It’s the middle of July and for the Squier family that means chaos. The chaos of Solarfest. For a little bit more than a week the farm gets transformed, as it gets ready to host thousands of people. In the past Marshall had to herd a group of usually young adults from Volunteers for Peace. Folks sign up from all over the world to visit a site and help an organization complete some task. This year we have no VFP but we have some former VFP volunteers that became good friends with the family. They’ve been back for many Solarfests and Meadow and Wheaton have traveled to Europe to visit. It is a pretty sweet connection to make. They are super helpful while they are here. As I write this up they are helping meadow wash veggies and packing them up for deliveries.
This year I’ll be doing two workshops at Solarfest. On Friday I’ll be talking about growing rice here in Vermont. On Saturday I will talk about hydraulic ram pumps. We use one here on the farm to move water up hill to store later for watering our animals and tree plantings. They only need moving water to work. No batteries, no gas, only a little bit of drop.
Last night I finally had enough of the new milking area done to not milk the goats by hand. I spent the late afternoon collecting cattle panels from all over the farm to make two fenced in areas around it. This is by far the greatest part of the new milking setup. Up until now we have let in one goat to be milked and then let them back out the same door. You would think that after being milked the goats would go off and eat some grass or enjoy the relief of the pressure drop in their udders. But instead they would all stand around the door waiting to break back in. This forced us to develop a technique for blocking the oncoming horde of goats by pushing the head of the leaving goat through the door and then pushing their butts with one foot to get them to actually leave. While entertaining to watch from the outside, the actual practice of doing it was not that fun. Now they go in one door and then out another to a new area.
I don’t have a watch while I’m out working, so generally I have no idea what time it is. I figure out how many hours I have worked during the day by how far along I am in the audio book I’m listening to. I am listening to around 3 books a week. Most of my work I do alone and it generally requires only a little bit of my brain. I find I don’t remember as much from an audio book compared to a regular book. But during the summer when ever I try to sit and read I tend to time travel. By that I mean I sit down to read and then an hour or so has past and it turns out I was asleep. Now when I go out to work in different areas of the farm I get nostalgia from scenes of a book I have listened to while in that same place….maybe that means I need a detox from my audio book habit.
You would think that after living here for a while, Meadow much longer than me, we would get jaded of the view of the place. But I’m still impressed all the time by the sunset and how the clouds traverse the mountains. Sometimes we have a tough day and by the end you just want to sit down and veg. Lucky for us we can sit and watch the sunset and remember what a lovely place we get to live in.