Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Memorial Weekend Get-Away

Barn Kitten
This past weekend my family and I went up to visit a good friend of mine up in New York. I haven't seen my friend, Mairi, for about a year and through letters I've heard so much about the little farm where she lives with her sister Heather's family. So Friday afternoon my husband, our two kids, and I headed up to stay for a few days.

Heather and her family's hospitality was wonderful and we had ourselves a great time chatting, walking and eating. We enjoyed drinking raw milk from a dairy down the road, eating fresh eggs of the chicken and duck variety, wandering the ruins of an old gristmill next door, and meeting their large family of animals in the old barn on their property. Among the animals we met were three sheep whose bleating sounded rather mournful and pathetic (haha!), three psychotic geese who we had to fend off with a stick nearly every time we left the house and ventured toward the barn, a sweet old horse, a dozen little barn cats, and a bunch of chickens. We got a glimpse of the ducks who were a bit snooty and stayed downstream on the creek if we came anywhere near. We also had fun playing with their dalmatian dog Rooster. (I asked if their rooster's name was Dog, but it wasn't. Heehee!)

One of the wonderful things about visiting them was being able to eat some of their local food. It really was such a treat. I went with my friend, Mairi, to go pick up the raw milk from that dairy down the road. It really is such a shame when getting raw milk is reduced to the status of something akin to picking up illegal moonshine at a secret meeting place. I personally don't mind pasteurized milk, but if people want to drink raw milk, why not let it be their choice and to get it if they'd like to?

I realized something important this weekend. We were driving past that "dairy down the road" and I looked out my window to see their beautiful, creamy brown Jersey cows grazing in the pasture behind their old wood slat and stone barn and a thought struck me hard: "There are the cows whose milk I'm drinking." For a suburb girl who's only ever drunk milk bought at the store in plastic jugs, this was really profound. Not to mention I had been eating the eggs from the ducks and chickens I had met at Mairi's house. There is one thing to be eating the food you buy at your local farmer's market, but it's a completely different thing to eat the food that comes from animals you've met or that you take care of, the vegetables you've sweated and labored over in your own garden. It's a whole different level of eating. The satisfaction is immense. I don't know where it comes from exactly, but to be that connected to what nourishes and strengthens my body is a mind-boggling experience. To have that feeling every day - wow. I want that so badly. It's the biggest goal I'm going for right now. And to think being that connected was such an everyday part of life to so many people in the past. I'm glad that so many people today are passionate about getting back to that.

Mairi's sister Heather sent us home with some fresh eggs!
From top to bottom: Chicken egg, Duck egg, Goose egg.
Man, the goose egg looks like a freaking ostrich egg! I think I'm going to manage to make a whole quiche with just that one goose egg. Amazing!
A wonderful gift from Heather:
Washed, carded, and dyed wool ready for spinning (from their own sheep.) Hooray!

Me feeding the horse, Des, a candy cane.
Apparently, he loves these. It was quite the slobbery experience!


clair said...

I love the wool, I would love to learn how to spin. Maybe someday.

Holly Hox said...

That egg picture is so stinkin' cool! That goose egg is HUGE! Sounds like you guys had an awesome trip.

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