05 August 2013

Our Annual Trip to the Farm

The edge of nowhere…that’s what it feels like at midnight when you look up at the sky and you see a million stars overhead. We’re spending the weekend at the Northland Sheep Dairy in Marathon, New York with the in-laws, their sheep, horses, chickens, pigs, ducks, and working dogs. This is our annual summer trip to get away from the city and spend time with family; farmers, Donn and Mary Rose.

We drove a four hours from Baltimore and arrived in time to catch the evening milking of the sheep, happy hour, and dinner.  The awesome thing about these farmers is that they are also world-class chefs. Mary Rose made a simple meal of lamb kabobs followed up by a succulent dessert.

Post-dinner, we worked on a couple bottles of wine then ambled off to bed. After about an hour we crept outside to look up at the stars and wonder at our place in the universe. We, all of us are so microscopically small by comparison 

In the morning we woke at our usual time and the farmers were up and preparing for the day already. That’s 5am to you. Then we caught sunrise and got to participate in moving the lambies from the field across the road. This was a mere half mile away. And we got to play shepherds to two wayward lambs who got separated from the flock. Eventually their summer intern, Scott, came and helped us take the stressed animals back to the farm. Hubby and he picked them up and carried 'em for part of the way. Fun stuff.

In that project we learned that some of the flock were sickened by a common parasite and needed to be given medicine. So, I snapped a few photos of that and then went to read the Times. Then I remembered why the liberal media sometimes makes me mad… I may rant about that later on my graphic design blog.

On night number two we hit the town of Cortland and dined at a popular town pub for burgers and fries then we hit the most adorable dive bar called Penny's $.01 Pub... wnd played pool and drank cheap beer until it was completely out of our systems.  The pool game was my idea.
Each year we make this trip and play mini-golf as our second evening entertainment. I'm not a big fan and generally dread that part of the trip each year. It’s hard for me to explain, but I suck at sucking at things, and can never get past losing...so I suggested pool to set the precedent for doing something different. Thank gawd they all bought it. We shot 4 games and moved on back home.

Another evening under the stars—with the lambies close enough to see their glowing eyes as we shined a light across the flock. I counted 4 shooting stars and hubby counted three more. Then we hopped in bed and passed out.

We got a beautiful belated-wedding present from the farmers, a gigantic sheep skin to add a rustic flair to our new home..doesn't it look fantastic?! Each year, this proves to be one of my favorite family  visits--we had an awesome time ... we’ll come back for Thanksgiving--I get to eat more meat than I normally do and the family gets to see the farm in it's autumn glory for a few days.

Good stuff. Enjoy the mini photo album:
As the farm is literally horse-powered, Donn builds his knowledge,
and skill by helping out other farmers with repairing their horse-powered
machinery too. He's got a growing Amish clientele.

I skipped the farmer's breakfast in favor for a duck
egg on toast. Scroll through to see the duck who laid this...

The interns, Scott and Paul, built a hoop
house to grow their own crops for sale
at a local farmer's market.

This year Donn and Mary Rose added a mixed
flock of fowl to the farm's animals. These chicks and
ducks are all about 2 mos. old--and thick as thieves.

Intern, Scott prepares to strap these two workhorses
to the manure spreader. He's been there all summer.

Donn talked me into taking my first ride on
the manure spreader... this view was preferable
to the huge trough of manure at my back...

Eddie, the mule sired the three, shiny, young
donkeys pictured. They all spent the early morning
hours sunning themselves outside the main barn...

Breakfast made possible by this surly duckie.