Introducing Firecracker Farm
Last weekend I was invited to a cookout and campfire over at Firecracker Farm in nearby White Creek. On the southernmost side of Washington County, Firecracker farm sits a few feet from the Vermont State Border. There, the Daughton Family lives a pretty beautiful life on their 5 acres looking over the Battenkill Valley. If you've been reading this blog a while, you may know the Daughton Family, but if not here's a basic history of our friendship.
I met Tim and his Son Holden on a pheasant hunting trip last fall when a mutual friend invited us both out to hunt with the help of his superdog, Cayenne. The hunt was great, and the company was even better. Tim and Holden were great teachers and patient with me in the field. When a missed shot left my hand bleeding from a too-fast safety snap, Tim simply took a glove out of his pocket and handed it to me without question. It was not a cheap glove, and I would be coating it in blood. Tim simply said "I have a washing machine" and smiled, and I was stunned at the generosity amongst the shotguns and flying feathers. Now, I know he was just being Tim.
A few weeks later in the office, Tim approached me to ask a favor. His daughter was getting married down in their recent home state of Missouri and he needed a babysitter. Not for his sons, but for his recent acquisition of a Dairy Cow Calf, a Holstein steer named Tasty.
I watched Tasty here at the farm and was thrilled to do so. It was the one and only time a cow ever spent time at Cold Antler, and feeding the little bottle calf was a lesson in both
So here's why I'm writing about Swiss Family Daughton. I was at their cookout last weekend and it wasn't just some party in the sticks. The Daughtons invited a group of families from their church up to the farm to offer a very special invitation. The people from the city were folks the Daughtons knew didn't have access to big backyards, green markets, or farms. These were people in apartments and used to a totally different world than the one of cows and chickens and piglets the Daughtons had. So they told these families this:
This farm was there's too. It would soon be turned into a working vegetable and grass-fed meat operation, and the families present would be the families fed by the labor of the land. Tim and Cathy did not ask for, or want, money. This was not about writing something off on their tax return or blind charity to puff an ego, this was a combined goal of a husband and wife who felt blessed to have the farm that they had and felt it was their message and work to share it with people they care about who don't. So this spring the family will be sharing their property with an inner city group of their congregation, and feeding them for free. Folks who will be eating off the farm are welcomed to come weed and hoe if they want, but they are not obligated to. In a modern world where people buy land, mow it, fence it, and do nothing with it but tell others they can't even step foot on it, the Daughtons are using the small acreage they have to feed people without soil. They are doing it because they can, and because that's what Daughtons do. If you're bleeding, they'll hand you a glove and if you're hungry they'll hand you some potatoes and a grass-fed burger. Talk about living your faith...
If you want to follow along with the adventures of this farm of believers, visit Firecrackerfarm.com. Say hello with a comment to Cathy (the author and mother of the clan) and share a word of encouragement. This experiment is a living animal for the family as well. They have yet to figure out how things will come together, and maybe some of you have advice or a word of kindness to send their way: I'm sure it will be appreciated.
There are not a lot of people working to take care of others these days. Let's wish Firecracker Farm luck, and strong backs. And for those of you coming to Antlerstock 2012, you'll get to not only meet the Swiss Family Daughton, but (I think) take a trip to their farm for a farmhouse style meal from their own bounty.
All it takes to make this place better, folks, is to decide we're going to make it better. And as for you, Firecracker Farm.