Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Let's Get it On

Charlie Puth is on my good side. This morning as Friday and I were cresting the hill in the Dodge I was belting out his song Marvin Gaye, and could not stop smiling. Friday was watching me with her head tilting back and forth from the passenger side, but I couldn't help myself. It's just a fun song. Why not? Why not just smile and sing as your truck growls and stalls up the mountain road? I did, and even though I didn't know all the words I knew the chorus and was having a friggin' blast.  In the bed of the pickup were 27 meat birds and we were on our way to deliver them to Ben Shaw for processing. I was looking forward to coming back to the farm with coolers of roasters in plastic bags and proud of myself for the birds I was presenting. Charlie knew.

Friday was with me because she spent the morning eating her kibble in the crate and not out helping to herd and wrangle the 30 birds I was supposed to deliver to Shaw. Why were we missing three? Because I am a woman of many faults and after opening the door to the first tractor and catching  a fat rooster in each hand to carry to the crates in the back of the pickup, I forgot to close the door. It took about a nanosecond for the rest of the birds in the tractor to teleport out. That meant a dozen birds were just all over the lawn and not where they needed to be - on the way to freezer camp. With Gibson's help we got nine more stranglers and the other fifteen in the other tractor. Not bad odds. Certainly good enough for me. I sang even louder.

Gibson trotted into the farmhouse panting and happy, covered in dew and mud and chicken shit. He had done the work other border collies only dream of and I had zero guilt letting him lay in front of the fan while I grabbed the new kid for the delivery. And that is how Friday and I ended up in the truck, singing Marvin Gaye, and wishing I had a second cup of coffee.

After the birds were dropped off, crates unloaded, and I had an hour of time to kill before I had a giant plastic tub of ice and plastic-wrapped meat — I headed into Greenwich for gas and a trip to Tractor Supply. While paying for my gas at the register, the girl at the counter said something amazing. She said, "You look like you're going to have a good day" and I think she meant I looked excited. I was. She certainly wasn't talking about how I was dressed since I was wearing the same old plaid shirt, tank top, and jeans I wore the night before to meet some friends for a drink in Salem - and the clothes had dealt with the sweat, dog hair, and literal crap of catching a dozen roaming birds. But I was excited for the day. I had raised these birds to slaughter weight. I was driving them in a truck I bought and (kind of) maintained all on my own. And it was a Tuesday morning and I was paying for gas in a straw cowboy hat and still managed to get mascara on. Wonder Woman,  in the flesh.  Some days I pull it off.

The rest of the day was just farm chores, a long run, an outdoor shower and email correspondences but as dinnertime approached I was squirming like a first date.  One of the people who got some birds from me was my neighbor Manya, and I told her I'd deliver her chickens via horse cart that evening. So after goats were milked and pigs were fed all the dropped apples and goat milk they could eat I harnessed up Merlin and headed down the mountain. I had a little cooler in the back and was very proud of the story in that styrofoam. While Merlin trotted down the mountain I thought of the days I ran back here to cover those birds up from storms on the horizon. I thought of spring days with frost warnings and setting up heat lamps in the yard. I thought of the help of Patty and the Connelly clan who helped me build the tractors. I thought of all the mornings and evenings where I moved those animals to fresh grass, filled fonts, offered grain... And here I was delivering them to people I care about. Makes you feel rich.

I got the birds to Manya and her family, we chatted and caught up, and then I headed home under the cloudy sky I expect after a hot summer day. When Merlin was untacked, combed, and set back into the pasture with the sheep I would head over to Livingston Brook Farm to hang out with good friends and Sara fresh outta Ontario. I had people to feed, people to see, people to drink with. I was heading up the road to the home I owned with the aid of a horse I knew better than most people know their first cousins. I was rich. Disgustingly, wonderfully, blissfully rich.  And I'll remember that when I crank up the radio over the truck's banging.

Let's get it on.


Blogger aart said...

Great Song....I'll be humming it all day now.... thanks, really.

You get *your birds* chilled in plastic **one hour** after you drop them off on the claw?!?!?
That...... is......amazing!!
USDA facility? Wonders what the cost is.

Glad you had a groovy day.

August 5, 2015 at 6:03 AM  
Blogger Manya said...

Wonder Woman in a straw hat. Who needs a cape when you carpe diem?!

August 5, 2015 at 8:03 AM  
Blogger Ella said...

Jenna, an essay like this one is why I keep reading your blog. You capture the sense of freedom that comes from feeding yourself through your own hard work, the joy of a day's end, the satisfaction of supporting the endeavors of your heart. Carry on.

August 5, 2015 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger Harmony Hill said...

Like Ella said.

August 10, 2015 at 6:10 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Thanks guys, and Harmony Hill - little additions to the comments like that seem so small but mean so much to me! thank you all! don't hold back encouragement - I need it more than you realize!

August 10, 2015 at 6:49 PM  

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