a glimpse of winter

it snowed. in october. twice.

we are still without power at the house but fortunately the farm is back up and running. nick had to drive up north to pick up a generator on saturday for the Just In Case, which turned out to be a good idea.

despite my general dislike for a new england winter that begins as early as this one will there is something so very quieting about first snowfall. we took a midnight walk on saturday to the farm. but for  a handful of nervous drivers on the roads everything was still, almost muffled.

when we reached the farm to check in on everyone and to turn the generator on we found every animal snug in their respective shelters. the chicks were under their heat lamps in the barn. the laying hens were perched. pascal was below them on an armful of hay i had schlepped out just for my duck. the pigs were belly to belly in a nest of straw in their nick-of-time-finished hut. bella was awake, but lying down in the far stall, munching on some turnips and carrots that nick had left for her.

i couldn't be less enthusiastic about the idea of starting winter a month or two early. the weather calls for sunny and high of 50s through the week and i expect nothing less for the month of november.

but i say this little glimpse of winter has me less tentative than i was for the season ahead. less embittered about cold wet hands and damp boots and drafty barns and more anxious for the quietness of winter to begin.


it snowed.

...a little dusting but more this weekend. and we weren't prepared for that. so we are working round the ol' clock to get every animal ready for winter is coming.


toothbrushes and carrot soup

life is settling in. but i'm home sick. with rudy. and several pounds of carrots from the new farm which means we are going to be subsisting on soup for the next several days. which is good because the only other thing in the fridge of any real nutritional value is egg nog.

its hard making a new home in a place that isn't your home. but things like my toothbrush with nick's. and an old blanket from susie. and my sugar bowl from new zealand. things that make home feel like home.

we made the trek safely from the berkshires to here. the animals are all ensconced on the new farm. but our originial plans for housing fell through and so we have been fortunate enough to find a friend of a friend of a sister of a neighbor of a sister to let us live in an apartment in her house for the Time Being. its just a mile from the farm. and so we are here. and the animals are there.

i've never lived away from our animals like this and it is just as hard as i had imagined. i spent all of my sleepless night pondering the physics of a coyote attacking a pig, or two pigs, or two pigs and a cow. i hate not having them sleeping just outside our window. not being able to here every stir in the barnyard. i don't know that home is truly going to feel like home until we have them right there again.

but for now they will sleep there and we will sleep here. and i will cover the house with discarded market sunflowers and bake cookies and make soups so that when we are here it feels as much like home as it possibly can.


summer's done gone.

they're predicting a Light Snow for tomorrow morning.

we slept in the tent last night. it was a cool 34 degrees but we needed the closure.

today we are on to our third farm in as many months.  today is for last minute errands for farm supplies. for collecting animals. for packing cars. for closing down the tent. for saying goodbyes. for getting everyone safely and -if possible- smoothly to the next farm. 

we need to do everything today to get ourselves moved because tomorrow the postal service will call us with a hundred baby chicks for delivery and our jobs as livestock managers of the new farm will officially begin. 

so please wish us luck as we move from the hill towns of western massachusetts to the bright light city farming outside of boston. 

and i wish you all a moderately more relaxing monday morning. 

**photos tomorrow as neither of us have any idea where our computers are and im so very over the quality of my iPhone photos.**


big picture farm

i've suppose i have sounded like worthless sop in my past week of posts. something tipped me off to this. maybe it was the mountain of concerned emails and comments and phone calls i was receiving and dramatically not responding to. 

i don't like to be a debbie downer of this internet space. i have always thought of myself as a happy woman. and i am. just going through a bit of a rough patch. as They Say.

so, i thought a more cheerful subject for this wednesday would be the ever lovely and ever smiling louisa of big picture farm. she and her husband farm up in vermont where they make goat, sheep, and cow cheeses....and goat milk caramels. which are heaven. we went to visit them last week and i haven't stopped thinking about wonderfully fit for their lives they are. they are kind. they are welcoming. they are generous. they are hardworking. and they are both undeniably talented in the worlds of confections, cheese, and art. 

go take a look at louisa and wish her well as she has been Under the Weather and that just won't do when all of her goats need her. 


wretched sweet teeth

i didn't bring my running shoes to boston. which. is really nothing new. i've spent a lifetime as the victim of regrettably poor packing. but i didn't know we intended to stay in town so long. i didn't know that i had left my back up pair of shoes on the island and not in the city. i thought we'd be doing more moving and shaking and less craigslist surfing than we are. i also expected things to go More Smoothly. we didn't get the 48 acre farm for lease that we were planning on moving into. 

always counting my little chickens before they hatch. 

and so now we will be biding time with a room in somebody's basement near the farm we'll work at. until we re-figure things out. which. is really not what i want. but i'm Putting on a Good Face. 
and i'm eating a lot of candy. which brings me back to my lack of shoes. nick's mom's apartment building shares a basement with a running store. they have a box labeled 'donation shoes'. i had a thought that i could silently borrow a pair of these used sneaks, run in them for the week, and then slouch back down to the basement before we leave to return them. but its a morally grey area. so i think i'll just leave them be. 

