Monday, February 20, 2006

Barn-Bangers, Bean-Eaters, and Celluloid Heroes

A VERY COLD morning yesterday and a very busy day at the farm. Started the day mucking out two hen houses with Robin. It was the first time that I worked with Robin but we found lots to talk about. She's a junior at Marist and lives in the area of the farm. As mentioned earlier, I'll miss working with Morgan who's leaving to start his own excavation company but I equally look forward to working with Robin. Robin, her boyfriend, and her father have all donated time to the "Catskill Farm Animal Sanctuary" so she already knows quite a bit about animals and farmwork.

Jen and Doug spent much of the morning with the surveyor who came over for a meeting. A new access road will have to be built to accomodate expected traffic to the farm once it opens to the public this Summer.

About 11:00 or so the surveyor left and it was time to nail up more barn. Doug, Chris, and I spent the rest of the morning adding siding to the second story of the barn while Jen and Robin were working elsewhere and Dawn ran errands.

Kirstie, Erin, and Doug (another Doug) all arrived about the same time in the morning. Kirstie was pushing the wheelbarrow all over the property but I couldn't tell what she was hauling. Erin and Doug spent a lot of time inside the barn putting up the first pen rails to house the coming animals. I think Jen, Dawn, and Kirstie also helped out with the new rails (spending much of the time on ladders today I missed who was doing exactly what!).

Three and 1/2 more new names. "Erin" and "Doug" have been to the farm before and knew exactly what to do, how to do it, and guided themselves. As cold as it was outside, working inside the barn they didn't have the advantage of the sunlight and were certainly even colder than we were outside the barn. They brought their dog "Pretty" (aka "Ja-boo"). They were very friendly, did a lot of work under very cold conditions, and I'm sure they'll be back in the future.

Time for lunch.

Dawn did the cooking this time. She made a kale, olive oil, and garlic dish as before, but this one had a twist. I can't recall the full name, but there was also some type of chard (which looked a bit like thin rhubarb) added in and the dish was served at room temperature as opposed to being still warm from the pan in past weeks. Of course it was good and I'm adding kale to my recent food additions (mushrooms and avacado) the past few years.

But here's the real story from lunch!

As some of you know, there isn't a bean on this planet that I will eat. String beans, lima beans, chili beans, butter beans, baked beans, cici beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, justdontfrigginmatterwhat beans. Can't get them past my teeth. The only beans I've willingly eaten in my life were some lima beans that my grandmother helped me grow up a fire escape when I was 4-years old. Today, I ate black beans in a sweet, thin black sauce (from the bean?) which I put over some couscous. It was very good! I can't bring myself to add black beans to my "additions list" yet, but the idea that I'm even thinking about it is as newsworthy as it gets when it comes to me and a bean!

Spent the afternoon working with Chris to hammer-up the final boards of the second story wall. The hay loft is already filled to the roofline with hay that arrived this past week. Once the top flooor "hay doors" are on, and one thin sliver of roof is added, the second story will be nearly complete.

Doug spent much of the afternoon working with an electrician who came to install some lightning rods for the steer's electric fence. Also, a man and a woman who may want to put on some type of benefit for the farm arrived after lunch and Jen spent time showing them around.

Have I mentioned in the past how humongously really really big the pigs at the farm are? It looks like they're going to become celluloid heroes. Towards the very end of the day, Doug and I went into the barn to set up to feed the pigs. Inside the barn was a 20-something year old guy, who I'd never seen before, standing over one of the sleeping pigs. With one hand he was (gently) nudging the pig just enough to slightly irritate the pig who would rather be sleeping. In the other hand he was holding a long microphone boom and was recording the four-letter pig words that the pig was grunting at him. Apparently, some studio is making a sci-fi movie about monster pigs and the guy is the "sound guy" for the film, and he needed some hefty angry pig sounds. He seemed to have found his sounds and when Doug and I eventually fed the pigs he also recorded the "jostling for position sounds" that the pigs make with each other at dinner time.

It seems a real possibility that with some good weather and a few extra hands there might be significant progress made on the barn interior next weekend.

When I got home I made significant progress on a Chaplin DVD that I picked up last week. I was never a big fan of the "Tramp" character but I seem to be gravitating to it more the past few years. I wish someone would come out with a good Buster Keaton compilation. I'd like to know more about his obscure stuff.

A warm, sleepy end to a cold, busy day at the farm.


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