Sunday, November 05, 2006

Moo; or sacred cows

I rallied myself to do some Christmas shopping today, to avoid the stress (my enochlophobia) and enjoy the season later when everyone else is running around, trying to find meaningful presents. Anyway, I stopped by Big G's for lunch and spotted Mike Michaud (pronounced MEE-SHOO), Congressman from the 2nd District. I ignored him as I ate, but at least he had the tact to not interrupt people during their lunches. Several people approached him before he left. He seemed tired, but he was amiable. I like seeing politicians doing natural things, like normal people. Back when my father was lobbying I had the chance to meet then Senator George Mitchell. He spoke to a group of Maine farmers in his office in Bangor, sometime in the late 80's. I was most impressed by the fact that he started scratching an itch in his ear as he listened to the concerns of the farmers. Years later I saw him in Heathrow, maybe returning home from talks in Belfast. My husband approached him and thanked him for his work in Ireland. He did not remember me but I fondly remembered that he was one of the few adults I saw being human as I was growing up.

The house is filled with the smell of hot peppers. I am making hot pepper jelly, This includes apples, cranberries, jalepenos, green peppers, water and vinegar. It's sweet and caustic, but I think will be wonderful. I've caught the cold L had, so most of my weekend has been upstairs on the sofa, wrapped in my fleece robe, watching the Frontline documentary called The Farmer's Wife. It's extremely honest about the life of a small agribusiness as well as a marriage. They struggle with debt, the weather, raising 3 children and trying to make a farm work. I watched the first part Friday night and went to bed very sad and unsettled. I finished part 3 yesterday afternoon and felt better. Of course, I wondered what happened to them to so I did a search and found this:
The couple divorced and each has since remarried and are happy in their new lives. The girls see both parents often and the two oldest girls are in college. She is managing crop insurance and he still has the farm going.

It reminds me of a book a family friend wrote, called The Cows are Out: Two Decades on a Maine Dairy Farm by Trudy Chambers Price. Trudy was my mother's first friend in Maine, and she worked along side her husband for 20 years until she left him and the farm. He recently sold the operation, under the weight of debt. This was her struggle that she documented in the book. I see so many more gentlemen farmers and farms that work only because their owners have come to the business with capital and even a job outside of the farm to supplement. How farmers seem to make it in Maine nowadays is by diversifying. So many more organic operation exist now, and they seem to be making it. I see that when I go to places like the Belfast Co-Op, or the Good Tern Co-op in Rockland. They have mysterious smells and canvas bags and girls waiting on you that don't shave their armpits. I'm telling myself that I am doing my part by buying locally and using my own bags. But I am.

1 comment:

CBK said...

Ahh, Big G's! That's the sandwich place I was thinking of that you took me to. The Wishbone sandwich is what I got, and I'll never forget it. Roast beef, bacon, pastrami, swiss cheese, and barbecue sauce. Awesome!