Monday, October 22, 2012

Great Song Farm

This past weekend was a blur on the farm. Friday we slogged through the impressive rains to butcher chickens. We still have several butcherings up ahead.

Saturday we did our delivery as usual, and rushed back home to care for the clucking, bleating and hopping masses. After everyone was returned to the comfort of a good meal, we headed to Kim's cousin's house for a Halloween party. Each year, they build an elaborate and fantastical trail and we were actors this year. It was great theatrical fun. Halloween is a favorite around here, the exaggerated play version and the solemn turning of the seasons.

Usually, that would be enough activity for us for one weekend, and we would quietly retreat into Sunday with a good dinner and some house work. But yesterday, we had a trip to our neighbors at Great Song Farm to meet their draft horse team.

Great Song is a small farm about 30 minutes from us with a vegetable CSA. Anthony emailed us to ask if we'd like to meet his team after reading our blog, and we jumped at the chance. He was planning to plow before the rain was twice as heavy as we expected, but still offered to take the horses out for a demo.

The pair are a stunning Suffolk duo clearly well cared for and eager for work. Anthony was generous with his time and we tried to absorb as much information as possible as he prepared Katie and Sonny for work. The ground ended up being too wet for more than 2 rows, but it was amazing to see these three in action.

It is equal part invigorating and sobering to watch someone adjust the various clips, hitches, snaps buckles etc required for a draft operation. The team was new to this particular plow and Anthony pointed out their reaction to the equipment, their prey response in opposition to their steadiness with familiar tools.

As the horses cut through the soil Anthony carefully monitored their progress and the adjustments needed for the implement. What struck me most was his commitment to remaining steady, collected and intentional. There seemed to be no room for auto pilot with horse farming.

This skill, there is no doubt, is a skill that will take years and failures to build. But it feels like a good fit. The level of awareness is attractive to me, I don't like to take for granted my actions or slip into routine. Anthony said something to the effect of wanting to be present if one was going to be plowing all day. And I agree.

All of this is well and good, but now begins of the work of the practical. Budgets, equipment estimates, building a skill set... It's a tall order. But I can't wait. And we are so grateful not to be starting from scratch solo- someone near by with knowledge is a wonderful thing, and we hope to repay his generosity at least with some good cooking.



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