Pitching at the Moon

Every once in a while, we humans are sent a reminder that we are nothing more than tenants on this gorgeous planet.  Irrespective of your views on or dealings with the landlord, and taking into account the size of their  property portfolio, it’s inevitable that at times we humble occupants get to experience the effects of their dealing with the day to day running of the place.  

This week’s glimpse of property management came in the form of a lunar eclipse, dramatically referred to as a Blood Moon, and here on the Homestead we had box seats for it.  Of course, as we all have a terrible tendency to get caught in the moment, not one of us thought to photograph the event that we observed in various forms of nightdress through the window of The Bean Counter and Milk Maid’s bedroom, but if you were not in such prime seats take it from us: it was pretty awesome. Luckily (and also proving that for one fleeting moment, New Brighton was in the right place at the right time; a temporary desres) heaps of other people, including the daily rag that isn’t often kind to us, were more onto it.

blood moon
http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/10596821/Cloud-clears-to-reveal-blood-moon

The effect witnessing this amazing event has had on us all is both definitive and unanimous: it’s brought out the peasant in us.  To be fair, you barely need to scratch our surface to find our collective inner rustic; a casual glimpse at our family tree reveals  agricultural workers all the way, with a smattering of cannon fodder thrown in for good measure. But we digress. The fact is somehow seeing the moon intermittently glow, like an ember in a draft, resonated soundly within us and we’ve hit Till-Sow-Reap overdrive! Of course, a lot of this has to do with it being Spring with it’s rush of warmer days and sprouting seeds, growing goat babies and a week of our own home-grown milk.  The universe coming to the party just added a lovely sprinkling of pageantry, like a hearty gallop around the maypole would have had for our ancestors.

This whole pagan/pageant/medieval  mood that may or may not have been prompted by the eclipse, probably goes a wee way to explaining a recent dinner table debate on the identity of our favourite Homestead tool, which came out resoundingly in favour of…

FullSizeRender
The Pitchfork.

Since shelling out a considerable amount of hard-earned, closely guarded Homestead dollars on this tool, we have found ourselves extolling it’s wonders on a regular basis.  Changing the animal bedding, turning the early-days compost, and moving the goats treat pile is a breeze with this implement.  With it’s help, jobs that used to take a morning of heaving, huffing, muttering-of-bad-words hard grunt are done in half the time.  There’s something soul satisfyingly wonderful about tossing forkful after forkful of spent straw bedding into the wheelbarrow, harpooning the load with the pitchfork, and wheeling it, whistling more times than not, to the compost pile. Maybe it’s some weird echo of the joy experienced by our medieval fore-bearers on it’s invention. 

2176-2
Morning with Farmer and Pitchfork, Vincent van Gogh

But if we were being totally, brutally honest, the overwhelming reason we prize our pitchfork is that is makes us feel like the real deal. There’s no debating it, we’re taking this way of life seriously. 

pitchfork
SEE!  We even have a pitchfork!

Then, if our chosen tool could not become more adored, Farm Girl selected two of her hero-of-the-moment Jamie Oliver’s DVDs from the library as her holiday viewing treat (quite refreshing after the Frozen marathon of late) and we stumbled upon something we could not have considered in our wildest dreams.  Whilst spending time with real life cowboys in Wyoming in Jamie’s American Road Trip, Chef Oliver witnessed the pitchfork being put to a whole new use.

pitchfork-steak 

Thankfully, Farm Girl’s next birthday is a full year away.  We’re not sure where we’d source the cauldron to start with, and then there’s the very real chance of a fire ban, without even starting on the whole health and safety aspect. But it would be fun, don’t you reckon? A dutch oven of baked beans, a pot of strong coffee in the campfire, and several paydays worth of beef fondue-ing on the end of your pitchfork.  

It’s the sort of thing you’d only do once…in a blood moon.

