Thursday, November 28, 2013

Building Unity Farm - Thanksgiving on the Farm

Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to reflect on the past year, be grateful for the good things that happen every day, and consider the journey we're all on, which is hopefully headed in a positive direction.

On a farm, this day of thanks is very personal.    As with last year, the foods we prepared were either grown at Unity Farm or at a farm within one mile of our dining table.   There was one exception - the cranberries were from a bog on Cape Cod.

We boiled turnips and roasted root vegetables.   We picked mixed lettuce from the hoop house.   We baked pumpkin and apple pies with fruit picked from our orchard. We opened bottles of Unity Farm sparkling hard cider made this Fall in the cider house.  We made stuffing from chestnuts and oyster mushrooms, fresh picked from our mushroom farm.   Next year we'll have shitake to add to the table, but this winter the logs are still in their mushroom growing phase.

The alpaca got an extra helping of alfalfa mixed with molasses.  The dogs enjoyed a few fresh eggs.  The chickens, ducks and guinea fowl got fresh lettuce.

I've described life at Unity Farm as joyful chaos.  There are always chores to do.   There are no vacation days or weekends.   But somehow, I never feel that hauling hay, filling water buckets, turning compost, splitting logs and the constant movement needed to support the plants and animals constitutes work.   We spent the day as a family doing everything needed to support the community living on the farm.   My daughter split ash and black birch logs for the hearth.  I chainsawed fallen trees and branches from yesterday's storm (we had 40 mph winds and 3 inches of rain).  My wife watered our winter produce in the hoop house and planted new vegetables - the hoop house was 80F at midday while the outdoor temperature never rose past 32F.

The family spent the day together doing tasks that benefitted all.

Tomorrow, we have no shopping planned, just tasks that will further help us prepare for the heavy snows that are likely to start in a few weeks.  

This was my first Thanksgiving without my father, so we took time at dinner to pay tribute to those not present - my Father, Kathy's mother, and those who we've known in life who are no longer with us.

I hope you have a peaceful day and many things to be thankful for.   Although we all face many challenges, hopefully you still have a sense that the future will be even better than today.


  1. Very nice John.

    There are many people out there I am sure who like me are not IT professionals but follow your blog for your insights and stories from the other areas of your life.....including the farm, vegan diets, whiskey, cider, flute music, Japan, mountain climbing, wives / daughters / fathers and transitions of many sorts. Your blog continues to enrich my life.

    Best Wishes of the Season,


  2. So much pleasure in reading your posts. Hope you never stop blogging

  3. Bruce,

    I agree this is such an interesting blog love reading about it.