The Smell of the Sea
I love Vermont. It’s strange little place, but it’s a cool strange. You can live in one town, but your mail is sent to a different one. People around here think that’s normal. We have politicians in power across the political spectrum. Our state is practically the same size and shape as its neighbor, New Hampshire, only upside down, standing on its head. You can easily travel north and south, but not east or west.
We have mini-metro areas surrounded by tens of thousands of acres of woods and fields. A plethora of animals, insects and plants populate this rural expanse, though there are few humans. We are blessed with a kaleidoscope of green and an ongoing opera of bird songs; of seasons: five of them. We’ve flatlands, mountains, rivers, little pavement and one long, narrow lake.
What we don’t have is an ocean. This is something I miss. The ocean is alluring, a source of opportunity, of escape. It is alive, dangerous, and too vast to comprehend. It reaches deep within you.
Before we “swallowed the anchor” Lisa and I went through a sailing phase. Based in Salem, we sailed Boston’s north shore and Penobscot Bay. Vermont is amazing, but there is no ocean, the sound of the waves, or that ocean smell.
Then a was walking around the new vegetable garden, looking at all the different shaped and colored plants when a slight breeze came up. Suddenly I was transported back to our sailing days and time on the coast. It was completely unexpected, but intensely powerful.
What set off this nostalgic voyeurism? An organic fertilizer we add to the soil to provide extra nutrients for the vegetables made from the leftover detritus from the fish filleting processing in Gloucester, MA.
I feel more complete with a little bit of the ocean in Vermont.
For the Love of Craigslist
I have a love-hate relationship with Craigslist.
It’s a good, simple tool to get rid of stuff you no longer want, find stuff you think you want, get a job or place to live, find a car mechanic, connect with people or find daycare. All easily done with a few clicks. Craigslist can be a powerful tool for good. It can also become addictive.
Over the years I’ve missed out on some “amazing opportunities” because I didn’t see the advert soon enough. There was that full sized, commercial dishwasher for less than $100 that someone just wanted gone. The two-door cooler that we could have used in the farm store or the hay bale spear for the back of the tractor. Then there are the cute little puppies…. Well, let’s not go into cute little puppies. I probably don’t need one.
At times you look and look for something that is never there. Occasionally, the stars align and you suddenly find something you’ve been searching for. Like our round baler. I didn’t see the notice until a few days after it was posted. It was exactly the baler I was looking for, and the price was right. I was certain it had already sold, but just had to call to confirm. “Yes, it’s still available,” the guy said. Crap! I was kind of hoping it was gone so I didn’t have to deal with it (or pay for it), but next thing I know I’m hauling a round baler with my Subaru from practically the Canadian border.
We have been looking for an undercounter commercial dishwasher for a while. No urgency, but if we can someday get our own creamery at the farm then we will need one. Recently, one turned up on Craigslist. Not too old and only used to clean -wait for it- milk jars. What? How is this possible? Naturally, we had to get it even though I’ve no idea when we’ll be able to use it. At 80% savings on a new model there just wasn’t a choice. It’s now sitting in the garage, waiting until we can get the rest of the creamery pieces together.
Maybe I’ll just take a quick look now, while I’m thinking about it, to make sure I don’t miss any amazing opportunities….
PS – if you happen to come across some Basset or Bloodhound puppies, please let me know. We need one of those. Obviously! You know, for the farm.
I just picked Naomi up at the airport. A high school senior, she’s required to give two weeks of community service. Somehow, she chose our community. Even more unlikely, she convinced her parents to fly her 2000 miles to the east coast. She’s crazy about cows. Tomorrow she’ll meet some up close.
We’ll show her how to milk, how to put up CSA bags, restock the store. She’ll help out in the creamery making ice cream, labeling pints, filling milk jugs, cleaning up (haha!) and doing “quality control.” She’ll get her hands dirty putting young plants in the soil, watering and covering them with thin cloth to keep them warm during the cold night. We have more fencing to do, layers still to move into their mobile field coop, the veggie equipment storage area to whitewash. Of course, she should ride shotgun on a CSA delivery or two to see how that works as well as experience the ever greener Vermont countryside. Being from central CA she doesn’t see a lot of green.
If you happen to see her, please say hello!
Randy Robar, co-owner of Kiss the Cow Farm