30 September 2010

Family farm. Father and daughter

Family farm

There's a reason they call them family farms. They are about family. They've worked together almost their whole lives, and family is the centerpiece of the farm. Later tonight, I want to write about the rythyms of the family farm.

Today, the silo

Rain, mud and a broken bracket

Judy, helping her father fix the silo

Judy graduated from college eight years ago and Ed says she came to him, and said, "look, I'll do the milking and you do the rest." Ed smiles, and says, "I wasn't going to say no." They are a team, working together, moving smoothly from one crisis to another. Judy is competent, strong and calm. I'm learning that on family farm's, crises are the norm.

Sick animals, broken pipes, busted tractors. This morning when I called, Michelle said something in the silo had broken. It was a bracket. I got there just after Ed and Judy and Marie had fixed it, and Judy was uncharacteristically smiling. When she works, she is all business. The rain had been torrential, and we were all walking in a sea of mud. I keep forgetting to bring my boots.

Going to the farm at 5 a.m. Friday when it is supposed to be raining heavily and with high winds. Hope there's some light.

Ready for the storm

Ready for the rain

The weather reports are border on hysteria, as usual – 6 to 12 inches of rain, tonight and tomorrow, severe winds – so on the farm, the rule is always this: take care of the animals first. So Lenore and I went up to the Pole Barn to put a bale of hay in the feeder, and extra food out for the cats,  so the animals can stay inside. The donkeys and the sheep checked out Lenore, and they all worked it out, and, soaked to the bone, we came down to the farmhouse. I hope to go to the Rouse farm this afternoon to get some rain shots. What a mess that will be. And I'm going to get Maria's mom and bring her to the farm for the rain. Candles are out. If the forecasts are out, the Internet might go out, but the good thing about being on a hill is that the rain keeps going down hill.

Got to get some good rain shots.

Rain, rain

Feeding time

Getting 10-12 inches of rain tonight and tomorrow. Got hay out to the donkeys, putting food out for the barn cats, going to get Maria's mom so she can hole up on the farm. Might lose power and Internet. We are ready. I hope to go to the Rouse farm this afternoon to get some good messy rain shots. Thelifeof the farmer. Rain on a farm meets making sure the animals are okay, and then hunkering down.

29 September 2010

Judy to the office

Milking time

Michelle Rouse runs into the house when she sees me pull up. She never thinks she's ready to be photographed. Judy never blinks or flinches at the camera. She looks right at the lens every time, almost daring me to take a photo. She is heading to the office, ready to milk some cows. Judy is going to be her own series of notecards. The first batch, "Celebrating The Family Farm," is for sale at Redux and will soon be up for viewing on the Redux website. I am taking all of the notecards on the book tour and will be selling them to bring awareness to the plight of family farmers and to raise some money for farm aid. I'll start October 8 at Northshire Books, Manchester, Vt., the "Rose In A Storm" book tour kickoff. I'll be bringing them across the country as long as they last.

Makes the book tour even better.