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 →

 

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 →

 

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 →

 

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 →

 

A Mouse of Their Own

Apparently, my farm school classmates are very good at keeping secrets.  But it’s more likely that I’m easily duped.  Driving to afternoon cow chores this Thursday, I keyed into Nora and Kate’s conversation: “SO tired,” said Nora.  “What time did you stay up until working on the quilt?” Kate shot Nora a look I didn’t understand. “What quilt?” I asked, curious. “Oh, you know… just a project,” offered Nora vaguely. “Hey, look at those turkeys!” pointing out the window and changing the subject. “Yeah, cool.  Turkeys,” I replied.  End of... Read the Rest →

 

Go Mammals!

We were all holding our breath. “Come on… push girl… PUUUSH!”  pleaded Josh our livestock manager, pulling hard on a slippery lamb dangling limply from the backside of her mom. “Lamb?  Are you still alive?” None of us were sure.  And from the guttural and wrenching sounds mom was making, I didn’t know if she was going to make it either.  While on morning chores, Rich and Kate had discovered her only minutes before, laboring heavily, pawing at the ground, lip curling upward with each contraction. And as soon her... Read the Rest →

 

Farmer Midnight

Non-stop. That perfectly describes my last two weeks since we started our seedlings in the greenhouse. Bongi (my chore buddy) and I have been constantly watching, watering, and worrying over them like the needy infants they are. And because the entire farm is literally captive in a 30’ x  72’ tropical bubble, caring for those thousands of soon-to-be plants is priority number one around here. This means we’ve been left to squeeze everything else – animal chores and personal life – into the scraps of time in between pilgrimages to... Read the Rest →

 

A taste like happiness

We’re back from winter’s break.  Our farmhouse remains a weather-beaten outpost in an ocean of snow.  But since our return, signs are stirring that the blanket of frozen white will soon recede.  This week, during a still and brilliant afternoon spent pruning raspberry bushes, a flicker of blue flashed in the thicket at the end of my row.  A blazing blue – entirely unlike the hazy low mountains framing the Quabbain Reservoir on the horizon, and a world apart from the clear winter sky. We saw a second flash, then... Read the Rest →

 

Back in Action

In the event you haven’t noticed, things have been a little quiet here over the last three weeks.  It was winter break at the Farm School.  No chores, no chopping wood, no crop planning – just an empty farmhouse, an ocean of snow and the promise of a fully functioning wood-fired boiler upon our return. A number of the Farm School students have spent these past three weeks making prosciutto and sipping Prosecco in Tuscany.  But Dina and I have been at home in the Boston settling quite comfortably in... Read the Rest →

 

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