Goodbye to the Farm (Final Photo Essay)

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It is often the rejected, unposted, and discarded photos on your phone or camera that tell the true story of your life. After spending more than four months living on the farm, I have tons of leftover shots. Here are the photos that never quite fit into an album or didn’t seem relevant at the time. Now I realize that they each tell a perfect story of The Wolfestead. Enjoy!

BOOKS

One of my favorite things about the farm was coming to a house that was full of books. There was a wide variety of books in almost every room. It’s been a while since I was in a house like that. In three months I picked my way through The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie the Pooh, Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, and a lot of Shel Silverstein. Jarrett lent me the Gnostic Bible. There wasn’t enough time to read everything I wanted, so I ended up borrowing Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, and Rudyard Kipling.

As much as I love my Kindle, some texts (i.e. poetry) are just better page-flippers. Since I can’t carry a respectable book collection in the RV, I have taken to memorizing many of my favorite poets so I can keep them near my heart, always.

So far I can recite:

  • Sonnet 18 by Shakesphere
  • Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
  • Invictus by William Ernest Henley
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  • If by Rudyard Kipling
  • There is pleasure in the pathless woods by George Byron

I roll over their phrases on my runs, on our long drives, or just any time I feel like it. Even better than reading them on a page is the act of reciting them from memory out loud to an audience of trees deep in the woods. It shows the trees that the paper-skins of their ancestors were not all disgracefully turned into bills and junk mail. Some of them still hold words that move men.

I am currently memorizing A.A. Milne:

Spring Morning

Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
Down to the stream where the king-cups grow-
Up on the hill where the pine-trees blow-
Anywhere, anywhere. I don’t know.

Where am I going? The clouds sail by,
Little ones, baby ones, over the sky.
Where am I going? The shadows pass,
Little ones, baby ones, over the grass.

If you were a cloud, and sailed up there,
You’d sail on water as blue as air,
And you’d see me here in the fields and say:
“Doesn’t the sky look green today?”

Where am I going? The high rooks call:
“It’s awful fun to be born at all.”
Where am I going? The ring-doves coo:
“We do have beautiful things to do.”

If you were a bird, and lived on high,
You’d lean on the wind when the wind came by,
You’d say to the wind when it took you away:
“That’s where I wanted to go today!”

Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
What does it matter where people go?
Down to the wood where the blue-bells grow-
Anywhere, anywhere. I don’t know.

EGGS

When “going out for breakfast” means walking outside and picking your eggs directly from a hen’s behind, you know you’re doing well for yourself. We had buckets of eggs at our fingertips: both chicken and duck. The hens were laying 30-40 eggs when we left, and those numbers were only going up. Several of the eggs were sold via Nate and Mel, but a lot of them ended up in our bellies. We’ll miss these colorful eggs and the gorgeous hen-ladies they come out of.

FOOD

The food sources at The Wolfestead were impressive. The canned veggies from the garden were my favorite (asparagus, beets, and pickles!), but the protein sources were also booming. The bunnies were being sold as both meat and pets and the first batch was culled shortly after we left. Nate went out as often as possible during hunting season, but we didn’t score any meat this year. I included a photo of a delicious burger Shack cooked up for me.

WOOD

Gathering, stacking, and chopping wood was my favorite physical activity on the farm. I loved hauling that stuff off the mountain. Some of those logs were pushing 50lbs each–difficult but rewarding work. The goats were huge fans of the high wood piles, which they used for hill repeats. When we first came to the farm, Shack helped Nate climb a tree to free up another tree that had been caught on the way down. We couldn’t do it, but we kept trying every so often, always unsuccessfully. Shortly after we left there was a storm that finally blew it to the ground.

SNOW

Aaaaaand the SNOW. Who can forget the snow? It was a brutal winter and although I had a blast in the snow for the first couple of months, near the end it started getting old. As long as I could get outside, I was golden; when the terrain and temps made that impossible, I was restless. Still, the views were spectacular in the desolate woods and I often felt like I was in a winter wonderland. California boy Shacky stuck it out like a trooper–I was so impressed with his winter resilience.

“Only he can understand what a farm is, what a country is, who shall have sacrificed part of himself to his farm or country, fought to save it, struggled to make it beautiful. Only then will the love of the farm or country fill his heart.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A million thanks to Nate & Mel Wolfe for hosting us, sharing their animals, and teaching me how to shoot a gun.

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You May Also Enjoy:

Life, Death, and a Goat Having a Seizure

Winter Life on a Homestead (Photo Essay)

Stronger Now

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3 responses

  1. This was amazing to read. :) I wish I could have met you while you were there, but as you mentioned… the weather was just horrible. My little car didn’t like the road much on the one nice (albeit wet) day I went out there, so there’s no way I would have made it in the winter.

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