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"All in a Day" by Beth Weick, as published in North Country News, December 2009

"What do you do?" a woman asked.

"Well…." My hesitant response was clue enough.

She quickly refined her question. "Okay, tell me what you did today."

That I could tackle – daily activities here at D Acres Organic Farm & Educational Homestead are multifarious indeed. Sometimes I prefer the term 'hodge-podge.' Today, for instance, I fed our five pigs, slaughtered two roosters, made sixteen loaves of bread, blanched and froze twelve pounds of kale, made four gallons or so of vegetable chowder, and swept, dusted, scrubbed, straightened, and washed as the chore chart dictated. It's a Friday, so no scheduled work. Just a day to catch up on assorted odds and ends, that's all.

A list can say so much, and yet say so little. The challenge of answering questions such as "what do you do?" never seems to diminish. What's the big picture I'm trying to describe?

At D Acres, we are all about growing food, yes. We're about sustainable production, yes. About minimizing consumption, yes, and striving for fossil fuel independence, yes. We're about vibrant community, and local arts and industry, yes and yes. We're about people and knowledge, culture and health, simplicity, ingenuity, and sustainability – yes to each of those.

We try to share these goals in a myriad of ways. The calendar year 2009 – quickly coming to a close! - has been the Year of Traditional Arts and Ecology here at the farm. We used this theme to schedule our workshops and guide our major events. It was a means for us to draw links between a distinctive local culture and our distinct regional environment. Throughout the year a host of skills, crafts, cottage industries, and local knowledge were shared via workshops and events held here at the farm. A sincere thank you to all who participated, both teachers and learners.

In these final weeks before the New Year, we have one more event that draws out local artists: an open-mic-poetry-slam-and-potluck on Monday Dec 21st! Beginning at 5:30pm, the event will be hosted at 188 Streeter Woods Rd, just up the hill from D Acres Farm. Bring a dish to share with friends, then enjoy a night of poetry and prose. Share your own work, or enjoy the literary talents of your neighbors. We will end the evening with a performance by the nationally-recognized slam poet Lea Deschenes.

Art, food, and friends: essentials for a rich and dynamic community. Such concepts are some of the intangibles that give quality to our lives. That, perhaps, would be another appropriate answer to what we are about here at D Acres. We each have our means of going about it, and we each have our own way of expressing it. But creating quality in life – beauty, health, trust, respect - these, too, I would include on my list of daily work.

So come on over, join us. You can even ask me what I do…I'm coming up with new answers all the time.

Beth Weick is a resident of D Acres Organic Farm & Educational Homestead, a non-profit service organization. She first came to the farm in April 2008 as an intern, and now focuses her work on gardening, tending to the animals, and writing. Learn more about the programs at D Acres by visiting www.dacres.org.

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