The fireflies are popping and going off like minute little fireworks over the short, but stocky rye, orchard grass and hairy vetch that will soon be ready for its first cut of the year.
The lack of rain makes them a bit shorter than this time last year, hopefully the nutritive value is strong as it heads out and create seeds.
I’m living on the farm full-time now in a pop-up camper that was given to me by my brother in-law.
My goal is create a more suitable shelter in time for Winter while also getting in as much renovations as possible on the barn and garage.
People around town are asking questions about who is living on the old Wing farm in the blue and white camper and I just so happen to love having a story (or two) to tell.
It started as an email announcement of a new seasonal job posting at the Cornell Research Farm in Willsboro.
Not knowing what to expect, I inquired and applied for the job: field assistant.
Originally our plan was build a house in the Summer and continue with farm renovations throughout the Fall.
This opportunity helped to fast-forward my plans, at least in moving full-time to Willsboro.
Located on a 350 acre farm with views over Lake Champlain, the donating benefactor, I’ve come to find in the chain of deeds, also owned the farm I’m renovating, Triple Green Jade Farm.
It was ran as a dairy among other things.
The weather for starting my relocation from Saranac Lake was optimal as I arrived in a hot mess, pop-up camper in tow.
Armed with boxes of supplies filled with ball jars of cous cous, rice and quinoa, you’d think I was being dropped off in a remote and barren location.
One suitcase filled with expend-able (and dependable) farm clothes was all that I brought. Old tattered and beloved t-shirts, Carhartt jeans, socks, underwear and long-sleeved layers would become my daily garb.
Putting the pop-up together was a chore in itself. We found out at the last-minute that the pop-up would not “pop-up” when cranking the pop-up up. (Say that 5 times fast!)
Two main supports on one end had broken the springs so they lay motionless as the other end rose up majestically on a slant.
My first solution was to use 2×6 boards and fashion them as stout timbers around a simple frame to keep the pop-up up.
While strong enough, I did not think this solution would last as the wood touched the ground on both sides. The ground can change as grass grows, water flows, etc…
I needed a better support system.
I finally used two electrical conduit tubes made of steel as support rods. Instead of being supported by the ground, these would be supported on the pop-up frame itself.
This made for a more elegant choice in support material as it was more in-line with the aluminum pop-up aesthetic.
An induction cooktop and old frigidaire fridge, that was being used as a file cabinet by its previous owner, are the stars of my kitchen.
This is staged for the moment in the garage where we’re also building a wee house.
I started at the Cornell Research Farm on May 4th and just like that, I’m farming.
I’m tending to the greenhouse, weeding and watering. I’m planting wheat and ancient grains. I’m driving a bucket loader to haul tons of compost. I’m rototilling and mowing and I’m getting paid to do it.
At the present moment, it seems that the transformation was easy and as simple as flicking on a light switch.
But my memory is short as there hasn’t been much time to rest on my laurels.
What excites me is that this marks the beginning of what I have worked towards in the past 3 years.
In the tiniest and humblest of senses, I am living on the legacy that E. Vreeland Baker left us.
I am assisting in the growth and productivity on the farm that he so graciously donated to his Alma mater, Cornell University and I am also bringing back to life a farm and dairy that he once owned in 1944.
The dairy in the barn could be one of the very first milking parlors in Essex County, or so I’m told.
But I’ll need to research that more.
As butterflies dance their crooked dance across our fields and as bobolinks don their backwards tuxedos to attract their female counterparts, it is clear that May is a month of transformation.
And in the journey is where I hope to continue my own transformation into more farming and becoming another proud producer in this rich agricultural community.
- Bringing An Old Farm Back To Life (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- AARCH Tour: Reading Law & Quarrying Stone (essexny.us)
- Improving Soil and Water Conservation (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Help Bring An Old Farm Back To Life (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Taking Down An Old Silo (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)