You get more cautious over time. For example, it takes me a while to work up the courage and enthusiasm for moving to a farmhouse of an occasional traveling companion. Make that landlord. Or something. It's true, too, that I'm going to hesitate about forging ahead with projects that involve others, even if “others” means animals. Isis continues to have limited access to the farmhouse, I continue to be skeptical about raising chickens or goats or pretty much anything that lives and breathes.
And, too, we’re both hesitant about turning over some of the land at the farmette to truck farmers.
Our neighbors have done it. On two sides we have Hmong farmers growing market crops now for the third summer in a row. But these are vast stretches of farmland and the owners live a ways away. Then, across the road, a few hundred yards west, a neighbor (is he a neighbor if he lives a quarter of a mile away?) contracts directly with five farmers who grow beautiful rows of the most in demand market crops – peas, berries, asparagus – just at the side of his home.
So why not hand over half the farmette land to farmers? Why not? Oh, so many reasons. And so we mull and consider and ask questions.
It’s a good day to think and speculate.
A day that begins with a heavy fog advisory.
I take the bike out just after sunrise. It’s quiet on the country roads. I watch turkeys pick on the cornfields and deer reach for the young leaves on overhanging trees.
The fields and meadows are still now. Except for the occasional bird.
Afternoon. We visit our “neighbor” and talk about turning grasslands – easy, free flowing, prairie like and pretty grasslands – into farmland.
I set standards – he tells us. No garbage. No heavy machinery. Gotta have insurance. I give water, I provide shelter for their tillers. You have to want to do this for reasons other than collecting a fee.
Yes, we understand that.We're not going to get into it for the money.
In the afternoon, we go to my condo. I don’t want to go inside, but I forgot to hand over the mailbox key. Ed volunteers to take it upstairs.
We run into my condo neighbors – and maybe I never mentioned this, but they are my all time favorite neighbors ever. And I have had, in my life, a lot of neighbors. I come upstairs, because visiting with them is worth it. We talks farms and wine and dogs and, well, stuff. Ah well... you can’t continue to live in a place because your next door neighbors are superb.
It’s late. We approach the farmette from the backside. I often see deer here and this time is no different.
I tell Ed – if you cut into the fields just to the south, past the truck framers’ huts, you can get a sense of what they grow and how they tend to the land. Ed swings the old Geo into the dirt path. It’s a wet day and the lane is slick with mud. I have no traction – Ed says. We are nearly spinning in the fields. Trying hard to not harm anything. Clumps of mud hit the windshield. Hard going. Another thing to add to the list of considerations: how to get close to the farmed land.
We’re home. Isis is there, in the driveway. Earlier in the day, I’d seen a chipmunk attack a squirrel right in that spot. The squirrel won. Maybe, in the end, Isis won. He seems in control. Doesn’t deliberate, hesitate, mull things over. He just is. One can envy that.