Fresh Off The Farm with Catherine Rau - May 2019

May 26, 2019

Fresh Off The Farm with Catherine Rau - May 2019

It’s that time of year when the snow turns to rain and vacant fields begin to sprout. When the sun shines longer and the wind whispers warmly among the trees. When the world sheds its brown for hues of green, pink, and yellow. When you hear “Spring has sprung!” among your daily greetings and passers-by. But to me, Spring is more than just a seasonal switch. It stems further than the buds and flowers. Spring is a time of new life. A time to go out and appreciate all of nature’s critters and creatures alike. Rain or shine, I love slapping on my favorite slicker in search of the tiny croaks and caws, bellows and buzz, and snorts and squeals.  Returning home in boots scuffed with muddy memories as the sun begins to fade.   

This year, I found spring at a local family farm in Pennsylvania. Stepping out of my car I was greeted by the rolling green pastures, whispering willows, and a few honks “hello” from the resident geese. There’s something so rejuvenating about farms the way they truly take you back in time. Tickling your senses, farms are havens of nostalgia, relics of American heritage. Entering the old stone stables, overlooking the pond, I was met with nothing less: Dutch doors cribbed with horses past, musky leather tack hung from cast iron hooks, hay lined halls, and beams of dusty light softly shining through the spider-webbed rafters. As I ran my hand along the wood grained stalls breathing in that farm fresh air, I felt like a child again, grinning from cheek to cheek. I couldn’t wait to strap on my overalls and meet the animals!

Grazing in the pastures enjoying the sun, the horses paid no mind to a new face on the farm. That is, all but one. All legs, windswept and clumsy with ears perked up high, I met Spot, the newest foal on the farm. She peaked out from behind her mother, her deep brown eyes fixed on mine. As I got closer reaching out my hand to her face, she stood with a rigid shiver. But after a few strokes down her nose, she bowed her head in towards my stomach with a snort. Maybe this was her way of saying she liked me? Or, perhaps she smelled the carrots in my back pocket. Either way, I was thrilled to spend the day with her frolicking about.

As I walked from the pastures to the pond, further exploring the farm, another surprise awaited. Waddling around on webbed feet, four balls of fuzz darted about the grass. Chirping to each other, testing out their new wings, the ducklings traveled in a four pack. Foraging left and right, they kept busy basking in the sunlight. Finding their way to the edge of the pond, the ducklings even took their first swim! Jumping right in, one after the other, they loved the water, zipping all about. You could almost hear the excitement in their calls to each other as they whirled around the pond. Wrangling in the ducklings after their long paddle, Mulligan herded them ashore. Wagging his tail, he nudged them up the hill back toward the house.   

Out in the fields, as golden hour faded to gray it was time for the horses to be walked back to their stables. Clip clopping their heels against the pavers, they journeyed back to enjoy their buckets of feed. As I hung the last lead against the stall and reached for the light, I paused a moment to take it all in. With a smile, I flipped the switch on my day at the farm having heard the tiny croaks and caws, bellows and buzz, and snorts and squeals. Ready to return home in boots scuffed with muddy memories.

 Catherine Rau (@crau13)

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