And Then There Were Three

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The lambs will be sent to market the middle of this month, and the fat steer has a date with destiny on November 23.

There’s a ram due to move in here from Michigan State’s sheep research farm in the next few weeks, and last I heard Wren — whom, with how grown she has become, I cannot reasonably refer to as a “Small Human” any more — had a couple steer calves on order for herself.

There aren’t any chickens here anymore. It’s been weeks since we delivered the last of them and we’re already getting reports back. My favorite come with recipes. I’ve had a post in draft about the pricing and profitability of this batch of chickens since the week after we brought them home from the processor and will try to get around to publishing that sometime this month. I know several of you have asked, and are waiting patiently. For now, I’ll say that we do plan to raise them again next year, but we were also reminded of why we quit raising meat chickens years ago and it will remain a very small batch enterprise.

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We put the farm on cruise control this year and it has been a beautiful reprieve from the total immersion in year-over-year growth to which we’ve been accustomed for so long. There was a lot of time to relax, to enjoy the summer, to reflect and to plan for the year ahead. I won’t lie: my camera and my writing skills were shelved for a time that was was probably far too long, but which felt very right. So maybe not too long at all.

There is a balance in creative work, between consumption and production. It’s why writing courses and advice books will always tell writers that they must also read and purposefully get out into the world to experience it in addition to writing. Because creating is only half of what creative people do. The other half is feeding the machine inside them which creates. I have known this for a long time so you might think I would be better at identifying when that interchange becomes imbalanced. And I did notice. All through 2014 I knew that I was producing more than I was consuming. I knew that I was drawing on my reserves without replenishing them, but I vastly underestimated the extent to which I was doing that. It has taken longer to recharge those reserves than I anticipated, but the process has been good.

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I’ve been spending some of the time I would have spent writing and shooting in the kitchen instead; experimenting and creating, and I have a recipe series planned for here for next month. I’m calling it the ’30 Days of Feast’ and plan to post a new recipe every single day in November. So far there’s Eggplant Piperade Boats and Pulled Pork with Grilled Plums and Bourbon-Peach Pot Pie and Turnip Gratin and Rum-Raisin Apple Wraps and real, no-stock French Onion Soup… all very rustic and all very delicious, because that’s how we like it. If you have a blog or an instagram (I’ll be posting there, too) of your own, you’re welcome to join me. We’ll have a hashtag and everything, and I’ll make up something a bit more official soon. In the meantime, consider this your forewarning. You don’t have to post recipes every single day, but if you want to: you’ll probably want to get a head start, too.

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