Slow Food and Fast Horses

It rained and the deer repellent wore off. Last night, the horses chewed almost all the way through one of the 10″ posts. Today, the Sister fenced each individual post in wire, connected to the electric fencing. If that doesn’t keep them from destroying the paddock, I’m not sure what will.

Seriously, the horses need a job. You know how destructive teenagers can get when they are bored, especially when they top out at a ton apiece.

Tuesday night I went to a meeting of the local chapter of Slow Food. In some ways, I’m not really sure how to write about it. It only lasted for 1 1/2 hours but it felt like much more, there were so many ideas zinging around the place. The plans are ambitious but, with the number of motivated individuals involved, I think most will come to fruition. Stay tuned here for more details as things happen.

It’s snowing right now. This means that we’re all stuck on the farm. Some of us are working from home, but we’re all here. So, what’s the best way to entertain ourselves while snowbound? You guessed it; we muck out the horse stalls.

Now, there’s something quite philosophical about shoveling the daily contributions to the farm’s future, fully-composted fertilizer. Somewhere between the motion of sweeping and the organizing of neat little piles, I start thinking of the bigger cycles surrounding us. Tonight, I could hear a large flock of snowgeese on the way to their overnight grounds, a number of nocturnal birds kicking up a fuss, and the munching of big horses chewing hay. Everyone’s being fed and settling down for the night, the blanket of snow tucking everything in for a long nap.

It’s this routine that starts freeing your mind to ponder bigger things. When I’m alone, I contemplate the ebbs and tides of my life. I consider how my decisions have created my current existance and yet how new opportunities have completely changed the direction I’ve taken. Who could have known that only a few years ago, I thought I would never be able to live on a farm, play with horses, or grow my own food? Yet, here I am, and grateful to be so.

When there are more than one of us, we start chatting about plans for the farm, what we are going to plant in the spring, what buildings we want to improve, what cool wildlife we’ve seen hanging around. The snow starts falling harder. Then someone makes a crack about “frosted road apples” and how that’s NOT a breakfast cereal. We start giggling. I mention something about “poopsicles” and we all start laughing till we can’t breathe.

The horses, up to their eyeballs in hay, pay us no attention.

Newsbits 10-21-2010 and one more link…

Yes, I forgot an important link: the American Farmland Trust. You can’t have farmers if there’s no land to farm. Rather important, I’d say.

Okay, on to some interesting, intriguing, and almost urban news to report:

  • The Stranger, a decidely citified publication, ran a fabulous article on The Greenhorns, which is an association of young farmers. They have a site and a new documentary coming out soon. 
  • The USDA has a Beginning Farmer and Rancher program. This year’s grants are closed but bookmark this site for 2011. 
  • They also have information on grants for Farmer’s Markets. There are grants and all kinds of good information.
  • My geek-o-meter is hitting the red zone because this weekend is the opening of the Battlestar Galactica exhibit at the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle. If I didn’t have a concert on Saturday, I’d be making noseprints on all their shiney new glass cases that day. Blast! I’ll just have to go later.
  • My ability to grow sweet potatoes has, once again, completely tanked this year. So, I’m actively seeking techniques for improving my success at raising my favorite tuber. I’m dying to make some fries. There’s just something about sweet potato fries…mmmmm…

Okay, that’s all for now. I’ll try to use actual paragraphs in my next missive…unless I can create some really cool bullets, that is. (I wouldn’t hold my breath, however.)