Week 36, 2018 | Kristin Kimball | Sep 7, 2018

Three of the young Amish women from Reber were coming to work here on Wednesday morning, driving their horse, hitched to a milk wagon. It’s a long commute. They had already come down Jersey Street, turned onto Route 22, crossed the railroad tracks, and were starting uphill, a half mile or so west of our farm, when it happened. The sun was brilliant that morning, and rising, just cresting the same hill, but from the other direction. A truck was coming along toward the wagon, in the same lane, and straight into the blinding sun. The driver never saw them at all, and never felt any impact. But moments later, the truck’s passenger saw the horse, running through the field next to the road, with the broken wagon behind her, and nobody driving. The truck had clipped the wagon’s left rear wheel, the horse had bolted across the ditch, and straight through a three-strand high tensile fence. Luckily, miraculously, the passengers were thrown clear of the wagon, landing at the side of the road, none of them seriously injured. Mark said that when he arrived at the scene a few minutes later, they were shaken, but making jokes already, and the sun was still so blindingly bright he could not even see the flashing lights of the ambulance, when he was facing east. There were wooden spokes and splinters of the wheel in the road, along with a disconcertedly smashed watermelon, which had been tucked under the wagon seat, for lunch. It was a very tense half hour at our house, between hearing the call for the ambulance, and getting word that everything was going to be fine – including the horse, and except for the wheel. I can’t help but imagine how bad it could have been, had any number of things been slightly different, and I’m so happy to report that all is well. Drought continues here, despite rain all around us. Hats off to Anne and animal team for very fast pasture rotations this entire grazing season. Their hard work allowed the forage to recover as well as possible, while increasing the quality and carrying capacity of our pastures. Another hat off to Scott, for his mad, mad cover cropping. There is no bare soil to speak of this fall, on any of the 1300 acres we’re working, and that’s a huge win for soil health. We are saying goodbye to Isaac Feldman this week, as he heads back to Middlebury, to pick up his studies in physics and computer science. Anyone who makes it through a summer or even a week here does so because they like the work, but Isaac seems dangerously interested in it, which makes us hopeful that he will come back to farming, with us or elsewhere. Isaac, thank you so much for your good work and friendship this summer, and have a great year. The Draft Animal Powered Network is holding its annual gathering this weekend just down the road, at Reber Rock Farm. Events start tonight (Friday, 9/7) and run through Sunday morning. There will be lots of draft horses and oxen, plowing demos, a farm tour, and training workshops, plus food, music, and good company. $20/adult for the whole event, and kids are free. That’s the news from Essex Farm for this miraculous 36th week of 2018. Like us on Facebook to see what we post there, or find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, on the web and Insta at essexfarmcsa, or here on the farm, any day but Sunday.

By Kristin & Mark Kimball