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Farmer in Winter


When rumor has it the Nor’easter to end all Nor’easters is rearing up its head, bread and milk are always first to go at the grocery store.  Canned goods take a major hit, too:  Chunky soup and Ham n’ beans and spam spam spam.  Not the undesirable stuff that infiltrates your e-mail in box, the stuff you eat.   Like air borne frisbees, the frozen pizzas go zinging out of their upright display freezers.  Ogling the decimated grocery shelves during the calm before the storm, the tardy consumer must rely on something called survivor’s imagination to peace together a meal from the meager selection:  torn open bags of lentils, a leaky container of butter milk.   Dented cans of hairball formula cat food in abundance, yes, but… here the late comer shrieks at an apocalyptic vision:  Cripes!  Don’t tell me I’m going to be chowing on a casserole of lentils and hair ball formula cat food as the snow drifts higher than my chimney? 

Here at the farm, where we produce our own groceries, the uncooperative weather has surely forced one tomato farmer to be a multi-tasker.   The tractor broke down in the middle of a snowy field.


One amputated tire had to be evacuated by sled:


Inside the barn, Maisey delivered her calf a month earlier than the veterinarian predicted she would, so farmer Tim hunkered down in the cold and milked Maisey while Ricardo the calf, glutted on the same milk, rested:


With milk in abundance, the stove is kept busy with cheese production.   Ricotta curds: 


And mozzarella curds:


Tractor repair man, milker, fromagere.  The farmer also needs to be a carpenter: 


No, this isn’t a stage set for a Lobachsville version of “Little House on the Prairie”.  In spite of the vagaries of the weather, the bread oven is enclosed at last!   And as you can see from the smoke chuffing out of the chimney, old man winter hasn’t put a damper on bread production at the farm. 

In March, we are planning to plant red fife wheat, a spring wheat that bakes up into some mighty fine bread.   We will also need to get one of Oley Valley’s old mills up and running so we can grind our red fife into flour of the quality our Colonial forbears once enjoyed.  A free loaf of bread for the first person to guess the name of this mill:


Here is a hint:  An unlikely candidate for improvement any time soon, she stands beside the mighty Manatawny, proud in all her slowly crumbling glory, anchoring our past the way the coliseum anchors the Roman past, her musty insides exhaling so much history that we can only guess at… 

The many hats worn by the new, twenty first century multi taskin’ farmer:  Tractor repair man, milker, fromagere, baker, miller, story teller…

Yet another Nor’easter to be hurdled with spring on the horizon.  And tons of skiing and sledding and snowboarding to get in before those hearty asparagus tips begin poking through the once frozen earth.  If you can’t fight it, join it! 

Rest assured, members.   You don’t have to elbow somebody out of the way for that last bag of spinach.  And your spinach, like the carrots accompanying them, are sweeter than any imported from the balmier climes of California.  Freshly baked bread is plentiful, too.  Just pick up your bag before the snow starts to fall.  And read my lips:  No dented cans of hairball formula cat food in your shares this week!  

2 thoughts on “Farmer in Winter

  1. I think it is called the Griesemer mill – right down the road from me. Exciting!! Would love to see this mill restored to it’s former glory.

  2. Weidner Mill on Manatawny Creek

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