"Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a farm and live entirely surrounded by cows–and china."

Charles Dickens

May 22, 2012

It's Official: We're a Farm Family



We bought our first land on our ridge almost five years ago and have added to, and around, it in the past four years since we have lived here (our New Hampshire house sold in September 2008, remarkably the week of the big financial crash, after we had moved to Kentucky in January of that year). We'll never be Kentucky natives but we have assimilated to the point where our neighbors, and many other local friends, seem to accept us, at least, and sometimes even like us, and, well, it just really feels like home despite how very much we are our own people from a different part of the world.

Taking a break from first haying to visit with neighbors new and old.









In the spring, when the weather is temperate, the flora magnificent and birdsong glorious––and it's not too hot––it is the easiest time of year to feel at home here. The real test is always at the holidays: the past few have been a bit melancholy and filled with longing for Christmases past. But I really do feel I've moved beyond that now, too, and having met some other "transplants" to the region also helps that immeasurably. An old friend––a pro at moving a lot––once told me that it takes about five years to feel at home in a new place. I'm beginning to think she's right.


When you move at midlife, as we did, far away from our familiar, from our own family home places (which we thought we'd grow old in––one of them, at least––but sold), and from people who knew us, well, these things take time. But moving here will prove to perhaps be one of the best decisions we will have made in our marriage.

Yours truly and my often unsung husband Temple on the tractor.

I haven't blogged in a while because we've been busy on the farm and because our daughter Adriana (or, Addie for short) has been visiting on a long stretch between seasonal resort jobs back in Vermont. It's been a pleasure to have her here and some more female energy around the place (heifer cows and laying hens just don't count) and we're proud of what she's accomplished on her own in four years: she deserves this rural respite. She's taken over the care and feeding of the chickens while she's been here and is just a generally great presence (who tolerates her ornery kinfolk, especially her perimenopausal mother, sometimes cranky father and very rambunctious brothers). Being altogether again for the longest stretch in five years has been galvanizing for our family: a needed dose of togetherness in a weary world.

Henry and Eli have been a huge help with haying again this year and they can drive the tractors and operate equipment like seasoned pros. We couldn't be on this farm without them and they are happy to help out: Henry, especially, has a real knack for staying with a task. At 14.5 he is taller than all of us and almost as tall as his father. Both are learning the value of responsibility on a farm and that they are a valuable part of helping to raise and tend to the pastured beef cattle on our farm. Most of the time we seem to have happy cows and happy boys.



In the past few months, in no particular order, we finished our first haying, the boys had their last week of school before a nice long summer break, we put up quarts of strawberries for the freezer, put in a garden and lots of flower pots, helped birth some cows, ran the farm (thank you, Henry!) while my husband and youngest son were in Colorado for over a week, got some paid writing assignments, and I have applied for (yet another potential) job off-ridge that would be a wonderful opportunity for the coming academic year, at least, and return me to my vocational roots. In short, I've been doing just about everything except blogging. I do have a significant "back blog" so I'll be posting more here and there in the weeks ahead to catch up with things around the farm.

In the meantime, you come back when you're ready!

Catherine


A few weeks ago I called our county road agent about getting
some tractor and cattle signs placed at each end of our small county lane
(where our farm now straddles quite nicely). People don't often drive down it
but as we have cattle in the road on any given day, and tractors,
well, it seemed a good idea. I hate to add to any unnecessary sign pollution
but hey, they were free. And kudos to Pulaski County: they put them up the very day!

3 comments:

  1. Wow. It's been FOUR years?! I'm happy you are feeling at home and settled but boy, we sure do miss you up here in New England. The boys are so grown-up and Addie looks fantastic. As do you and Temple. It's wonderful that things have come together so well.

    I love the photos of the farm! It's just beautiful. But what is MOST impressive is that you got 2 road signs put up on the day you requested them. Up here, it would have taken months of applications, public hearings and a couple of zoning board meetings. (Okay, maybe not that bad, but it would not have happened so quickly or so easily.)

    I miss you very much but I'm happy for you and yours.

    Love, Peaches

    ReplyDelete
  2. Those long stretches of field, and flat are what amaze me. Do you know there is another former NE woman who now lives in KY, and has her blog here?

    http://wwwmorningsminion.blogspot.com/

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