The Moo part 2

August 17, 2010

I turned to view the glistening lake as the sun began to set, heard the grouchy acknowledgement of the goats as our group traipsed past, gazed upon the rows of tomato plants and corn stalks, leaned down to pet Sparky–the resident lamb being groomed to father the next generation of workers.

From this, I drew the conclusion that we city folk don’t really understand and almost can’t comprehend what we’re missing. And admittedly, maybe for some of us, that’s for the better. (Need I remind anyone of The Simple Life?)

But it’s experiences like these, opportunities to see real farms and enjoy a true from-ground-to-table meal that make it possible for us to truly cherish and understand how the earth works and the extreme effort involved in transferring it onto our dinner plates.

It still remains somewhat of a conundrum to me as to whether we’ve really come that far as an “improved” society.

As I sat on the screened-in, un-air conditioned porch, listening to the insects chirping in the warm summer darkness and peering into the vast forest, I couldn’t shake my deeply envious feelings toward those that enjoy the privilege of living this way every day.

And I concluded that maybe I didn’t want to shake it.

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A Moo Point

August 13, 2010

The obscure dirt road with no street sign signaled the end to our search and the beginning of a lavender-themed, all-natural, from-ground-to-table dinner experience that has been the object of our anticipation for many previous weeks.

The dinner began with thirty minutes of discovery of the raw realism of living on and operating a farm—the planting, maintaining, uprooting and renewal of crops, interacting with and caring for the sheep, goats, cows, chickens that inhabit the land; add to that the constant sweat and strain of the hot summer days, and my hunch was confirmed—that my dream of living in the country would most likely always remain just that: a dream.

Ticks, mosquitoes, insect bites, sweat, cultivation of land, milking goats, butchering lambs, cooling down with the help of a fan instead of an air conditioner—these may be welcome realities for some, beatable obstacles to others, tortuous nightmares for yet others.

While I have dreamed about being a country convert for most of my life, when I ponder what is really involved, my feelings become much less pleasant.

Up till yesterday, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you the difference between a goat and a sheep or a kid and a lamb. But after last night, I can not only tell you the difference but can also proudly proclaim that a true, working farm is a wonderful place to visit but my hair can’t sustain more than a yearly jaunt.

I’m strong enough to own that.

Returning to my story, after tooling through the town of Depew, which took all of thirty seconds, we found our unmarked street. After losing our way and growing increasingly confounded by the amount of absent street signs, seeing cars at the end of the correct road brought sighs of relief to everyone in the car.

The modest country home and squawking hens welcomed us to The Living Kitchen farm: a humble establishment boasting four employees—the owner: professional farmer and chef, a part-time helper and marketer, with two interns pulling up the rear and undoubtedly carrying their bulk of the work.

The farm is home to goats, for cheese and milk, lambs, for healthy, non-hormone injected meat, and chickens, for eggs. Add to that a number of cows that roam unseen and unheard until they ramble through the woods, arriving home for dinner, leaping, exuberant dogs for companionship, and the many snakes and other critters nesting in the woods, and Owner Lisa Becklund has more than a full house.

Becklund came to Oklahoma five years ago from Seattle. Born and raised in Washington by parents in the food industry, Becklund’s career choice was obvious. She eventually owned and operated a successful restaurant in Seattle and served as head chef for many years. However, she commented, while she knew how to cook food, she knew nothing about food.

Then, when an opportunity for a complete lifestyle turnaround came up in Oklahoma, she felt the move would be just right for her.

As listeners of her story, most of us would probably share the same wonderment as to her decision to leave Seattle. I know I did.

And then I turned around.

Check back on Tuesday to read the rest of the story.