An Ongoing Story, In Words and Photos, About The Challenges Of Living Life On The Farm, The Inspiration That Sustains Us And The Lessons Learned Throughout. Thanks for visiting!

Farming Without A Farm

“Are you effing kidding me?!!” Dina’s voice leapt the ten inches from the phone’s speaker and pierced my dazed brain. “A car ran into our tractor?”  “Something like that.” I blinked at the car parts strewn about Route 2A and our yellow Farmall Cub tractor perched oddly atop a trailer bed. Emergency workers gathered near a red Honda Fit resting on a guardrail. “Find a babysitter. I may be here a while.” The last time we wrote, our greenhouse had just succumbed to a wintry death. Then our tractor took... Read the Rest →

 

Welcome to Farming!

Winter. Tea in hand, farmer curls up by the fire, thumbs through seed catalogues and dreams leisurely dreams about the harvest yet to come. Snow falls quietly. Begin nap sequence. Cue reality: Winter. Awash in a laptop’s electronic glow, farmer squints for days on end at Excel spreadsheets, puzzling over whether 24 tomato plants will feed 40 people for 8 weeks. (Best make it 30 plants.) And which varieties are the tastiest? And won’t wither in our New England climate? And when to start the seeds that will become the... Read the Rest →

 

Final Chores

We slaughtered ninety-seven chickens. Raised the timber frame. Prepped our early fields for winter. Harvested a crazy number of tomatoes. Moved our animals to fresh pasture, one final time. And then, just like that, it was over.  Maggie’s class of 2013 has graduated – our foray into farming receding, fuzzy and dreamlike, into memory. The chickens we slaughtered were our broilers, 6-week-old birds raised for meat.  It was our third time at the killing cones, knives in hand, tasked with the grim work of harvest.  In previous attempts, we’d all... Read the Rest →

 

Moving Pictures

One year ago today, Dina and I held our breath in a darkened exam room as our doctor studied an ultrasound glowing on a screen overhead. Years of tests, procedures and crushing losses convinced us that this attempt, possibly our last, had failed as well. “There is a pregnancy in the uterus,” the doctor intoned as we tried to comprehend the nebulous white blob on the screen. He continued to speak but a fog descended and I only remember hearing him call out, “Have a great pregnancy!” as we danced... Read the Rest →

 

The Virginia Creeper

Back before I liked girls, back when the tiny cone-shaped holes that pockmarked my elementary school’s windows mystified me, it took exactly 45 steps to walk from gym class to the boy’s bathroom. And 96 steps from Ms. Grey’s classroom to the cafeteria. Some kids avoided cracks. I counted steps. “One, two, three, four, five . . .” This compulsive, hypnotic drone filled my head everywhere I went.  Fortunately, I grew out of this odd habit, but recently, a new savant tic has taken its place. These days as I... Read the Rest →

 

In The Weeds

Nine months ago, the hard-neck garlic went into the ground.  We fifteen wide-eyed and eager student farmers, just weeks into our academic year, cased the immaculate field unbroken by latent weeds, its rows of square-shouldered beds unmarked by foot or trowel. The whole year lay ahead of us. We blessed, buried and patted each clove as we inched along the rows.  A third of the way into the nine thousand-clove planting, we got a taste of the blisters and aching backs to come.  But our morale soared. We were drunk... Read the Rest →

 

Too Much of a Good Thing

“A dry summer will scare you to death.  A wet summer will starve you to death.” Fellow famer John Moore intoned these words as he watched a slow trickle of customers eyeball his offerings of grass fed beef and maple syrup at the Athol Farmers Market.  Moore works a neighboring farm in Orange, MA and we have in common a patch of sky that either blesses or curses our fields each year.  This summer, despite a warm and dry start, fields around here are now rivers of mud, having been... Read the Rest →

 

Same Land, New Landscape

Last October, when I first arrived here at Maggie’s Farm, the onions and shallots had long been harvested.  The only vegetable residents of ‘Home Base,’ which is what they call the field outside my bedroom window, were a few beds of passed-over leeks.  It was the tail-end of the growing season so we harvested what we could and turned the leftover crop residue back into the soil.  The snows came and went and came again, while the promise of new life come springtime – both botanical and human – loomed... Read the Rest →

 

He’s Here!!!

A week ago, May 24th, 2013, our lives changed forever when our son (I can’t believe I’m writing that), Wendell Jameson Jacobs burst onto the scene weighing in at seven pounds two ounces of perfect and wonder.  The labor was intense and another sobering reminder that all plans are subject to ruthless revision.  But Dina was INCREDIBLE and after 36 hours, pulled us through… err, I mean pushed. Now that he’s here with us, Jameson (we’re calling him by his middle name) is melting our hearts and kicking our butts... Read the Rest →

 

A Sheep in Sheep’s Clothing

I guess I’m no longer allowed to detest Mother’s Day as another guilt inducing, wallet widening holiday foisted upon us by Hallmark.  That’s been my convenient excuse each May to rationalize the paltry present I’ve offer my mom: the ‘gift’ of my voice on the other end of the phone.  But it turns out the holiday has a legitimate non-commercial origin, first celebrated in 1908 by West Virginian Anna Jarvis in remembrance of her recently deceased mother and in honor of peace. Combine that with the presence of a soon-to-be... Read the Rest →

 

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