Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: Spring training is upon us!

Rockin' and rollin'

Rockin' and rollin'
The author of Mark's Work

Coleus flowers

Coleus flowers
Why I grow flowers

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
Air-borne bees

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast
Love is the greatest power.

Beauty abounds!

Beauty abounds!
Heinz tomatoes, used for catsup

If you've seen one butterfly, you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.

If you've seen one butterfly,  you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.
Painted Lady

Fall Jewels

Fall Jewels
Praying mantis, attending services on a zinnia...

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017
Something I have always wanted...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

bellspringsmark@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"Off With Their Heads!"

We had a film crew on-farm recently, an occurrence of such frequency as to warrant nothing more profound than a yawn. Of course, when I say “we,” I am talking about HeadSodBuster and BossLady, kind of “we.” The closest I came to the film equipment, was the snapshot I took during lunch, to prove that they had been there.

Chris and Derek were lively individuals, and were obviously enjoying their work. As I sauntered up from my spot for lunch, and introductions were made, Derek greeted me with, “I was just hearing about the origins of the farm, how you came up here 35 years ago and all about the roots of all this.” I am certain there was no pun intended.

“Great success! One of those rare times in the history of the universe, when the plan worked out the way it was supposed to,” was my immediate response.

We shared conversation over a feast, a decadent display of farm food at its finest. Gluten-Free Mama had shifted into high gear and prepared for our enjoyment, a banquet concocted entirely from ingredients grown and produced on-farm, beginning with two chickens that she barbecued.

When he found out the chickens were raised on the premises, Derek asked, “How hard is it to get the feathers out of those birds?”

A quick burst of subdued laughter later, it was explained that a machine now did the chicken plucking, but just so he knew, I elaborated, “When I was a kid, my sister J.T. and I were assigned the task of plucking the feathers, after Papa had plunged them into boiling water, not long enough to start the cooking process, but long enough to soften matters up. He would wrench the bulk of the feathers out quickly, and hand the chickens over to us for fine-tuning.” I decided to limit my conversation to just that, but if I were going to continue, this is what I would have said:

We thought the feather-plucking was kind of gross, but hey, we didn’t think it was too gross to watch Papa tie the chicken up by the legs, suspend it upside down, and then with one quick flick, as the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s sing, “Off with their heads!” Papa NEVER butchered just one chicken; usually it was three or four.

The just-decapitated chicken would go off like fireworks, flapping its wings spasmodically while spewing blood everywhere in the vicinity. Nah, plucking feathers was really rather tame after the main performance was over. Even easier is picking up an organic chicken at Long Valley Market.

Besides, if we are going to rehash childhood memories, we would have to include details about rabbits, that I had long since hoped were buried in my quicksand-like brain. My brain is like quick-sand because so much enters it, only to get sucked down into the void, never to be encountered again. 

Now, where was I?
Rabbits! Mind you, again I was only an observer of life, when it came to dispatching the luckless critters, although my participation at the dinner table was a guarantee. My older brothers were assigned this task, and though I found the process odious, it was not so odious that I skipped viewing it.

That was then-this is decidedly now. Because I still have a choice, I bypass rabbits as eagerly as I bypass Willits, these days, as the town has found a new way to torture its residents. Three years wasn’t enough, evidently, because once again there are long delays on the main thoroughfare, and everywhere else in town, due to construction.

Fortunately, we needed Willits like we needed thousands of acorns in our water tanks, thank you so much for asking. In addition to the home-grown chickens, GF Mama prepared zucchini fritters, sweet potato pancakes, a roasted cabbage and bacon (from hogs raised by SmallBoy) delicacy,  and a cucumber salad in a creamy white sauce, that is now our new go-to cuke dish.

Included in it were garlic, sour cream, dill, salt, pepper and probably a couple more spices, and it was to die for. OK, the sour cream and black pepper were not produced on-farm. What was produced on-farm, and what got the biggest reaction, was some of GF Mama’s Stun-Gun, Face-Punch Home-Grown Catsup, a condiment guaranteed to have you salivating for more.

The entire extravaganza was a Gluten-Free Mama Production, of astonishing proportions, but was nonetheless what we have come to take for granted. With two more hogs, Pork and Beans, being raised over at the Pepper-Pot, and two flocks of laying chickens, not to mention freezers packed with recently processed meat chickens, we have much to offer, along with an All-Star cast of fresh produce and herbs.
Some of my best friends are cucumbers...

I’d say we were lucky, but only in so far as luck and hard work go hand-in-hand. We’re lucky that we have a good water year and that Cal Fire has such an exemplary track record when it comes to quick responses to local fires.

But hard work is what produced the ingredients to the feast, and hard work is what got it to the table. And judging from their response to the feast at the banquet table, I’d say Chris and Derek had figured that out for themselves.


My personal experience is that hard work, without luck, is more likely to bring success, than luck without hard work.

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