>Farm Tour, part 2

>Aaaaand we’re back. Moving on from the strawberry patch, we venture out into the cow pasture. Watch out for, er, manure patches.

This is most of the herd, converted from the dairy fleet that the Collins kept for thirty years. Now they’re raised for meat, which we sell along with the produce on the local market.

These are the calves that were born this summer. The black one in the middle has grown quite a bit since the first part of the tour! (That’s virtual reality for you – the time dimension doesn’t always line up.)

This is the hay field, which was just cut before the photo was taken. A neighboring farmer baled it for us and we picked it all up and put it in the barn. With the help of the Collins’ sons I learned how to drive a tractor and how not to stack hay bales, and earned myself three red blisters for the effort. Turns out lifting 100 pounds of hay by thin pieces of baling twine a few dozen times is tough on an ex-city-person’s fingers.

This is the hay field that was cut earlier in the summer, now hosting a flock of real Canadians (geese!). Behind them are three huge cottonwood trees, probably some of the biggest on the island according to some forestry people who paid a visit recently.

We just hiked all the way back across the fields and returned to the garden. These sunflowers are grown for the market, where they’re sold along with the cosmos and dahlias here. Although Andrea and I first considered flowers an almost criminally useless thing to grow, we have conceded that they really are quite pretty (and, as Ann points out, people buy them).

Tour guests Jordan and Madison, aged 7 and 4, stop for a photo with some tomatoes they found in the greenhouse before heading up to see the pigs living in the pen beside the barn.

Henrietta and Hernia, the two pigs who swam the river. They’re a lot bigger now but excitable as ever. Hernia earned his name by herniating part of his intestine through his belly button. They usually running a lap or two around their pen whenever people come to see them, and they go crazy rolling in the mud pit in the middle of their pen.

The pigs love berries, potatoes, and being scratched on the back. Turn on the hose on a hot day and they’ll go hog wild, so to speak, frolicking like pups and grunting the whole time. (The pigs are probably my favorite, so please avoid discussion of bacon at this point in the tour.)

Hernia: “Pigs are smarter than dogs.”
Carmen: “Well, at least I don’t lie in mud all day and get fat.”
Hernia: “I hear your mother has fleas. Oink.”

And that concludes our farm tour. This view is from the far pasture (where we saw the geese). The property ends here at the river. You can just make out the house, the barn and the greenhouse beyond all that grass – about 40 acres of it. I still can’t believe I live here.
The farm is doing well and people are coming out to the market in far greater numbers than last year. For the time being, then, it seems this piece of paradise will stay paradisaical and continue producing food for the valley. Hope you enjoyed the tour.


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