18 July 2017

2017 Trip to the Farm

 This year’s retreat was earlier than usual, and our visit to Northland Sheep Dairy was long overdue. We visit the farming sect of the family only once a year, and each time, being intheir presence rejuvenates us and recharges the batteries!!! While our region of the mid-Atlantic has been hazy, hot, humid, and dry, the Marathon New York region has been lately sloshing with rain.

Firefighter of the year...so proud of this guy!
This meant that the gathering of hay has been preempted for other things. Like baking, milking, and entertaining the visiting guests (that's us). So, we didn’t get to help with bailing and tossing into the new barn. Our first bit of fantastic news was that brother, farmer, climber, mule skinner, and fireman Donn, was just awarded Fire Fighter of the Year.

Oh My Gawd, the New Barn
(view 360 google map)

Check out the Google Maps 360 image of the barn (interior)...it's so cool
Last fall, our family farmers—with the help of several friends and the Amish farmers in the community, built a traditional Amish-style barn on the property, featuring the historic Ohio Truss system. Brother-in-law, Donn has worked with the Amish in the area in building (something like) 15 barns in the past, and this was his turn. This is how their society works; everyone helps everyone else, and when it’s your turn, everyone turns up!

There are no written/drawn plans for these barns...amazing
 During the build, there were dozens of sub-15-year old boys balanced in the eaves, placing and hammering the roof supports. I had to take a full 360 photograph of the interior. More news, there is a beautiful and effective new sheep dog, Lacie, to help out Jack—the veteran—with his herding duties. She is a sweetie.

We happy-houred with the farmers, dined out in Cortland, helped in berry pie production, and lunched with my good friend, Baltimore ex-pat, by way of California and New York—and current Cornell doctoral student, Jayme. Plus, she’s a beautiful, spirited, funny, adorable, passionate, and just goddamn awesome woman. She led us to tacos and beer on a 4 hour visit with her and her doggie in Ithaca.

As usual, the place has the most expressive sunrises and dramatic fog banks that roll into the valleys.

In past years we've chased the ducks, and helped to herd...with the help of the working dogs and professional farmers, of course. We even helped out with the haying (making hay). This was the most grueling and rigorous work I'd ever done, and it's amazing to see the moving pieces that go into making farm life work. There's a routine, and rhythm to everything that goes on... without this rhythm, things don't work. We got to see this particularly during this trip. We helped--or attempted to help move the small flock of goats and rams from the upper field to a paddock. It went smoothly.

The animals followed hubby and I happily, and then at the last minute, as we were nearing the finish line, they all turned toward the adjacent woods.

After much barking and farmers cajoling (and even some attempted food bribery) the animals had to be placed back in the original field. They'd try the move again, the next day.

Our contribution to the berry pie...picking and eating

There was quite a bit of this (cocktails are just out of frame)

These two have the BEST kitchen for cooking and entertaining (and selfies)
Until next year...

Lacie, the sheep dog.

Hubby fell absolutely in love with their newest working dog, Lacie... I warned him that Daisy might be less than nonplussed if she got a whiff of another sweet pup on our clothes.  

Check out our past Trips to Northland Sheep Dairy: