I've only been on the farm for a week, but it seems like I'm a million years away from riding the B train from china town to the upper west side. When you first get to the farm, you appreciate its beauty from afar, admiring the house that was made out of trees from the land and the rows of green crops that roll down the hill. But after a week, the real beauty of this place has surrounded me. The real beauty has roots far deeper than the tomato vines or maple trees and can be felt more than it can be seen. Simple, happy living is what makes Cloud's Path Farm one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to.
Many people talk, and write, about simplicity. “Living simply” is a theme of blogs, articles, books and discussions. I much prefer the living of it than the talking about it, but I'll try my best to share the genuine happiness that comes from this type of lifestyle. This farm life is truly a simple one and by simple I don't in any way mean easy, unimportant, unintelligent or lesser than anyone or anything. These are not “simple people”, they are intelligent, witty and charming. I mean simple as in there's no chatter, no drama, no trivial nonsense. There is no crap to get in the way of living. There's a blue sky, hard work, and fun everyday. There is a loving young family, friends down the road and dreams mixed in with daily life. There are shared meals made with “simple” ingredients of amazingly fresh food (on the farm, “fresh” means picked less than 5 minutes ago). There are two fantastic kids running around being just that, fantastic kids. They have dirty faces and genuine smiles, intelligence beyond belief and an endless supply of giggles. There is NPR and BBC on the morning radio and good books and DVDs at night. There are two of the bravest people I've ever met who built this place of beauty, and they don't even seem to realize how courageous they are, because they are just “simply” themselves, doing what they want to do.
The simple days start early, but not at dawn (no need for 6am gym schedules here). They start with roosters making their noise and sleepy eyes in the kitchen. Everyone makes something good, maybe a smoothie, or a freshly gathered egg, anything with a little protein to get you going in the morning. There is always a huge variety of fresh baked goods, a truly dangerous thing for someone with a carb-sweet weakness! After a relaxed breakfast, Sally and Sam each grab buckets and tend to their respective animals. There are chickens, goats, pigs and of course Dogarella and Sheba, the best farm dogs ever. The day's activities depend on the day of the week, but there is always a wide variety of work to be done. Sally may be pounding bread dough in the kitchen, making over 50 loaves each week to sell at the farmer's markets. In between the white, wheat and sour dough creations, there are also cinnamon rolls, blueberry scones, ultimate chocolate chunk cookies and maybe even a whoopie pie or two. Meanwhile Sam is probably in the fields, obsessively examining swiss chard , pulling down trees, rotatilling new beds for planting or chopping firewood for winter. There's always weeding to be done and something delicious to be pulled or planted, and that's where I come in. Some days I'll be with Sally in the kitchen attempting to control the dough balls, but other days I'm trying to find the carrots under the “weed pressure” or slicing off fresh broccoli heads. There is corn to be hoed, firewood to be stacked, and bread to be rolled and patted. If its hot enough, a swim in the quarry feels amazing in the afternoon, (the Romans would be seriously jealous of this marble pool). After a good day's work, its back to the main house for a fresh dinner, one night it was .38's soup, another it was stirfry with locally made seitan and snow peas and greens from the lower garden. After the kitchen is cleaned all of the stars come out soon, and I mean ALL of them, and really all you want to do is curl up with that awesome book you've been reading to find out what's going to happen next. There are fun things to do in town, the occasional dance party, neighboring places to explore or a Bread & Puppet Show (blog coming soon), so don't even think that I'm anywhere close to bored yet. The days are filled with fun and new things to learn and figure out, and yet somehow they are “simple”. There's not a lot of crap, there's not a lot of noise; there is just work and fun and damn good food in between.
I'm not on any timetable to be here or to move on, I'm just here for awhile. I had decided to do some farm work to learn about growing food, but in this effort to live simply, I've discovered that I'm simply living.