No Reception

One late-July evening last week, amid the green forests and corn fields of Vermont, Ellinore sighed that she had lost cell phone service and, as it happens, her mother, on the line from the airport in Chicago.  And then Carrie, commenting casually, as we climbed the hill out of Putney toward Westminster West, “there is no reception until you get to the cows.”

Carrie and Ellinore, Mac and Caddie, after an evening of grazing in the orchard

Now that we are well into July the news is inevitably centered around the garden. The horses are setting a deliberate pace to our days and keeping us grounded. Yet the garden keeps calling. Cucumbers are coming out of the garden in bucket loads and as I write we are fermenting our third crock of brined pickles. The garlic came out of the ground in late June—about eight hundred heads in all—and is drying on one of the barn floors. We are past picking raspberries now. Rows of potatoes are ready for digging. Tomatoes are hanging in green clusters as the hot and humid days bring hints of red to the growing fruit. Broccoli, brussel sprouts, squash, pumpkin, corn and carrots are all exploding green. And we are weeding and preparing beds for planting fall crops. Last night, we put up jars of dilly beans and tonight we will get the slicing pickles.

Ellinore, Carrie, and Jenna, Carrie's cousin, qui viennent de France

The rams are back, too, hanging in old orchard above the pond. There is a new Texel Ram, too, who has earned the name Nureyev (after Rudolf Khametovich Nureyev, the Russian dancer) for his remarkably graceful leaps over the electric fence. He clears the fence a few times a day—whenever the green grass on the other side of the fence looks, well, greener.

“There is no reception until you get to the cows. . . . A keeper, Carries comment captures the edge where the quick of cellular communication meets the more patient rolling hills and farms of New England where we are trying to fill our lives with the fields and forests and garden of Water Run Farm.

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