first pair of socks – only a year in the knitting. This was my 6th morning of milking Miss Fluckli.  She really is a sweet cow, but being positioned between two cows higher up n the rankings than she, she does a lot of shuffling about and avoiding their horns while I’m milking.  Other than that little dance, I think I’m actually beginning to get the hang of it.

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60 pheasants and a cow

For the next 7 weeks I’ll be installed at Threshold Farm, a small biodynamic orchard and diversified farm about 2 hours north of New York City.  The farmers, Hugh & Hanna, are in Australia, after an intense and productive season.


I’m watching the two dogs and keeping a big fire burning in the stove, and occasionally packing apples and helping their worker Jon with farm chores.  My intent during this stay is to create some routine in my life, and to find a sense of groundedness and calm after a season of delicious chaos and far to much time in the car. Farming is all about routines – feeding, milking, plowing, picking – and I think I need this quite desperately. Continue reading