What does one say about life on the farm when the world surrounding it seems so fragile and threatened and out of control? The farm has always been my psychological refuge, and by retreating here this week I have enjoyed a sense of relatively greater physical safety than I had in the City in these pandemic times. Though being here offers great comfort, the realities are such that it does not erase the sense of foreboding.
Being just at the beginning of a cataclysmic process that will affect everyone, and is so full of uncertainties, one searches for signs of hope. We’ve had some such signs today. One friend who has been fighting the cough and other symptoms associated with COVID-19 at home on his own, reported feeling considerably better. My friend, Eric, just learned that a friend of his, who has been in the ICU in a hospital in Perth, Australia, since his return there from New York last week, has stabilized. His numbers are improving and he is communicating with his worried friends here. And in the life of the farm there is hope as well. This morning, Beignet, one of the twin lambs that Theodora gave birth to yesterday, was standing pertly next to his sister, Sucette, small and skinny compared to her but holding his own and reaching for Theodora’s udder. He was delicate and weak at birth, and Theodora had mastitis, reducing her to one functional teat for the two lambs. Sucette was dominating that teat. Beignet seemed at high risk, but now seems also to have turned the corner.
Beignet was lucky to have the expert ministrations of Troy, who treated his mother’s mastitis and kept him warm and fed until he was strong enough to make it on his own. And Eric’s friend similarly benefited from expert professional care in Australia, where there is universal health coverage system and a sound strategy in place to respond to such emerging threats. I have fear that our weak and overstretched medical infrastructure, in which planning for such pandemics was not given high priority despite knowledge of the risks, is not going to be able to provide hope for such outcomes in all cases. Will everyone who contracts COVID-19 get as much personal attention and appropriate treatment as little Beignet did?
Obviously intense mobilization and effort will be required to promote positive outcomes. The signs of hope we had today,are not much more reassuring than the promises President Trump made two weeks ago. All are as evanescent as the rainbow that appeared over our field this afternoon. Much more is going to be required of us: educating ourselves to what is known about COVID-19; maintaining social distance and good hygiene to avoid transmission; reaching out creatively so the required isolation is less overwhelming; helping our small businesses survive; and pressing our political leaders to act boldly to protect the most vulnerable. All of which I ponder, as Eric recites to me in his native French the lyrics of “un parfum de fin du monde. ” To snuff out that scent of the end of the world, we will have to participate and act in ways we are not accustomed to acting.
We are not living here like it’s the end of the world. We are enjoying the evening meal together. We are delighting in watching Eric’s dog, Lillie, get to know all the animals on the farm (see pic of Lillie encountering pig Possum from a safe social distance). We are taking long walks with little fear of exposure.
I recognize that it is a privilege to go through a semi-isolation with family, Troy and Victoria, and with my friend, Eric, in a bucolic setting where social distancing is not really a challenge. But I recognize too that we have a corresponding obligation, to produce food at a time when it may become scarce, to do it safely, and to make it available, especially to those who find themselves in need. We each need to consider how we can play a productive role: along with self protection, should come self-reflection.
“Dis, m’en veut surtout pas si ma chanson a un parfum de fin du monde.
Dis, on se reverra un café désert / sans les cafés, les gares / comment faire pour se retrouver demain”
WHAT’S NEW THIS WEEK:
Like you, we are less focused on the emerging daffodils than on the present threats. But we continue to be here to provide you with our produce. And we do so in our customary way of taking your order by phone or email and setting in out on the porch for pickup, so no social encounter is necessary. We have always done business this way. In the coronavirus age many other businesses, including the beloved store Otto’s in Germantown, are adopting this model.
WHAT’S AVAILABLE THIS WEEK
Tiny hot matchbox peppers, $5.00 a string, dried and quite decorative.
Fresh dug horseradish root, $3/lb.
EGGS: $5/doz, $3/doz (fun size)
MEATS: We keep some on hand, but it helps to order ahead in case we need to retrieve from our stash in the big commercial freezer. See below.
GEESE: One remaining, about 8.5 lbs. $10/lb.
ROASTING CHICKENS – Nice fat Freedom Rangers, frozen, largish (4 to 7 lbs, a few smaller), $6/lb.
LAMB: WRiblets $8/lb, small and larger leg roasts $14/lb, Ground lamb $7/lb, small loin chops, $14/lb.
PORK: Loin pork chops, $12/lb (2 to a pack, btwn 1 and 1.5 lbs),
Spare ribs and country ribs $7/lb
baby back ribs $8/lb
fresh ham roasts (2 to 3 lbs), $12/lb
smoked bacon, $12/lb
Email us your order at email@example.com, and let us know when you’d like to pick up your order. It will be put out for you on the side screened porch of the farmhouse (110 Lasher Ave., Germantown) in a bag. You can leave cash or a check in the now famous pineapple on the porch table. Regular pickup times are Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., other days by arrangement. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call at 518-537-3815 or email.