Thursday, December 6, 2007


I've mentioned I commute have I?
The topic isn't exactly sheep or farm related, but commuting is a big part of my life-- a big CHUNK of my life for the last few years. I feel guilty about it: How can I even TALK about sustainability when I drive over 100 miles to get to work (Yup, really. Over a hundred miles.) To reduce my gas guzzling, I've pared down from a ridiculous Nissan Pathfinder to a Subaru Wagon to the teeny Toyota that I now enjoy. (We considered the Prius or some other hybrid, but, as virtually all my miles are highway miles, the Prius, would not make any difference in total mileage.) And 600 some miles, however you slice 'em, is a heck of a lot. So yep. There is the guilt (slightly off-set by all the ecofriendly things we do here on Maggie's farm)

There is also the TIME: Two hours minimum. Time for our cool local radio, the Writer's Almanac, Boston NPR, then, when that grows tiresome, wonderful books on tape. Our local library is my friend. (Check out the "running Booklist" down the right side of this page to see what we're reading)

Last, but certainly not least, there's the horrendously early wake up time. I get up at 4AM and am out the door by 4:45. Yup. Really. (All those who knew me in high school just can't believe this) And here's the really weird part: I LIKE it. I really, really like to wake up early. I step off my porch and take a minute to look at the full sky of stars overhead. the air is crisp and new, even in summer. And it is so quiet.... at least until our current rooster, Batmandu, hears me walking around and decides that sun or not, it must be morning after all and starts crowing down in the coop. You know you are up early when you WAKE UP your rooster! There are always deer on the road, and often, other critters I've seen foxes, coyotes and skunk, tiny deermice that skitter across our dirt road in the headlights. I've seen many, many screech owls. By the time I hit Boston, the sun is just rising. I zoom down Route 2 and catch the whole sparkly city laid out before me with the deep orange sunrise behind it.

I can't say I mind commuting. I like driving. Actually, I went through a phase (in my twenties: the ideal age for all phases, near as I can tell) when I wanted to go to trucking school and drive a semi. The fact that I can't seem to "get" stick shift didn't phase me. Time has worn that old dream away. Though I still long to pack up and take the family on a year-long, hands-on road trip. Dan is, um, shall we say "not too crazy" for that idea. And neither are the sheep, dogs, chickens, or guineas. (However, Lovey the rat says "Okay, by me.")

This was the view from my driveway on Wednesday morning, at the start of a long (but rewarding) workday. If I stayed home on the farm full-time, I know I'd go stircrazy as all get-out. (That, and the financial house of cards that is always threatening to come crashing down around our ears, WOULD come crashing down around our ears.) I love my work and my farm. I could say the distance between them is the price to be paid for having it both ways. Or that I have one foot on the platform, the other foot on the train, Or, as my Grandmother used to say, "You only got one little tush; ya can't be in two places at one time", Or that I am certifiably insane. And every one of these would be true. (Except, maybe, the part about the little tush.)

Anyway, for now, I'll take to the road.


Mimi said...

Does your Toyota Corolla really average over 44 MPG? My Prius does. If you have to replace the Corolla any time soon, you may want to consider a Prius - it is very solid and roomy. It will make your commute very comfortable.

I discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago and I love it. Do you milk the sheep? If so have you tried making cheese? What other sheepy things are you doing? Do you sell wool?

Keep up the good work. I don't know how you guys do it. I come home from a full time job and the last thing I want to do is run a farm.

Perri said...

Hi Mimi, Welcome.

The Corolla averages about 38mpg. When we checked out the Prius, we were told that it would average about the same on the highway, and it was MUCH more expensive to buy. So that's how we ended up with the Corolla. Next vehicle, we'll do more careful research. 44mpg is terrific!

Although, we've been on-and-off considering milking. We don't (yet) because we can't manage the time. We feed and water twice a day, but training the sheep to stand for milking and then milking every day. THAT would be too much. But, someday....

We do sell wool. In fact we are expecting a very large shipment from our local fiber mill (they process the raw fleece for us) in the next week or two. It is really lovely: such rich natural colors!