When I left my job to embark on this adventure, I did so ostensively with the idea that I wanted my labor to be concentrated in an effort to contribute good to the world. That has by and large been the case. What I hadn’t expected was just how much labor I had to give.
Since arriving at the farm, I’veplayed the role of cheese maker, cow herder, lumber jack, miller, plum picker, and general gardner.
Whrn Cleona and I ran out of things to do yesterday afternoon, we consulted my Polish dictionary and crafted a sentence to ask Babci: “Czy my plemy w ogro’d?” Which I’m reasonably sure means “can we weed in the garden?” since the garden is where she led us with instructions to rip up the tomato plants that had not performed well this season. Later she returned with a couple baskets and a ladder and led us to the plum tree laden with fruit. Ever the dutiful servant, I climbed right into the middle of the tree and got to it, while Babci scurried around the base eating fruit and telling me “No! No! No!” Her body language led me to believe that this didn’t mean what I thought especially since I knew “no” in Polish was “Nie.” Sure enough, “No! No! No!” means “Yes! Yes! Yes!” Try to get your heads around that one.
Today, I turned forty wheels of cheese and scrubbed them with salt water. Also turned the milk that we had just taken from the cows and goats into cheese curds and starting forming them into wheels. I’m pretty sure the “cheeserie” would not meet many American health codes.
Also today, I got in touch with my inner lumber jack wielding an ax and chain saw in an effor to make firewood. (All human limbs remained intact, while the wood was decimated.)
Finally, we cleaned out the goat barn, gave the cows one more milking (cows are really big, incidentally), and fed the left over cheese water to the calves.
I think about what I would have accomplished on a Tuesday a few weeks ago and am ashamed by the thought of how much less I would have done, how much less significant what I did do was, and how much better I was compensated. There’s something fundamentally wrong with our economic system when basic food production has to be subsidized by the government and friendly neighbors to continue operations while superfluous economic ventures support gluttonous consumer lifestyles.
I’m working on pictures, seriously. I’ll also try to be a bit more reflective, less descriptive in the future.