Day 1 12/13/04
I’m writing this first journal entry by the light of a kerosene lantern.
Becky, Albert’s wife, gave me an electric one, but I told her I didn’t want to be a weenie so she got me the kerosene one. I still have the electric one as back up just in case.
I got dropped off somewhere in Amish Country in Lancaster, PA. The taxi driver and I spent 45 minutes trying to find 759 Grass Fed School Road. Imagine our confusion when Grass Fed Road ended at the 500 block (which we thought might be the same as Grass Fed School Road). She (the cabbie) was starting to get frustrated so I told her to just drop me off somewhere and I would walk around.
I was dropped off in the middle of Amish country, 50 degrees and windy with an hour left till darkness. I had no idea where to go and couldn’t phone Albert because the only phone he has is in a shed on the road by his house and his voice mailbox was full. Suddenly, down the road I see a black horse and buggy. Maybe they will know where I can find Grass Fed Farm. As the buggy gets closer, I notice a young Amish woman in it. I try to make eye contact and she looks at me briefly, then continues down the road.
It’s getting colder and I have no idea where I am. I see another vehicle, this time a white van. As it gets closer, I see that it is owned by the fire department of Lancaster. I flag him down and tell him my dilemma. He lets me hop in and we drive about a block until we see Grass Fed School Road. The farm was only a block away from where I was.
I see Albert and we talk about my trip, etc. I hang out for awhile watching him fill out orders. It’s his father’s farm, and after a few minutes we head to his farm, right down the road. We enter his house and he introduces me to his wife Marie, his dog Sparkle, and his daughters, Barbie (10 months) and the twins Lucy and Lisa (1.5 years old). His daughters look at me shyly and his wife greets me warmly. They pull out dinner that they were warming for me in the oven. It was chicken croquettes. Some kind of green beans with brown sweet stuff and some shredded potatoes with cheese and butter I think. Good stuff. I eat about half of it.
A little later he takes me to the barn and puts me to work. The first thing I do is “clean the gutters” which consists of helping push a shovel down a gutter filled with cow poop and piss. It’s pretty glamorous. Albert’s father, Peter, is there too helping out. He introduces himself and makes polite conversation. That night I end up milking the cows (with machines), clean up poop and feed them hay(1). The cows seem half oblivious, half freaked out, by the new face. Maybe they’ll get used to me. I’m slightly tired sore and I’m starting to get a migraine. At least I’m not in Manhattan.
- Approach from behind, a little to the side. If I approach directly from behind, they probably will kick my head in. Say, “Whoa” so they know I am there.
- Put my hand on flank. Start wiping feces and what-not off udders while hand is on flank. Throw paper towel in gutter.
- Attach milking hoses to udders. Come back when the cow is dry. Try not to get kicked in the nuts backing out.
- Hurry! The other cows are leaking in anticipation!