but i do wish i'd run instead of consume candy corn. it doesn't help the nerves. it doesn't help the belly. it certainly doesn't help my petulant child breakdown in the early afternoon. 

feeling terrifically antsy.  maybe i'll walk to cambridge tonight for a film screening. give my legs a little of what they're looking for.


i'm ready to go home.

i want to go home. i have had enough with this living out of boxes. with keeping our animals in a continuous state of flux. with not having a proper place to lay down with rose. with not having my favorite snacks, my favorite teas, my favorite chocolate milk. with not having our routine. with not having each and everyone of our animals set in their ways of the day. 
i miss the land in north carolina. 
i miss my cousins. 
i miss the jordans.
i miss fostering piglets in the back shed.
i miss our herd of goats, even though i spent countless, needless hours chasing them around the farm.
i miss the landscape of cattle behind our home.
i miss bella and rose sharing the same pasture. growing old and fat together.
i miss the light in our home from 15h to 16h30. every blessed day.
i miss walks with pigs across the farm.
i miss ineptly trying to photograph little farm beings.
i miss harvesting exclusively for dinner.
i miss the mud caked legs of my favorite run.
i miss that bed.
i miss the call & response of the turkeys.
i miss the laundry line.
i miss the counter workstation i'd write from while nick made breakfast.
i miss our summer table by the pond.
i miss my feathered and bristled coworkers.
i miss billy cat and rocco kitten. 

our billy cat died unexpectedly yesterday morning. he was hit by a car. even though we so purposefully lived away from the road. there was something so overwhelmingly destructive about his death. that unraveled nick and i as we were barely keeping it together. its been so very difficult not having rocco-kitten with us but billy's remaining presence was keeping us sane. he, rudy, nick, and i were the core four of our mottled backyard farm. we were able to keep a nominal sense of routine. of normalcy. of peace with the four of us in the tent. we love all of our animals. but we depended on billy's companionship with an intensity we've previously only reserved for rudy. and then, wednesday night, he never came home. never came back to the tent for his midnight check in. never came for his early morning breakfast the next day either. 

he was found on the road. stiff. wet. much blacker than i remembered him. his face had been hit by the car. it looked as though it had been quick. but he was so un-billy that i had to check his nose to make sure it wasn't him. but it was. his nose was missing the same piece it had always missed. 

i still was quite sure we had the wrong cat when we buried him under the apple tree up on the hill overlooking the farm. when we said our few words and laid quartz rock and cosmos on his grave. i was even more certain when we left yesterday for boston that the farm would call us later that day....or maybe even today. with the good news that billy was alive and well, sleeping under the bed in the guest room. and we would all wonder humorously at the macabre blunder of burying someone else's cat.

but they haven't called.

and i find myself overwhelmed with missing north carolina. where we used to have all the creature comforts that the tent lacks. where we used to have two loving kitties that spent their afternoon on the bed. spent their nights in the carolina hills. and spent their mornings eating thawed liver from the freezer.

we're hoping to find a home this week-end. which is why we are here in boston. but it feels now like we missed our chance. they may just be two cats to the outside world. but they were the definition of our family and of our home. and now we don't have them. and now i just want to retreat to the farm in north carolina and go back to my cousins. back to our pigs. back to the 500 acres we called home. back to a time when we had everybody and everything just so. 


its only monday and i already miss the week-end

i had a weekend of cousins. of long runs. of summer weather. of exploring a new-to-me, old-to-friends swimming hole filled with fresh water that made your legs ache with cold. of finding cheerwine in massachusetts. of buying shiny things i don't for need pennies at tag sales.

but this week is going to be filled with business plans. with a meeting with a potential landlord. with a dinner meeting with a new boss. with packing boxes for the seventh time in 4 years. with lots of driving.

and so i'm trying to hold on to that week-end essence for a moment longer. cause i imagine this is going to be a trying one.



i miss the shit out of this cat. every. goddamn. day. going through old photos of old animal friends this afternoon. never a quiet task.

i love you rocco-cat. i wish you would come home. i hope we didn't drive you away. i imagine you are with some stupidly-loving cat-thieving family that feeds you raw liver and snuggles you deeply every morning as you were accustomed.


sitting back a la campagne

i never get to sit back and unwind in the country. there will forever be things to do. fences to mend. gardens to tend.  but i'm housesitting for some neighbors this week and the luxury of it all is divine. inside bed. hot bath that can fit two. wifi. the good comfy life for a couple of days. 

1. milking goats has me so nostalgic for my north carolina days
2. guinea egg. chicken egg. duck egg. goose egg. 
3. tall stack of oreos and a glass of goat's milk
4. basket o' eggs
5. abigail and martha
6. workstation. finally getting to a month's worth of email.
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