Walking home from milking the goats tonight was very peaceful. Snow crunched under my boots and flakes brushed my face. All was quiet. Everything seems to stop when the first snow comes. It’s like the world is pausing to rest. Meditate. Listening to her breath. I think the snow creates a buffer for sound vibrations.
I went to Hawthorne Valley Farm in NY State where Susan presented to a small class of beginning farmers how she started the business. I noticed the group was mostly young women- another piece of my senior thesis about women farmers. Lots of the young farmers today are women, like me. It feels good to know I’m not alone in this endeavor when I’m sitting in a room full of people who share a similar interest. Also like me, they were lucky to be listening to Susan tell her story. It is remarkable, inspiring, funny, sad, hopeful, scary, and surprising all at once. Bottom line- she is awesome. And I am so grateful to be working with her for two seasons in a row.
We moved four young goats over to the herd this week. It’s like graduation. I’m actually really attached to the babies that are now 9 months old, so not really babies anymore. They are getting big and once they start eating the dairy goat diet and are pregnant, they will look like the adults. Mariposa, Shelly, Eunice, and Ursula were the most sociable so we will let them be leaders for the others when it’s time for them to join the herd. Half of the young ones have been bred so there are only five goats left!
Breeding is almost over and I will not miss the stink. However, I did enjoy walking the bucks down and watching how they interact with the does. Their behavior is very entertaining and I love getting to say, “Ugh, men!” when they go around sniffing butts, peeing on themselves, and snorting.
It’s hard to imagine I only have 20 more days left here. Then, I go home for the holidays, visit with family, and get ready for my winter expeditions. For January and February I will be driving cross-country with friends. When else in my life will this be possible? I might as well do it while I can, right? So off I will go…hiking, camping, exploring the wonderful beauty of the American Southwest. Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, California. Ah, the beauty of seasonal jobs when you’re young and don’t have huge bills to pay or prior commitments.
Thanksgiving feels like months ago, but it was really lovely. I had two big meals. One with family and one with farm folk at Susan’s house. Some food highlights are captured below: sweet potato buttermilk rolls, chocolate goat cheese truffles, pecan and squash pies, baked brie with cranberries, stuffing, mashed potatoes, parsnip soup, cranberry relish and sauce, and of course a turkey from Taft Farms.
Another food note is that the garden is still giving plenty. Yesterday in anticipation of snow I harvested carrots, beets, leeks, brussel sprouts, spinach, and salad greens from the greenhouse. I’m eating lots of potatoes, squash and onions from the back room, which stays cool enough so they don’t rot. The fridge is stocked with greens and the porch has buckets of veggies from the garden that like to be kept really cold. I have to keep remembering where all my food is scattered. This reminds me of squirrels burying acorns in the fall. Food storage is tough because each vegetable likes different moisture and temperature levels. Unlike the squirrels, if something doesn’t make it to March or I am tired of eating roots, I can go to the market.
So, life is good. Eating well and plenty. Celebrating with people. Staying warm with the wood stove. Simple.
The water at the cabin was turned off yesterday since it’s getting way below freezing at night. I actually find is quite nice. I make fewer dishes when I cook so there’s less to wash. I have to strategize each meal to minimize messes so there’s less to clean. Surprisingly, it makes life more simple and relaxing. Just what I need. Entering hibernation. Winter. Sure, I can do winter. For a few more weeks…then I’ll go south and escape the harsh months.