Friday was my last day at Peacemeal Farm. I started working there within two months of moving back to Maine, when I still believed that I wanted to “be a farmer”, and left less than a week before my first day as a high school English teacher. In total, I spent 21 months working there. With the exception of Wyatt, all of the people I care about in Maine came into my life because of the farm. Three Ladies I couldn’t do without – Molly, Abby and Christa – and three farm crews, each containing a few true gems. Human Gems: Hailie, Debs, Dave, Pat, Farlin, Myer, Greta, Eliza, Mike, Lucas, Rick, Hannah, Pudge, Paige, Lauren. Animal gems: Clover, Ellie, Jasmine, the cats and the chickens. And the farm family, of course: Mark, Marcia, Camella and Anna.
I guess I feel like I needed to say all of their names. Closure? Maybe. Continue reading
My friend Randall Martin is a brilliant and talented individual. He’s attended countless Tuesday dinners, always beer in hand. He’s thrown good parties and done endless good works for Beacon. Most importantly, however (or at least most relevant to this bit of writing), he designed my logo. By day, and often by night, Randall is a graphic designer.
Over some Tuesday dinner last year I jokingly asked what he would do if he had to graphically represent Anne Dailey. Continue reading
It’s hard to believe that my time at the farm is almost over. When I arrived, 7 weeks stretched out in front of me, seemingly forever. Now Hugh, Hanna, Christopher and Emma will be back in less than a week, and I’ll be on to the next step on this exciting, crazy journey of figuring out my life. Next stop: Maine. I’m ready to move on, I think. It’s been blissfully easy to slip into the daily routines of the farm, but the truth is that they’re not my routines and it’s not my farm. It’s time to begin making my own routines, in my own home. I’m tired of moving around, of having my pots and pans and books scattered in boxes in five different places. Specifically where I’ll settle, I don’t yet know… but I’m looking forward to it. Continue reading
*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.
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.
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
Last Sunday I was 28. I had another blog (one that, admittedly, I’d not written for since February), and I’d never had garlic poached in bacon fat. Today I’m 29, I’ve started a new blog (this one), and on Thursday I gently poached 15 biodynamically grown garlic cloves in rich, savory bacon fat from a pastured pig.
I hope that the garlic (which, incidentally, was smeared on toast and then drizzled with the garlic infused fat) propels me into my 29th year with renewed enthusiasm and vigor for sharing my thoughts, experiences, hopes and meals via this humble little bloggit. I struggle sometimes to understand why anyone would want to read about the simple happenings of my life, but my friends assure me that they do, so I’ll give it another go. Here’s hoping that my next post appears before my 30th birthday. Continue reading