Saturday, July 16, 2016

Cheap Thrills

The days are hot and the farm keeps on going. That's the story this July, or at least the part I am willing to share. Right now this farm's future is as up in the air as a deck of cards chucked into the wind. It's all luck and a hunch right now.

Right now the sheep are out in the back field enjoying their dinner of freshly-stormed-on pasture. The goats are nibbling hay in their pen, their evening milking well over and their udders empty. The chickens are roosting, new chicks are on order, and hopes at the farm are high. like I said, luck and hunches.

By the by, there are five new little piglets here! I picked them up a few days ago from West Wind Acres. They are a home brew of many different heritage breeds, and pretty young. They all fit comfortably in a large crate on the ride home, covered with a shade cloth in the back of the pickup. Now they are enjoying a diet of chow, goats milk, scraps, and bolted garden greens. While these guys are so little, they are in the pen in the barn, but soon they will be out in the woods in the usual pig digs. I'm not sure how many pigs this is for Cold Antler, but I am certainly getting a hang of the pork train. Proud to raise them, proud to provide them to folks I raise them for, and always happy to share the spoils of the work with friends.

Last night after a swim in the river, my friends Tyler and Tara and I enjoyed BLT wraps. Fresh chard and bacon from the farm made us all content as we tucked in for a movie. It was a perfect night, and before they headed back to Vermont on their motorcycle we hugged goodbye. I'm not a hugger, but those two and I share the kinship of being self-employed, woodland, 30-something, weirdos and I love them. We were floating down the Battenkill earlier that evening, had all spent the day earlier earning a living from our businesses and dreams, and were still young and foolish enough to keep it up. If you are the people you surround yourself with, I am going to be fine. I hope, at least.

But back to those pigs: I had never driven those roads before, and with two border collies sharing the cab with some great music it was a bonafide field trip. Gibson, Friday, and I all put on our aviators and cranked up the stereo and listened to a whole lotta jams as we drove around the hillsides southwest to Rockwood's place. I roll without a cell phone, and the only directions for the 46-mile trip were written by hand in a notebook from a conversation Josh and I had in Facebook. At one point the road I was on had a weird turn in the town of Stillwater, and I was lost. So I chatted up locals at the Stewart's and within ten minutes I had an iced coffee, two farmers, a biker chick, and a map all gathered around the hood of my truck, which I have been calling Taylor regularly (It's a 1989). Together, we all found the route to West Wind together. I loved that. People are great, and thanks to the kindness of strangers I found my way.

I swear music, running, this farm, good people, and those dogs are the reasons I wake up with sharp teeth and a wry smile. And that's the attitude you need to have to keep a crazy dream like this going strong. You need to outwit the odds. You need to keep inspired to create the life worth writing about. You need to care more about the whole than any single piece. You need force, hope, friends, collies, biker chicks, and bacon wraps.

Wish me luck, guys. This month I'm all in.


Blogger Holly said...

Hello! Can't tell you how much I love the pups with their aviators on.....very cool! Do you plan to raise/train puppies? People need good work dogs. On our dairy my dad had some great ones. I wish you luck and you're in my prayers.

July 17, 2016 at 2:38 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Thanks Holly, no plans at all to breed the dogs, but you can enjoy more of them at their not-so-often-updated comic strip.

July 17, 2016 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger Denton, Texas said...

Jenna, whatever happened to Maud?

July 17, 2016 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Maude passed away a few years ago at a ripe ol' age. It was written about on the blog.

July 17, 2016 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger Thistledog said...

I may be ready to get on the pork train next year, sure could use their services around here, just need to get prepared and start small... I do my share of scrambling and juggling here too, Jenna, and I appreciate that line about needing to care more about the whole than any one piece. The whole, the big picture, is a deep well of inspiration and motivation for me. The individual pieces are wonderful but they are so many, and I am but one, it can overwhelm. When I zoom out and step back, the peace and satisfaction balances out the panic and exhaustion. I need to do that more often.

July 17, 2016 at 11:24 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Your post about getting lost reminded me of a roadtrip my daughter and I took to the east coast. We were travelling from the Toronto area. Once we crossed the border near Watertown, it was back roads all the way. I used local roadmaps and the kindness of strangers, just like the folks you describe here. It has been 11 years since, but we still talk about the wonderful people we met along the way. Our trip to York, New Hampshire was our best trip to the US, EVER.

July 17, 2016 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Kathryn Samuelson said...

What is happening with the gofundme? And, when does the Beekman Mortgage Lifter end?

July 17, 2016 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Jenna, I sincerely hope your July (and rest of year!!) will take the turn to the good with the Beekman Mortgage Lifter Readers Choice award hopefully coming your way! And also the Going Postal "Art for the farm" is such a beautiful idea and I hope it hits the 100% soon! I am so excited to get a glimpse of some other little postcards you drew! I hope this gives you the break from old chains you need!
Everyday I check on my five chicken I think of you! Now my husband has found a breed he likes, so soon there will be more :-) They are a German breed and called Bielefelder Kennhuehner. Beautiful birds!

Wishing you all the best of luck from Germany, Anna

July 17, 2016 at 5:12 PM  
Blogger mdoe37 said...

Ya know, Jenna? You just might make a good biker chick yourself someday!

July 17, 2016 at 5:15 PM  
Blogger John H said...

@Kathryn - Mortage Lifter is still going. I'm trying to remember to vote every day. Jenna's currently in the lead.

Anyone reading comments, go vote!

July 17, 2016 at 7:05 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

The Gofundme (actually, it's an Indiegogo) is at 89% and the plan is to use those funds to catch up on the mortgage - and beat the bank with that payment to stave off foreclosure. The Mortgage Lifter 2k will also 100% go towards the mortgage. Neither are complete yet but hopefully they are part of the luck and hunch that saves this roof - the other part is selling this book I am writing to be settled for winter.

July 17, 2016 at 7:08 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hope all goes well on your farm love reading your blog.

July 17, 2016 at 10:43 PM  
Blogger Tiffany said...

I've been voting with all three of my emails and it's so good to see you're still in 1st place!! I expect to see a big celebration post soon and hear all about you being caught up on the mortgage, so that we can all rejoice with you.

July 18, 2016 at 8:55 AM  

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