Walking Over to Pick Up the Goods

Yesterday I picked up our farm share. We switched this year from Stony Loam Farm to our neighbors who offered shares for the first time this year. We loved Stony Loam but the Needham Family Farm is close enough that we can walk there. It was hard to give up a relationship of several years with some folks who are just plain awesome, but this made sense to at least try. Typically more than one of us walks over; often we all do as a family. But yesterday I went solo since I was the only one around. It was a fine day for a walk.

The Needhams do things a little differently. Instead of a box that we pick up on a certain day of the week, their farm stand is open every day. We go on the day that works best for us. And instead of a particular allotment of produce, we choose from what they have. We get a set number of points each week and can divide those points how we want. The have produce–this week included kale, swiss chard, lettuce, beets, zucchini, summer squash, peas and some other stuff–and they also have eggs (we get these every week), frozen chickens, maple syrup, honey, granola, quiches, pies and other prepared foods. This week I picked up a jar of honey since I was planning to put some in the beer I made today. I got beets and squash. I walked home with a bag full of good stuff.

This is working out well for us so far. We were away last week and picked up our share when we returned on Saturday; we did not worry that we would miss pick-up day. It isn’t perfect–we missed out on the early tomatoes because there just are not many and they are popular, and it is less social than meeting everyone else who has shares on pick-up day–but overall I am happy with the system. Simply being able to walk over makes working with the Needhams a good deal. It may be muddy and it may be dry. The deer flies may be out or they may not. The oaks will be there on any day, however, and the path will offer a mini adventure any day we go.

Heading Through the Woods

Transition Zone

Across the Field

Arrival at the Needham Family Farm

 

Smoke News

My wife surprised me and took me out to dinner this evening.  She got someone to watch the kids, got all gussied up to look more beautiful than she usually does (which pretty much makes me get all weak-kneed on a normal day) and we headed over the hill to the Bearded Frog in Shelburne.  They have good food at that particular establishment.  The last time we ate there I had to try three times to make something resembling the melt-in-you-mouth squash soup we tasted.  My soup was good but it wasn’t as good.

We sat in the corner, all cozy and romantic, only you can’t really have a cozy and romantic dinner when you are bound to run into somebody you know.  One of our neighbors and her daughter, visiting from New Jersey, sat at the table next to ours once things got hopping.  We chatted, of course, as was polite, and genuinely interesting in this case.  And fun.  We shared some laughter and the people at the next table over got into the conversation and it was generally a good time.

But the point here is that our neighbor is the one who owns the property where the smoke has been coming from (see yesterday’s post).  It was still smoking when we left the house for our sans children event.  It turns out she was away, came home about 5:00 to see the tower of smoke rising near the house.  She could tell right away it wasn’t the house (her first fear) and thought it might be the barn (fear number two).  Fortunately it was just a pile of hay.  It was a big pile of hay, combusted by the heat of the day.  Some folks pushed it around to make sure nothing else would catch, and smothered it as much as they could.  But a fat old chunk of hay is going to burn until it wants to burn no more.

The house still smelled of smoke when we got home, but it obviously was starting to burn itself out.  So no one hurt, nothing lost but a good deal of hay, and a mystery solved for sure.  The sky is still a little hazy but at least we understand more clearly.  That’s something.

Not So Selfish

I watched our neighbor this morning drive along the road and pick up all the cans and bottles that my children and I gathered and placed by the roadside yesterday.  I had mixed feelings about this:

1. I was excited that someone else would take the time to clean up.  We were planning to head out shortly to pick all of those up.  The children, in fact, were looking forward to it.  But someone else beat us to that.  I don’t know if they were happy we had gotten things started, or upset that we had dug the ugliness from hiding under the winter’s layers.  I hope the former.

2. I was disappointed because the children really were excited to follow up on our previous day’s project.  When I told them what was happening, and they looked out the window to see for themselves, they were disappointed as well.  But I told them we could head up the road in the other direction and they got fired up again.

Today’s haul was a lot bigger.  We walked a lot farther, for one, but there were just a lot more items to collect.  We could not carry them all there were so many, so we left another batch to be picked up by someone.  My wife walked the kids up the road while I went for a run.  I met them on my way back and she ran herself.  I carried most of the load for most of the way.  The children wanted to carry everything they collected–they each had a bag–but the bags got too heavy for the longish walk.

We picked up three dozen beverage containers and left about ten to collect later.  Over 50 empty containers.  That is just way too many.  That was in a not-quite-a-mile stretch of road.  The nutty thing is how many I saw while I was running, farther up the road–at least as many.  The idea of that many containers getting tossed makes me squinch up my forehead.

I have tossed empties out the window myself.  I am not proud to admit that.  It happened only once, when I was a teenager.  There were a few of us in a Chevy Suburban drinking beer in the back on a long drive.  The driver was clean and we were being responsible–just a couple apiece over a couple of hours.  But we were underage.  We were afraid we would get pulled over by the police for some reason, I don’t remember why, so we tossed the “evidence” to the roadside.

The thing is, that memory still haunts me.  It wasn’t my idea and I was not the one to do the tossing, but i rue my abetting that act.  I don’t even have the consolation that we were pulled over.  I try to make it up now.  I imagine who tossed these glass bottles and aluminum cans and create my own stories.  I am proud that my children are so excited to clean things up.  They do not creat such stories.  They trust my answer to their question of who would toss their trash out the window.  Sometimes it is a mistake, I tell them, and sometimes people do things we would not do ourselves.  They have entered the world of trying to understand the array of human motivations.

I can’t imagine they will ever solve that mystery.  No one ever has.  But I hope they pursue it their whole lives.  It is a mystery that offers many questions worth asking.  Those questions make the mystery worthwhile.  As a parent, I will do what I can to engage them in the mysteries of the world.  I hope all of them are not as dirty as this on