Field days


'4,000 people come every year," my intern told me. She had talked with an organizer of the Adams Agri cul tural Fair -- and she lightened my morning. People still come, even from a distance, to a country fair.

I'm glad to know that many people care. Not everyone knows, these days, what a farm feels and smells like. Even here, where farmers mar kets fill most downtowns every weekend and families pick raspberries on Sat urday mornings, plenty of people have never pulled a carrot out of the ground or leaned against a horse while she noses their pockets for the carrots now leaving muddy marks on their jacket.

Country fairs began as part of daily life. When all the neighbors are making corn relish, it's natural to get together and show off. And when your living depends on the amount of milk your cows give in a year, and on the price you can get for the calves, a cattle show is as practical as a technology expo for iPhones.

Growing beets or beef, making chard or cheese are still practical skills, and I am thankful to everyone who keeps them familiar. My family has a farm, and one of my earliest memories is standing on the fence to the cow yard, waiting for the dairy cows to come up to lick our hands. And I can unload a hay wagon, saddle a horse and drive a tractor.

My family's farm no longer milks a dairy herd. But I get my milk from High Lawn Farm in Lee, because they do.

And I go back to my farm because there is nothing in the world like a farmyard in the early morning, with chickens pecking in the dust among the plantains and cattle lowing, and the scent of hay off the hill.


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