2 September

Blue Moon. You Heard Me Saying A Prayer For.

by Jon Katz
Blue Moon

This is the week of the “Blue Moon,” and you can see it from my front yard, from my beautiful and magical farm, Bedlam Farm. The way to see it is to take my telephoto lens out and catch it coming over the green mountains in nearby Vermont. And the best way to appreciate it is to be in love, or want to be,  and to listen to three versions of “Blue Moon.” My favorite is by Ella Fitzgerald, my second favorite is by the Cowboy Junkies, and my third favorite version is an early one by Frank Sinatra.

The Blue Moon is a crooner’s drink, because it is a song of hope and promise, written in the time of love songs, before love became old-fashioned. Of answered prayers.

It is a personal song for me, the other way to see it. I took my camera and Red out behind the Studio Barn and I talked back to the Blue Moon just as it popped up through the misty night. Blue Moon, I said, you saw me standing alone, without a dream in my heart, and without a love of my own. Blue Moon, I sang, you heard me saying a prayer for,

someone I could really care for.

And then, I whispered to the Blue Moon, as Red watched me curiously and some small creatures skitted away through the grass, and Mother the ever-watchful barn cat appeared out of nowhere to listen to me talk and keep me company and the crickets and frogs joined in the chorus.

And then I sang this, in a low and soft voice, my voice gravelly and unsure:

Blue Moon, there suddenly appeared before me,

the only one my arms will hold,

I heard somebody whisper please adore  me,

And when I looked to the moon it turned to gold.

Thanks, Blue Moon.

2 September

Ajay The Messenger

by Jon Katz
Ajay The Messenger

Joseph Campbell says that if you are on the hero journey, people, animals and other helpers appear to help you and guide you along the way. Ajay Rubin is a total stranger, or was until he moved into our new farm a week ago to watch over it until we move in and help us with the work that needs to be done.

Ajay has started tearing down the collapsed barn. He moved three cords of firewood into the woodshed. He just uncovered another treasure, a slate patio – see below. He is clearing our existing barn of junk and wood to make room for the hay coming tomorrow. Ajay is a pilgrim, a messenger. Like me, he came to the country to find himself. Like me, he is drawn to rural life in many ways. He is searching for his way in the world.

I am fortunate in many respects. One of them is that I wanted to be a writer since I was five years old, and knew that is what I would be. I have never wanted to be anything else, never was distracted by any other choice. It took me a while to get established, but I’ve been a full-time writer for nearly thirty years, and I intend to go out as one. Ajay is wrestling with the nature of modern life – its complexity, technological pressures, corporate intrusions and political disconnections. He wants to have something to do with a farm, but has no idea yet what that would be. He is 30 and he has time to figure it out. He is on the hero journey also and our paths have crossed.

We are fortunate to have him. He is easy-going, funny,  honest, hard-working.  I am older, of course, and a parent, and I almost instantly began worrying about Ajay and wondering where he might land. He has been adrift for nearly a decade. But I can only be a friend, not a parent. I have learned this lesson.

Ajay would be a good worker for anybody. He will find his place in the world, in his own time. Like me, he has come here for a reason, and with a message and it will reveal itself in its own time.

Ajay’s discovery – Slate Patio
2 September

Common Sense And The Barn

by Jon Katz

There is a religious community in Cambridge, N.Y. known as Common Sense Farm, and when the community first moved to the area, it made people nervous. Some people called it a “cult,” and I remember referring to it that way myself. People are wary of anything too different. The group settled into the area, opened up a cafe, a vegetable stand and sometimes the community turns out to help people with tasks. We are struggling to do all of the things we need to do to move into the new farm – fences, animal shelter, Maria’s studio, electricity, plumbing, roof, a hundred small things – and there is not a lot of time or money to do all of them.

I called Common Sense and some very nice and eager people came over to the barn, including Devon. They love taking down old barns and recycling the wood, metal and anything else they can find and use. We are working on a deal. They will take the metal and wood they want for free, they will take down the barn, and I will pay them something for their labor. I’ll get a dumpster to haul away the broken glass and other un-recyclable materials and then we will dig a burn hole and do a controlled burn with the unusable wood. This will free Ben up to work on Maria’s studio and the shelter for the donkeys and sheep.

The experience has reminded me once again to not view people as strange or alien because they live differently than I do. I am excited about working with Common Sense. Maria and I felt completely at ease with their ideas and their sense of values about the work they do.

It seems like a complex chess game to me – so many different parts, so many telephone calls. It has taken me a week to track down a farmer with 200 square bales of hay. We are bargaining over price. Hopefully, I’ll get it into Rocky’s barn tomorrow. Most of it is going up in the hayloft. Next week, construction starts on the fences. I am chasing down the electrician and the cable company.

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