Thursday, November 9, 2017

Downright Primal

This week on the farm has been intense and rewarding. Earlier in the week was rain, fog, and that sickly out of season weather that roars in and hits a wall hard before changing. The wet came and left and in the wake frost replaced rain drops. An arctic stream is coming through and this morning while I was outside it was twenty degrees and the grass was covered in sharp frost that crackled as I walked. If I closed my eyes it could have been an extremely crisp autumn day.

Tuesday morning I woke up early, a repeat performance of last Thursday when I needed to get to the chickens to the butcher and the truck wouldn't start. That morning it did, and the whole county could hear my celebratory whooping as the engine turned over. I loaded the birds into the travel crate I had loaned from Common Sense Farm and carried out the ducks I had penned the night before. The butchers were great and I learned that as long as your farm sells under 200,000 birds a year in New York you do not need to go through USDA butchers to sell them in the state. That's great. These birds were mostly for my freezer but when I got home I did some rounds delivering birds neighbors had bartered for. My favorite trade was a duck for some always-needed hay.

I have published six books. And while there is always a sense of accomplishment when you hold that book in your hands, till this day nothing feels as good as handing someone food I grew. It doesn't matter if it's a duck, chicken, leg of lamb or head of lettuce. When you hand it to someone there is this intense shock of reality that what I am giving them will keep them alive. That it is worth so so much to our entire body. A book may matter to them or may not. Food is religion of the body.

I also picked up the dried sheepskins that have been salted and hanging in my friend's barn. They are ready to be rolled up and mailed to the tannery. Between a freezer of birds and a pile of skins hanging to be shipped the farm is downright primal right now.