Stormy Weather

As I drove back from a delivery Saturday evening a disk of sooty cloud cut across the sky. When I turned off the interstate a wispy finger drifted down and the air itself took on a sickly cast. The trees tossed their leaves about, silver underbellies flashing like a school of fish, and though rain obscured the distant hills only …

Garth BrownStormy Weather

Eyesore of the Beholder

This time of year the pastures on my farm look particularly bedraggled, with thistle patches thick as the goldenrod used to be, the patches of goldenrod now thin , and burdock plants that, despite being denuded of leaves by the cows and sheep, are ripening their endlessly irritating seedpods. Maybe most of the ground is covered by more grass and clover …

Garth BrownEyesore of the Beholder

Rising Waters

Water and time have forever been linked in the literary imagination. In Genesis the first acts of creation are the definition and separation of waters. Fitzgerald connects the two throughout The Great Gatsby, with the bay standing in for the gulf of time between Gatsby and Daisy, and then, as if he’s worried you might have missed that, he closes with …

Garth BrownRising Waters

Technical Difficulties

In his book Irresistible Adam Alter argues that much of modern technology, in particular smartphones and the programs they run, is designed to be as continuously engaging as possible. The devices are so intuitive that it’s easier to use them than it is to not use them; it takes a conscious effort to not look at the phone in your …

Garth BrownTechnical Difficulties

English Major!

The constant struggle when writing about the farm is specificity. In other words, how is it possible to write about a particular pasture, or a particular cow, or a particular summer day? About noon yesterday I walked into the woods. It was very hot. My dog Oban was with me, and I was fixing the waterline. In college I was …

Garth BrownEnglish Major!

Tick Hunt! 2017

In the woods around our farm there are bobcats, coyotes, fishers, and even the occasional bear. (Sorry, no mountain lions.) These are the sorts of beasts that I imagine most people think of when envisioning themselves in a struggle with nature, red in tooth and claw. But you don’t need an advanced degree in statistics to comprehend the vanishingly small …

Garth BrownTick Hunt! 2017

Recipe: Ramps with Bacon

Ramps are only in season briefly, and this year they’ve arrived all at once. I expect them to be around for at least another couple weeks, but I can’t claim to understand exactly what determines how long they persist, so it’s best to enjoy them while they’re around. This is doubly true on my farm, where the cover of deciduous …

Garth BrownRecipe: Ramps with Bacon

How Do You Eat Raw Meat?

The short answer is “don’t,” the longer answer is “very carefully.” Cooking meat has become a cultural norm for a variety of reasons. Cooked meat tastes good, and it is more nutritious, or at least has more available calories. Cooking makes tough cuts tender. But these days the single biggest reason most people cook food is safety. Heat can kill …

Garth BrownHow Do You Eat Raw Meat?