Today I was thrilled to be invited to the farm where my vegetables are grown. For twenty weeks each year, I get a CSA delivery from Bugtussle Farm, a biodynamic farm about seventy-five miles from Nashville, just across the Kentucky border. And once or twice a year, the farmers - Eric and Cher - invite the families they provide for up for a wildflower tour or a swimming hole party or a farm tour or whatever. The land that they own is amazing. Seriously amazing. Jealousy-inducing amazing. Until I remember that they don't have electricity and then I'm all "Yeah, good luck with that..."
The drive up from Nashville is largely interstate-free, especially after the first ten miles. Then it's two-lane blacktop, through gorgeous countryside and don't-blink towns like Rocky Mound and Frog Pond and Pumpkintown. You also go through some larger ones, like the county seat of Sumner County, Gallatin. I lived outside of Gallatin for a few brief months before going off to college, so it was fun to go through it again and see how little small towns like this change. I was happy to see that the storefront for The Corn Crib was still there, though it's been out of business for over twenty years. I don't know what you bought through that window - popcorn? Roasted corn on the cob? I have no idea, but I've always loved this little narrow storefront.
After Gallatin, there's Westmoreland and then Lafayette ("luh-FAY-et"), where I saw this old theatre. It's not as sad as it looks; it was in the middle of showing Harry Freaking Potter, so there were a thousand cars around and I had to do some careful croppoing to get this Last Picture Show vibe. Then it was just a few more miles to Bugtussle, jsut past the state line. A closed general store and a dog in the road. I couldn't have made it up if I tried. The driveway is a glorious, glorious driveway, the driveway of my dreams: a gravel road that crosses three bridgeless creeks and up and around curves and through glades and wooded valleys.
Then you park and stroll another couple hundred yards and there it is, the house. It's like something out of Dwell, all handmade and tiny with a loft accesible by a tree trunk with wooden pegs jammed into it in a spiral fashion and then an arched bridge from the loft to an even higher loft, which I assume is for their son Ira. As I said, there's no electricity, though I'm sure the wood stove keeps the whole space warm in the winter. they do have a generator of some sort, but I think all it does is power a small refrigerator. It might even be a car battery; I was too crazy with jealousy to take notes or pictures during this part.
There's also an outdoor kitchen, a giant gazebo Eric built (using a chainsaw!) that houses a restaurant-style double sink and a gas stove powered by a big white tank of gas that sits away from the prettiness. It's really beautiful and I'd never leave it. We had a nutty crazy vegan-voodoo -vegetarian lunch with things like raw carrot chewy stuff and uncooked tomato something or other and egg rolls made from soysage and blueberry scones made out of blueberries and, oh, I dunno, sawdust. It was potluck, so I can criticize. I also forgot to bring anything so I should shut right up about that. One interesting thing: there were a lot of children there, belonging to other CSA subscribers, and a lot of them have allergy issues of one sort or another - eggs or wheat or nuts or blah blah and I kept trying to figure out...is it the crazy icky-food diet that makes them this way or are they this way first and this is the diet that works for them? Whatever, the interesting thing was that almost every kid ignored the labored food items (egg rolls, I am looking at you) and just went straight for the just picked tomatoes and watermelon. I know it'll make people leave "au contraire" comments but I think a lot of the allergy stuff is baloney. So the kid pukes. La la la, what kids don't? Anyway.
Then there was swimming in the creek - it was cold in parts and there were fish and crawdads in it so I'm glad Sister Meg didn't come because that would have been the end of that. It was funny to watch the parents who were so cuh-razy about their kids even saying the word "egg" in case they broke out in hives just let their babies float around this creek.
Then the farm tour: a long stroll through the garden where my vegetables come from and I'm glad I've seen it. Eric and Cher provide food for I think 70 families and it all comes from such an amazing small space. Then up to the top of the hill to see the livestock.
The chicken coop was amazing and also the cleanest chicken coop I've ever seen - it's on plastic gliders and Eric hooks the laying house and the sleeping house up to the tractor and drags them to a new spot in the pasture every day. The chickens love this; the movement of the structure stirs up the bugs so all the chickens crowd around while he's moving it. He also moves the livestock paddock every day so that the grass stays healthy and the animals get fresh pasture every day. When he starts to move the fence, all the cows and sheep line up to go through the narrow passage and it's funny, when they get on the other side, you can almost hear them saying I TOLD YOU IT WAS GREENER OVER HERE! They jump around and act crazy. I meant to select the lamb I want for the upcoming butchering but I forgot. Oh well, they all looked delicious.
Then back down the hill and a drowsy hour and a half home. A lovely day.