Agriculture: The Modern Family Farm

One of the joys of being a master procrastinator is that it provides so many occasions to rejoice when you finally do something that’s been put off for too long. This weekend, when perfect late spring weather is forecast, I hope to rejoice in finally tackling, nearly three years after it should have been done, the painting of the barn.

I cannot really take credit for finally moving on the project. It is a return visit from my friend Matt, and his decision that the time has come to finally get the painting done, which is the impetus. Not for nothing has he earned the moniker Macho Matt, for seeking out projects that take major effort and give maximal effect.

Matt visits the farm Photo by Mark Scherzer

Matt is not alone in this regard. I relied on my friend Paul (who I’ve decided is the maven of all things electrical and mechanical) to help dig the trench that brought electricity to the barn. I’ve repeatedly schlepped Steve up from the City to care for the animals when I must depart the farm, because I know I can trust his caring intuition to spot and respond to health problems in the animals as much as he advises me on my own health. My friend Tom, who I know to be a maven of crafts, was the natural candidate to help at shearing time, judging what wool to bag and what to throw away. And what can I say of my boyfriend Eric, who, recognizing this as his long term home, has taken up with gusto the entire gamut of tasks required for life on the farm: integrating the art works from my office into the decor of the house, running the yard sale, mowing the lawn, helping trim sheep hooves, and planting the tomato patch, among other things. As slightly out of control as the place may feel, it would be far more chaotic, indeed beyond redemption, without the efforts of this “family of choice” on my behalf.

I hope, indeed, that not just Eric but all these friends perceive their efforts as on their own behalves as well, recognizing this as a home they are always welcome to be in. No, this is not a plot on my part to assemble a free farm workforce, though I fully understand why traditional small family farms required such big families to operate them. It’s much more about the joys of spending time with them in a kind of domestic life. Shared cooking and meals, relaxed vegging out, accomplishing projects and facing frustrations together, come with a tremendous feeling of reward, and I’ve been pleased to hear Steve talk about maybe moving in full time come September.

The facing of shared frustrations was on full display today. After assembling the materials for painting, Matt and I decided to start the postpone actual painting to tomorrow and dedicate today to preparing the remaining unplanted part of the behind-schedule vegetable garden. Matt weed whacked while I mowed. All went swimmingly until about 3:00 p.m., when the weed whacker flew apart and one small but essential piece was lost. Matt wanted to rake the ground to find the piece, so I proudly marched him into the half planted tomato patch to show him the work Eric and I had done last week and to retrieve a rake for him. At which moment it became clear that the half planted tomato patch was also half eaten. From what we could determine, a deer had probably gotten in through a gate inadvertently left open. Of the 22 plants we had been able to get into the ground, 11 were partially or totally consumed.

I was quite discouraged and dejected, but I quickly reconstituted thanks to Matt’s spirit of “let’s do whatever we can to move forward in the most significant way.” I spent the next hour erecting chicken wire cages around the surviving plants, while Matt, turned to actually start painting the barn. I am confident that with the surviving plants sprouting new leaves and with all the late germinating tomato plants in my planting trays, as I described last week, we’ll still have a satisfactory tomato season. But more important, I recognize and appreciate how much the support, encouragement and efforts of my friends enable me to persevere in this farm project.

A salute of appreciation and deep affection to my modern farm family.


EGGS: $5/doz Plentiful

Mint, $1/bunch 
Fresh horseradish root: $4/lb. 
Garlic chives (flat leafed): $1/bunch 
Rhubarb $4/lb 
Sorrel $3/bag 
Fava beans are flowering, should be ready in about 3 weeks

LAMB COMING: Lamb should be back from the slaughterhouse in a any day now. Stay tuned.


Email us your order at, 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. Because I’m now here full time, we’re abandoning regular pick-up times. Let us know when you want your order any day between 10 and 5, and unless there are unusual circumstances we’ll be able to ready it to your convenience. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call or text at 917-544-6464 or email.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.