The Starter Farm

Alone time

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We entertain at the farm a lot.  When I am asked if people visit, I joke that we have about a 90% occupancy rate.  But when I am alone on the farm I can really concentrate on getting things done.  I usually spend some of these days without saying a word enjoying the silence and sounds of the farm.  I wake up; make a list in my head of the chores ahead and what my next meal will be. 

            Maybe I’ll shell some Fava beans, sautéed them in a little butter add a touch of cumin and shallots and call it a meal.  Those pea tendrils would love a dance around the pan with slivered garlic and a splash of white truffle oil.  I think I saw a few beets ready that I might roast tonight and add to the local goat cheese I have saved in the fridge.  I’m patiently waiting for the first tomatoes, my favorite dinner companion.  I could eat them like an apple and most days do.

            I find myself most creative alone in my travels around the farm.  A pond for ducks would look good over there and I could finally grow some water lilies and lotus.  Now where should I put that row of blueberries where it would look visually cool as well?  I dream about filling the back pasture with sheep but know I am not ready for that yet.  I start with one job and the day leads me to others.  Picking a single weed in another area of the yard other than where you started can turn into a whole other project.  I race against the daylight hoping I can finish before the light fails.   

            I find it funny how the day is usually framed by animal chores.  In the morning, the chickens are up at the crack of dawn waiting for you to open the door to the outside.  Don’t be late for you will get an earful.  You get the stare down from the horses with their mental telepathy commanding you to bring hay.  And don’t get me started on the goats.  A hungry goat is not a silent goat.   Once everyone is fed, there are stalls to be mucked, fresh bedding to be laid and water to be changed.  That cup of coffee I bring to the barn gets cold every time but still I return multiple times for a swig hoping to catch the last of its heat.  With morning animal chores over the rest of the day can begin. I grab an egg from the barn and pair it with a slice of bacon for a good breakfast.  I spend the next couple of hours tending to the crops before the sun gets too hot.  Mid days are usually spent running errands and eating a good lunch in or out.  As the sun cools it’s back out to the yard.

             Evening chores are a little easier with a light feeding and locking up of the animals for the night.  I’m still amazed how the chickens put themselves up for bed.  When we are finished, if I’m lucky, Mary Ann will have a bottle of rose chilling in a feed bucket and the crew can watch the sun set in the distance; the perfect end to a full day on the farm.  And then there’s dinner…

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