As clouds darken our nation's capital, we find light in our own quarter.
It is reassuring to rediscover that our well being lies within ourselves. Cynical actions of the powerful can be offset by the spirit of the meek. That spirit is imbued by observing the simple joys and beauty in our lives -- whether that be the face of one's partner, the dignity of one's parent, the goodness of one's child, the laugh of one's grandchild, the tree in one's backyard, or the conversation just relished... This is where we can turn to remind us how good life is.
On our farm, we find reassurance in the symphony of movement underway every day. It is mostly unfolding in slow motion, but the sounds arising from the movement are in the air every day. Cows and calves move forward about 100 feet per day (roughly an acre), yearlings about 50 feet, finishers about 25 feet, hogs every two weeks, sheep every two days, hens every week. They are moving into feed between 6 and 24 inches tall, and they leave behind a blanket of manure and trampled carbon to feed plants and microbes. This is enabled by continuous footsteps of dedicated stewards.
As a result, the grass is so deep, the animals so robust, and the meat so good that it qualifies as a symphony. If one stands still, music can be heard. No mad conductor controls this other than an age-old ritual we seek to understand and replicate. You are an integral component of this symphony, giving us reason to play our songs. Through your support, your are in fact playing your own song with us, creating a rising sound. This might be referred to as the rural symphony.
Perhaps an alternate term would be the regenerative symphony, as we are feeding the soil, plants, animals, and ourselves over and over, from one generation to the next, establishing a sustainable cycle. There is magic and music in this effort. It is an artform, buttressed by deep science.
In pondering the oppression of power, it seems that its antidote throughout history has been the appreciation of art and beauty. We can administer that antidote among our families, in our homes, in our backyards, and on our farms. May the rural symphony on our farms be heard, and may it generate well-being.
This is a transporting and wondrous scene, in that beef cows rarely have twins, unlike sheep and goats, and when they do, both are rarely successfully raised by the mother. This cow had fraternal twins, and she is raising both of them. She is mature and calm, so isn't phased by the confusion of having more than one calf to concern herself with. She is also in good body condition, so can handle the extra demand on her system. We will monitor her through the winter. Curiously, the female fraternal twin is always sterile, and is referred to as a "free martin". She will do fine as a source of meat. We have worried whether this cow was actually tending to both offspring, so witnessing this scene brought a moment of joy and relief. More antidote.
It is amazing how much influence a hot wire has on hogs. It seems to be about the only thing that does. Given they lead with their noses, a hot-wire placed at 6-8 inches works is, but has to be raised as they grow larger. They could easily jump over that wire, but don't envision themselves airborne, seeing themselves more as bulldozers than acrobats.
One inch of rain and 15 hogs can make a muddy mess quickly. Clark is prepared to move them in the next day or so. Those are happy critters, in a beautiful sylvan environment. Thus the music.
Speaking of magic, how does beef represented by massive Red Devon bulls transform itself into delicate strips floating in Pho? Susan made this a number of weeks ago, and I wanted to be sure to share it before the season turns. Vietnamese herbs and noodles anchored hot beef broth, to which she added thin slices of uncooked strip steaks to cook in the broth. The dish was very delicate, rewarding, and full of flavor. I had never eaten steak with a spoon before. The experience of savoring this Pho created wonder.
We enjoyed the visit of friends for lunch over the weekend, and made an easy meal of Vietnamese Sliders (with aioli and greens), roasted organic potato puffs, and sliced apples. Quick and delicious.
We are leaning hard lessons raising turkeys for Thanksgiving. The hatchery sent 2/3rds of our batch a week later than we asked for, which as we draw closer and closer to Thanksgiving is proving to make a difference. So, we have cut off sales for Thanksgiving and will finish those late arrivals in December. If you would like one for Christmas or other, we will have them available at that time. We will grind the rest into ground turkey and have it for sale for the first time. Turkeys previously on order are still on track and will be ready for pick-up frozen at Montgomery and Hyde Park the weekend before Thanksgiving. Next year we will start raising them a month earlier, so we are not caught off guard by the hatchery.
If anybody is stuck without a good turkey, we can source one for you through our Mennonite neighbor. He is harvesting on Tuesday morning of Thanksgiving. We can pick it up and will work out delivery to you that Tuesday afternoon. If interested, let me know.
An important note to make is the Hyde Park Winter Market will be relocating this year to: Madtree Brewing, 3301 Madison Ave, 45209. This will begin Sunday, November 1, with hours from 10 - 1. Please join us there to continue your invaluable support of the rural symphony. We need your sound.
With faith that wind will blow, clouds will lift, and music will be heard!
Drausin & Susan