Thursday, February 28, 2008


I was out on the farm by 6 a.m. this morning. The wind-tipped cold was brutal; the temperature throbbing at 18 degrees. My reason for starting this icy morn' pre-sunrise: The television crew was coming.

Apparently, the CW 11 morning news show out of New York City has done some shoots at Howell Farm in the past, and today they wanted to do a segment on cutting your own firewood the old-fashioned way. So, along with four other farm workers, I was there to assist Larry the reporter in his effort to educate his audience on the finer points of felling a tree with a two-man saw and then dragging away the logs with a draft horse.

If not for the frigid temperature I would have found the experience enjoyably bizarre. As far as I know, I ended up on TV in one of the later shots, manning the saw, down on my knees in the dirt, snot running down my nose, wearing a funny-looking hat, shivering, thinking to myself, "Hell am I doing?"

A lot happens at the farm everyday. It's Day Three and I'm starting to learn my way around the morning chores – feed the horses, feed the oxen, feed the sheep, feed the chickens, light the woodstove. I received my first instruction on draft animal commands – "Haw," "Gee," "Git up," and "Whoa." I was cautioned on leading horses on a windy day, because it "Puts the Devil in 'em." I saw firsthand that the cornstalks I grinded up a few weeks ago are indeed excellent for soaking up urine.

More on all that to come soon. And pictures, too.


-I mentioned in my previous post that on the large mirror in my bedroom are written the words, "Scream Vodooo!!" I've been studying the unruly, double-lined penmanship of the message further, and I'm now less certain about the content of the second word. The message may in fact read, "Scream Wooooo!!" which strikes me as an entirely less ominous incantation to have written on one's bedroom mirror.

-I also mentioned the interns scheduled to join me in weeks to come. They're still coming, but I heard today they may actually be living in another house across the street from the farm, which means I'd have the farmhouse to myself the next three months. Either way, I'm eager to meet them.