2014-01-17 16.41.57

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12 thoughts on “Pitching at the Moon

  1. Wonderful post. Hubby went out to see if he could see the eclipse the other day, but we had a lot of fog, so no go.

    I love my pitchfork too, though as a child, I put one of the tines through my boot and well into my foot. I handle it much better nowadays, and use it almost daily, much as you do. There is a knack to using it well, and it takes some time – my husband has never really caught on to it and prefers to use a shovel or a garden fork. I will admit that my pitchfork was used at least once in the past year (that I know of) as a giant marshmallow toasting fork by the teenage crowd round here, who had a few friends over for a bonfire. I did not know about this till later, and I had similar misgivings about food safety. The collective teenage brain is perhaps not a good example of the sum being greater than the parts…

    I have not seen the Jamie Oliver American Road Trip! How did I miss this? Way past my bedtime tonight, but I will be on top of this when I eventually get free time (um, I think that will be Tue night, as I work this weekend, have Thanksgiving Dinner on Monday and cleaning the house before the dinner so my brother and his family can think we live tidier than we do – though deep down I know they’re not fooled). Thank you for the tip off! Since we’re speaking of TV personalities we both like, you do remember that Ruth cooked on a shovel in Edwardian Farm…

    • I had totally forgotten about the shovel cooking! Perhaps here is where we confess to our practise of TERRIBLE tool care – I wouldn’t even consider eating off any of them,although the temperature of the fat in the Jamie’s cowboy’s cauldron would kill most nasties, I guess.
      I’ve always been slightly confused by Thanksgiving – I thought it was just before Christmas. Had to smile at the whole frenetic house cleaning…why oh why do we carry out that charade?!
      Oh, and back to Ruth and co: did you see Victorian Farm and Wartime Farm? Think they did a couple of others too. Wonderful viewing 🙂

      • I’ve seen Tales from the Green Valley, Victorian, Edwardian and Wartime Farm, Tudor Christmas – and an ad for the new one (Tudor Farm???), but not the actual series yet. Also not Victorian Pharmacy.

        Thanksgiving is confusing – because there are two. The Canadian one is the second weekend of October. Most people have their big feast on the Sunday, as this derives from the church Harvest festival that many parishes held in early October, but the Monday of that weekend is a statutory holiday. We’re having our feast that day because my brother’s family go to his wife’s mum for dinner on Sunday. Thanksgiving in the US is November 27, always the same day, not floating around like ours does. Ours is much lower key than theirs – no football “bowl”, no pre-Christmas advertising frenzy, no pilgrims setting foot on North America. We just have a big feast and gather family around – the tradition is still for Canadians very much rooted in the end of harvest. The US have a stat day on the 27th and people travel huge distances to be together, despite the fact that they will be doing it all over again a month later for Christmas. It is from them that the whole pilgrim in the black hat, the turkey, and pumpkin pie comes from. Canadians do the turkey thing, and regrettably far too many school arts and crafts involve the Puritan pilgrim who had nothing to do with us, and we even enjoy pumpkin pie – but we don’t do sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving (in the US, a favourite is a sweet potato casserole with marshmallow on top), and we’re thankfully far enough from Christmas that we’re not inundated with all that hoopla. Aren’t you glad you asked? 🙂

      • Thanks for the info. No one I have asked today knew that Canada had it’s very own Thanksgiving so I have appeared very knowledgeable, being able to fill them in on all the details. On the other hand, everyone I mentioned sweet potato casserole with marshmallow topping to, while not at all surprised, were in no hurry to source the recipe.

        Enjoy your family meal.:)

    • In all honesty, I wouldn’t employ any of our garden implements as cooking utensils, but I really like the idea. Like bungy jumping, it looks a blast but there’s no way I’d hurl myself off a bridge 🙂

  2. I am so JEALOUS of your pitchfork! I crave, I desire and dare I say, need one here at our little farmlet too. Spent bedding is a curse, no mistake. The garden fork is too short for my long back and bending down to scoop up that spent straw means my face is a little closer to it than I would otherwise desire. My MIL resides in London though and birthdays and Christmas are a gift of funds sent over each year. This year I am buying myself a pitchfork! I decided so last week. Reading this post clinches the decision! I too will be a REAL farmer soon. 😉

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