Hi fans of Under Orion Farm!
Hi Mom, Hi Dad (because you know are reading too)!
Within the past week, if you found yourself driving to the Farm Stand on Under Orion Farm you might have noticed a stranger in the cow fields screaming obscenities towards the concept and practical application of electricity use, more specifically mobile electric fencing that attempts to keep the cows safe in one field. That person would be me. New to Cabot, new to Vermont, new to farming, and clearly new to electric fencing.
I am from Illinois, a real flatlander! I have found my way to Under Orion Farm, by way of spending time quite randomly on a charming goat farm in Caprile, Italy. I had never done farm work before that experience, despite growing up in a community proud of its cow, corn and soybean operations. Oh and the place where Groundhog Day was filmed, I think people are most proud of this actually.
My “career” has mostly been in the mental health and service-learning fields, spent working with remarkable transition-aged young people and their parents, local leaders and caring professionals. I had the unique role of empowering, resource gathering and implementing solutions. As I was leaving, I joked with a young-person about milking goats on an island in the Mediterranean, and figured why not try, as I was determined to spend a year of life traveling and exploring other cultures and life paths. Although Caprile is NOT on the coast, or an island, it was an experience that got me thinking about how to be a farmer, how to include farming/farm life in my future, how to live among creative and resourceful people with engaging tall tales of life and the joys of working with quirky animals. Being here and working is one more step in that journey.
In Vermont, I have spent time in the fields with the cows, the beef cattle. I could watch them for hours, maybe that’s just a quirky part of me, maybe that is part of having your heart in farming. I burst out laughing when these giant animals start running, not so gracefully, across the fields. They lob their giant bodies from side to side and somehow their tiny legs keep up. It is quite amazing to watch the whole herd running. It can be scary or just a sign that they are excited for an open field of grass. I wonder also about what they think of me as they follow me around while I work. The little ones are more curious and bold but always have a look on their face that is very serious. It must just be the shape of their faces. In working with teenagers I have been conditioned to be glared at in the most uncomfortable of ways. I will admit however, I start my day by speaking to them in my best Oprah voice: “Good Mooooorning!!” I shout over the hills. Oprah has shouted this to her audiences over the years, and it is part of an inside joke with my friends. Perhaps the cows are confused with my not-so-accurate Oprah impression and or confuse it with the best cow calling voice in all of Vermont.
In my time here, I am constantly impressed by “real” Vermonters and farmers who use creative thinking to tackle projects that just come up during the day. It takes an active spirit, determined mind and barn full of tools and extra gadgets to solve daily glitches. I am impressed with the independent spirit of the inventors and bold determination it takes to dream up then complete some of the projects shared already. The team work amongst neighbors and friends is a refreshing jolt of how communities can come together to help one another. I feel fortunate to have been welcomed to life on this farm and in this community. Maybe you will hear from me again on the blog, or if you see me around the farm, please say hi.
I would love to hear your own journey and any advice on electric fencing or farming in general.