Leaving the Farm

SUBHEAD: The more you stay at you home farm, the harder it is to leave. Image above: Coming back to the Farm. Cover of Saturday Evening Post 11/26/55. From (http://kindigrifles.com/post_article.html) By Sharon Astyk on 5 May 2010 in SharonAstyk.com - (http://sharonastyk.com/2010/05/05/independence-days-update-leaving-the-farm) One of the problems of farming is that it does make it hard to leave. I don’t mean the difficulty of getting animal care – we are fortunate enough to have a wonderful 14 year old neighbor, who does a terrific job of animal care – and his equally terrific mother who brings him over and supervises. We’ve also got other friends willing to house-sit – so we’re lucky. The big problem is not arranging animal care, but dealing with the psychological difficulty of my own desire to keep hands on the tiller all the time – the fact that even though we have wonderful caretakers, they aren’t me. It is control freakiness, of course, but also the fact that much of the knowledge of what our plants and animals need is simply too complicated to convey. Even though I know our caretakers will water the plants, I worry about a sudden freeze, about over and under watering. I know they have milked the goats well for years, but I worry will they recognize signs of illness, if any. I worry the ducks won’t come back for them and will be eaten by predators. I just worry. And there’s some reason for that – we came back last night to find a power outage, a missing cat, the ducks refusing to come in and that dogs had dug up some plantings. These things could have happened when we were home, of course, and none of them was serious – the cat returned this morning, the ducks are still happily floating on the creek – but some part of me believes that they won’t happen if it is just me. Moreover, it isn’t just worry – the more we live in our home – eat from our home, heat from our home, live wholly here, the less I want to go away. I left to see family, excited about the trip, but was reluctant as well- the first serious gardening weekend of May, perfect weather, and I’m leaving my dirt??!!? Are you kidding? But it was a lovely trip, filled with family and friends which are at least as important as the rest. We had a great time, and if we’re glad to be back, it is because we took the risk and went away. It was a low key week, because of five days away, but I did a bit of planting. But now, the deluge. We are getting ready for kidding (we think maybe Bast is pregnant after all, but it is hard to tell, and who knows, Jessie always looks pregnant), hitting high planting season and preparing for our next apprentice weekend – a bunch of families are coming to the farm. (On that subject, btw, I’m looking for someone who is good with kids and has some experience teaching, as a camp counselor or other kid activities do a couple of hours of child activities on the farm each day of Memorial Day Weekend at my house (with parents around to help and supervise, it wouldn’t be solo). In exchange you get free room and board and to be part of goat milking lessons, gardening and a whole host of farm learning – and to hang out with a great group of people at my house. Email at jewishfarmer@gmail.com if you are interested.) There’s a lot to do now, and after a long period of “ok, too cold, too wet, too much snow, too not here, too busy too…oh, crap it all needs doing right now!) So there’s that. But hey – that’s farm life. And I’m home! Plant something: Squash (in paper pots), second crop of peas, carrots, beets, beans. Harvest something: Milk, eggs, sorrel, nettles, lettuce and bok choy thinnings, pea shoots. Preserve something: Dried some raspberry leaves Waste Not: Hauled some stuff that would have gone bad in our fridge to Boston to share. Lose points, however, for the fact that Eric left one of the bags on the counter to rot ;-) . Otherwise, the usual. Want Not: Took advantage of the fact that all nurseries are having sales right now to order some more fruit trees and bushes. Eat the food: Lots of asparagus and rhubarb, but we’re not doing much fancy with it – we’re just so happy it is here. Develop local food systems – talked to 80ish people who want to have chickens at my Mom’s house, and encouraged them. How about you? .

1 comment :

Olive Branch GBS said...

thanks for the story. I really enjoyed it. Lisa

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