A Grateful Heart(h)

Reflections on a Farm Thanksgiving

blackandwhitekarina.jpbby Laura Parker Roerden

A few things we are grateful for:

The long shadows of late fall, which ask us to look at things differently.eggshadow03

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We sometimes come home to find handmade gifts from customers—from Richard McCaffrey’s delicious cookies, to home dried sea salt, to preserves and the apron Brenda Marshall made for me for egg collecting. Feeding others is like a long handshake with people you come to care deeply about.

Mersalt

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That chickens can turn table scraps back into food.

 

chickenseatingtoms

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That dirt and poop coexist with the more gentile and lovely aspects of living is no surprise to most people. But to intimately know how things that nurture us are created by the unsavory outputs of living can change your life view.

threecows

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Hands long-gone have left barns, stonewalls, manure buckets and other gifts that keep giving.

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The chickens roost at about my head height in our coop. Their disembodied sounds in the dark form a line on both of my sides, which helps me to navigate the dark shoals of the room the way ancient mariner might have used the sound of a particular bird in a fog to know they were closing in on land.

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Hidden treasures such as this clutch of eggs found in an un-used barn remind us that our blessings sometimes go unclaimed.

 

hiddeneggs

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Plenty of room at the inn means we can say ‘yes’ to take in friend’s baby goats and rescue an abused cow from an animal hoarder. There is no greater privilege than being in the position to help.

Goats

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That people show up in a hundred different ways when we need help, from Evan Maietta and the farm campers, to local farmers, to handy friends, makes me appreciate the barn raising that modern living should be, but often is not.

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Though the work is hard and the pay can be low, in the right light there is hardly anything more beautiful than kneeling in the dirt.

Photo by farm intern Anja Semanco, 2012.

Photo by farm intern Anja Semanco, 2012.

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Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Jo-Erl Farm to you and your loved ones!

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