Gardening, Long-Distance Walking, USA
Comments 11

Winging It All Back Home

Remember that wintry couple of days I stayed at Wing Road Farm, just out of Saratoga Springs, in January?

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The Dude & Fidget snowshoeing back to the farmhouse

The place, a couple of centuries young, where friends of friends, now friends of mine, put me up during my visit for the hiker wedding?

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Late Afternoon, Wing Road Farm

The wedding where I met Kate, and things got interesting? I mean more interesting?

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The Rooster Shack. Nope, not a Country Bar.

Well, Wing Road was where I found myself bunking down before Kate and I fessed up. I was simultaneously happy and wracked with soul-eating agony. A dangerous blend, not recommended for the timid — never mix your emotions on an empty stomach. Days were long and full and rambling, nights just long: running through what-ifs and maybe-nots and don’t-be-stupids while Mazoo the farm cat heat-butted the guest-room door, demanding admittance to the swingingest party of one ever.

It was cold, the fields and gardens still and silent and rugged up under white. A fire flickered in the living room, with the cat and the dog stretched out close by lapping up the welcome heat. And at first there was the wedding couple, too, Dude & Trouble (who seemed just about as transient as me at that point), plus Fidget, another friend from the Pacific Crest Trail.

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Wintry Woods Behind the Farm

Well, Fidget went back to Colorado, and D & T headed north to camp in the snow, which is what certain people in this part of the world call a “honeymoon”. So their place became available, and I could give Nemo & Pouch (Aaren & Chris), the Wing Road homesteaders, their place back and sponge off a different couple for a spell. The Trail will provide.

Meanwhile, of course, Kate and I had done that fessing up, so things were working out uncharacteristically nicely. I never went back to the farm on that visit.

The months crawled by. Kate and I worked on my to-do list for my return in August, and Wing Road stayed near the top. And at last, seven months or so later, in a landscape and season with which I was far more comfortable, I was back.

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View from the Back

Quite a bunch of friends was there for a reunion and afternoon feast. There was a light rain that day, off and on but mainly off, and after catch-ups and first beers (I’d resumed for this trip because the beer was so good, it would have been insane to miss it) I quickly excused myself (actually I just ran off) to ramble around the farm in my favourite kind of light.

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“Honey! Go fetch yer Uncle Dude a beer! And git me my cigarettes — I think yer sisters have got ’em agin!”

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First stop, that rooster shack. I like a bit of weathered wood. Hopefully the rooster does too:

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Kristen’s son Ethan had done some farm work there that day. He was showing his cousins around, including paying respects to Big Daddy…

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“Anybody home?”

..and outlining his day’s chores, a litany of gruelling forms of labour so horrendous that all who heard it were stricken with sympathy and melancholy:

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The Farm Labourer’s Tale, aka American Gothic Jr

My tour continued.

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The Rooster’s Worst Nightmare

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Cold Sierra Nevada in one hand, I did the rounds of poultry accommodation, bee hives, stumps, fruit trees, shed, fences and gates. Then to the gardens.

This is the view from the back porch:

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And here are some shots of the food-growing area:

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Back at the house, it was just about dinner time. Aaren & Chris always put on a great spread:

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Kate & Camille – & Stella

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Camille doing some yard work — a mandatory requirement for all visitors. Except adults — they can drink beer & watch.

We sat around the fire awhile, talking about corn, mostly, and concluding the feast, several helpings later, with some excellent brownies. Plans were afoot for some serious hiking with many of those present: D & T, on the left, Chris on the right, Aaren, and Kate (porch) and I, the day after next:

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That’s Doug, Graham & Kristen in the centre

The rain held off, the sun went down, and out came the marshmallows:

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Graham wields a most delicious lightsabre

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Perhaps a Trifle Overdone

It was a great catch-up, but it wouldn’t be the last. I’d be seeing many of these folk again in a couple of days for one of the best day-hikes I’ve ever done…

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote

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11 Comments

  1. Kristen says

    Another excellent post! Love the pi of American gothic Jr. Classic expressions!!

  2. The garden and farming area took me back. My Mom (mostly) tended to our vegetables and potato patch. She canned veggies from there to last thru the winter. I also love the pics of the children roasting marshmallows. Looks like great fun.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, Judy. My friends’ little farm really is a beautiful place in Winter & Summer — though it’s a ton of work for them!

  3. Ah, this post makes me hanker for a peaceful life – you make farm living sound so idyllic. Of course, it’s probably a whole lot of hard work too. But the down time would be all the sweeter for it.

    • Oh, it’s heaps of hard work! And of course both of my friends there have “real” day jobs — the farm is a passion and a home.

  4. I didn’t realise corn had such a fanbase? I feel like I’m missing out, but I always thought it was quite tasteless unless I drowned it in butter? I must be doing it wrong!

    You’ve done well getting the water droplets on the axe photo. Water droplets are always under photographic threat when I’m around. Lovely photos everywhere though. The fisheye was working well here!

    • Yeah, the fisheye got a workout there! I really want a straight wide-angle adaptor for this kinda scene but finances at the moment don’t permit it. I’m conscious of not overdoing the fisheye till it becomes a cliche but sometimes it works well!

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