The best animal on our farm is Jenny the barn cat. She came to us 13 years ago, pregnant, and had to be at least two years old at that time. She has seen several generations of goats come and go, and outlasted most of them, as well as three dogs. She never asks for a thing, except for a full bowl of crunchies. When her bowl is empty, she will gently remind me with just a look. She has given us six kittens, lots of loving, and squeaky purrs. She never complains, always comes home, and loves to show off the hot snacks she catches around the barn. This winter, perhaps I will allow her to come in from the cold. After all, we are both old and gray, and the winters are getting colder.
I have to admit that I am a little puzzled at the new excitement surrounding eating locally. This is what I have done all my adult life. This is my family legacy modelled to me by my grandmother, who raised a large family during the depression and wartime, and continued by my uncle on the farm in NH. I can’t remember the last Thanksgiving we ate a turkey purchased other than from the local turkey farm or grown on ours. One of my greatest pleasures in life is to sit down to a meal grown totally by us or by our friends and family. I got into a huge argument last summer with a man at farmers’ market who insisted that I must go to the grocery store for something, and all I could come up with was detergent, olive oil and salt. And even salt I could get locally.
Worried about food contamination? Eat local.
Worried about disruption to the food supply caused by weather extremes? Eat local.
Worried about real flavor in your food? Eat local.
Worried about your carbon footprint? Eat local.
What a difference a week makes! From five inches of snow and obscenely cold temperatures, to 70 degrees, shirtsleeves and crocus blooming. The bees were swarming in the crocus yesterday, which valiantly took up where they left off three weeks ago when the snow buried them. The goats are lying around, soaking up the sun. My wonderful apprentice Louella did not run screaming when the power went out during the storm, and we had to hand milk for a day.
Maybe I’ll make it after all.
April 13, five more inches of snow. April 15, snow and rain. April 16, wind and rain and power outage. April 17, snow and rain. April 18, rain. Will this nightmare ever end???