Sunday, November 21, 2010

For all of its worth

Mr. and Mrs. Jung lived next door to my grandparents. Of an evening my brother and I would walk over to their house, go out into their fields to fetch their heifers and bring them in for the evening. We did a few other minor chores for them as both were getting on and had enough to do on their small farm feeding the pigs, chickens, horses and cattle. They also had a couple milk cows, and it was at their house I tasted my first home-churned butter.

If I remember what I was told back about the same time, my grandparents had rid themselves of their last milk cow some time shortly after my birth, so we had store-bought on the table. I cannot say that I noticed or recall any difference, and bring it up now only because the memory of that mounded bowl and the uniqueness of the experience came back today after dinner at another farm.

A young couple came to our attention via our orchardist friends. Our friends said this pair had moved into the area with plans similar to our own a few years ago. They wanted to grow vegetables for market, and were slow to start the process as they came with absolutely no training. Knowing of our valiant but failed efforts despite some background in the ways of farm life, our friends sent the couple to us.

Over the last two years we have helped this couple with advice and materials for which we no longer had a use. Last spring it was about fifty pounds of seed potatoes, and last week I offered them enough greenhouse supplies to stock a sizable field with plant starts. To show their appreciation, they invited us to sup with them and their two young children.

The meal consisted of a lovely potato and kale stew, and a three-year old hen au jus. For dessert we were served ice cream, the cream provided by one of their cows. Oh my!

I am lactose intolerant, and anticipating that the dinner might contain dairy, I took a pill that lessens the effects of milk products, so I graciously accepted the bowl. And I suppose my internist would understand that concerns over my cholesterol could be dealt with tomorrow, for who could refuse when offered a second helping?

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