February 12, 2023
This full double rainbow was spectacular to witness.
One afternoon in January, it appeared out of the mist and stretched from one end of the farm to the next, lasting about half an hour. We had never seen such a display before and fortunately were present enough to witness it. I couldn't capture the full panorama with the camera, but we did with our regard. We were tempted to examine the landing points of the rainbow to see if gold had been left behind, but decided instead the riches were in the display itself. This was a mesmerizing experience, and we couldn't help feeling a blessing of sorts was being bestowed upon our land.
This begs the question of how does one receive such a blessing? I think the response is: in utter humility.
It has been a while since we have conversed with you and I have missed the ritual! But it has felt good not be driven by a need to connect and rather to respond to the inspiration of doing so. These recent months have been the first time, in an increasingly long journey of life, I haven't felt pushed to perform by my own expectations. It has been a marvel to experience floating in suspension for a period of time.
As we wind down production of food and wind up creation of wetlands, the power of doing both reverberates and echoes through sensibilities. It is hard to know how to make sense of these deep sounds, but perhaps being sensible is not the task at hand. Rather just receiving the symphony of sensation might suffice.
Witnessing that rainbow was quietly electrifying. It felt like an affirmation, a benediction even, to continue with faith in the mysterious path before us. And so we do, with an increment more trust that all will work out in the end. Significant questions remain, but such is the nature of the quest. Perhaps true vitality is the experience of living with questions, as they remind one to pay attention fully; above, below, and around.
In the meantime, we have some good meals and events to catch you up on!
Harkening back to Christmas, we share with you nutcrackers, gnomes, and decor in expectation of a day with children visiting from town. But as we all experienced, Arctic blasts of snow and cold closed roads to such gatherings, so Susan and I enjoyed yet another peaceful day a deux. The celebratory meal was initiated by eggnog before the fire, with plenty of reserves for subsequent evenings. We then moved to fresh oysters from Maine, followed by lamb chops, sauteed spinach, baked apples, polenta, and a green salad replete with pastured hardboiled eggs. It was quite a fare, served on gilded plates.
New Year's eve was celebrated with strip steaks, spinach, and rice in the same locale and on the same plates. These plates sat unused in my parents' house for 60 years. They were inherited from my parents' parents and were more opulent than my mother cared for. But Susan believes in celebrating life and so they are being resuscitated. Wearing sunglasses helps dim their glow.
Sebastien and Emma came out in early January to resurrect the planned Christmas meal of beef Wellington. We saved two of our last whole tenderloins for the event and Sebastien masterfully executed this special fare. This involves enclosing the tenderloin with a topping of chopped mushrooms, in puffed pastry. He inherited his mother's propensity for culinary scholarship and is always interested in new explorations. The meal turned out beautifully and served as a fitting tribute to faithful beeves who served us so well.
To add to the cornucopia, here are two more meals. Grilled chicken with a creamed mushroom sauce over pasta and pan-fried pork chop with mashed sweet potatoes, buttered brussels sprouts, and cinnamon baked apples. Check out the yolks of the eggs in the salad.
All of this fabulous food has to be balanced by some physical activity! I have accordingly been engaged in winding up our high-tensile fencing to make room for wetlands, roaming wildlife, and equipment involved with reshaping stream banks and planting trees. We started this process two years ago, and it is quite a task, as we have about 20 miles of fencing to extract. I had help when we started, but now it is up to me and Bo, the border collie. We are chipping away and making steady progress.
What to do with the coils of wire is still an unresolved question. I haven't yet found a home for them.
Pulling up fence posts and winding up wires has been poignant for me. It marks the end of an era that started 30 years ago, with our grass-based dairy and then our Red Devon beef herd. I remember putting all these fences in, with many footsteps in days both very hot and very cold. I recall the great hope that came with each pounding of a post and each uncoiling of the wire. I held so much faith and passion in the advent of producing grass-based foods for caring people.
I also recall, at that time, being distracted by these great expectations from attending enough to my two young children. That memory has always provoked a quiet note of anguish in my soul, which note is replayed, as I roll up these wires.
As we all wish for our children to exceed us, that they may lead even better lives then our own, so mine have done. They are nearing 40 years of age and have far outpaced distant paternal shortcomings. They celebrate the glass being full, and are each forging creative and authentic lives of remarkable balance and beauty. I periodically wonder whose children they really are and where they came from. It is humbling to be their parent and the grandparent of their bursting young children. They stand firmly within the blessing of that double rainbow, for which I am profoundly grateful, as do Susan's children, to whom I am devoted, who are engaged in much the same endeavor of successful living.
That pulling up wires and fenceposts should expand the heart is an unexpected benefit within this mysterious journey. Perhaps it is the unexpected which enriches us most, in the end.
This long winded account of the past two months offers one more anecdote for your interest. That is the recent building of bridges across wetland streams. These allow navigation through densely planted zones, both for pleasure and for recording data. Below is one of the two recently constructed. This is part of the ongoing effort to re-sculpt our landscape.
May we each receive the blessings bestowed upon us.