comfort

A NICE SPOT FOR A REST

 

Having emerged on the other side of kidding season's busiest week—still standing, if a little wobbly—we decided that our only day off together in weeks would be for one thing only: Rest. We slept until our bodies woke us at the luxurious hour of eight (!); and then parked ourselves, along with our trusty french press, on the couch for the remainder of the morning. A hot water bottle (outfitted in Sam's latest woolen creation: a turtle-neck cover, knit with yarn that she bought from a sweet, elderly sheep herder at the Vermont Grazing and Livestock Conference) made a worthy companion for our sore muscles. A little later, a berry tart from a beloved cookbook provided more comfort yet. 

Even after a particular difficult stretch of work—during which we welcomed more than one hundred kids onto the farm, tended to several goats with health issues, and saw our days routinely stretch well over twelve hours—it is easy to be called to gratitude for all that we have. The work that we have to perform is meaningful to us, and this temporary state of weariness comes with an enduring sense of satisfaction. We are humble witnesses & facilitators of a rush of new life into the world and into our lives, and the challenges that manifest during that process are cause for even greater appreciation of when things do go well. 

This all goes without mentioning how incredible it is that we, as farmers, are even able to enjoy a day of rest together during a busy time. We are oh-so-aware that a consequence of realizing the dream of farming your own land is the death of the day off, as well as any other workplace-related benefits, for that matter. But the skilled hands around us now, together with the people who had the vision & gumption to start a farm-creamery business that employs people like us, make possible each treasured day of rest such as this. That such an occasion takes place alongside a warm fire, with food in the pantry, in a home that we love . . . it calls to mind a blessing that Sam's dad says before nearly every family meal:

"Thank you, thank you, thank you!"


—M

THE STATE OF THINGS + BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

 

My mind is ravenous and whirring, whirring, whirring. After weeks of sitting with a fire under my feet, I want to stay up forever and digest it—sending it from my feet, through my bones, out of my heart and onto the page. It comes in waves. That's writing for me, analogous to water: tepid, still, quiet for days or weeks on end. Then, as if tectonic plates are shifting beneath the ocean, a storm of waves brews with abandon and writing becomes near-compulsory. There is no way through the mire of my thoughts except to digest them through pen or keyboard. Where material comforts fail, writing becomes a soothing companion in times of impermanent change.

Of late, my day-to-day experiences are all to do with moving. Shifting between feeding baby goats in a perma-squat position to finding myself embracing a liberal amount of extroversion. From discerning the unknown months that lie ahead to practicing my stick shift driving on Vermont's winding roads. It's all happening, as Penny Lane says. The immensity of life's potential feels spiritual at times, cumbersome at others. I am currently experiencing the former, primarily, with doses of the latter. I have been spiritually grounded and uplifted. Funny how that works. 

Keeping perspective is a choice—one I often fail to choose, in truth. This go 'round, I am opting to be peacefully aware of life's ephemerality. This new outlook is no doubt informed by bearing witness to life and death on the farm. Speaking of things that come and go: buttermilk biscuits.

Buttermilk biscuits and slow coffee alongside my husband are the trappings of my perfect day. Total comfort. Comfort in the form of liberal pours of maple syrup and warmed honey, of a memorized recipe, of fat and acids mingling. While these photos and this day were many moons ago, in a place we no longer live, the sentiment of a small and intentional experience remains with me. These days I am delighting in a day-old goat learning to drink milk properly. Soon enough—be it here or there—I am sure to be delighting in buttermilk biscuits.

I use Local Milk's recipe for buttermilk biscuits. Sometimes I adjust the ingredients, but not often because it's a really good recipe. Hence why I am forgoing my own recipe. Just make hers!


—S