Reber Rock Farm is recovering from their barn fire. Last Wednesday, the Essex Farm crew joined Racey, Nathan, Gwen and Chad for an afternoon of cleanup. It was the first pass over the ruins, and the goal was to separate what could be saved from what must be thrown away. At first glance, it seemed like more appropriate categories would be what must be thrown away, and what was vaporized. But close up, under ashes, it was fascinating to see what had come through intact: a box of files; a heap of nails with their bucket melted away; gears to something, still arranged in logical order but without the casing that would have made their function clear.
Hay burns slowly and there was a pile of it left, perfectly insulating the ground underneath it. Grain burns slowly too but only a remnant remained, toasted black. Along the barn’s perimeter there were exploded carcasses of some summarily evicted rats. But Piggles the livestock guardian dog, who was injured in the fire, is making a good comeback, with a new look, which Racey describes as toasted marshmallow, his thick, white fur singed down to a minimal dun-colored covering.
There is a gofundme page if you would like to help out: www.gofundme.com/reberrockfarm. The barn and its contents were insured, but a setback like this, so early in the life of a new farm and a young family, is still very difficult to handle. All the energy that should be going toward spring planting, toward short and long term planning, must be diverted to emergency mitigation. These are resilient people, and they will come back stronger than ever, but they could use a collective hand.
The bluebirds are back, scouting spring accommodations. Is there any color as optimistic as the flash of bluebird blue against a dull and muddy landscape? Continue reading this Essex Farm Note.