Barn Check: Forays on the Farm

Last week I had a chore called Barn Check. Barn Check isn’t like a normal chore we have in the morning; it’s a volunteer position, and it’s during the evening. After dinner every day for a week, I would go to the farm with a partner to help get it ready for the night. We walked through the big greenhouse, and closed the doors to that, and then we walked down the hill to the chickens. We made sure all the chickens were in their coop, and shut their doors for the night. In all, the barn check for my week required the shutting of six latches.

Now, six latches really doesn’t sound like work, nor does it sound exciting. I would agree. Barn check wasn’t hard work, and it wasn´t particularly exciting either. That doesn’t mean it was a boring experience though. Something about walking to the farm every night after dinner, and feeling responsible for the chickens and the greenhouse made me feel like I had a small role in the running of the farm, which was fulfilling. The farm is such a big part of Chewonki, and since the farmers can´t eat with us, and we can only visit in restricted hours, it seems like we don’t really get to see it that much.

Oftentimes, after the all-too-easy job of shutting six latches, we would stay on the farm for a little while longer. The farm is a very peaceful place on campus for the most part; there are few people, wide open spaces, and of course animals! One of the best parts was getting to visit Harriet, the baby calf who was always in the barn ready to say hello. A lick or two from Harriet always put me in a good mood for study hours. Halfway through my week on barn check, piglets arrived on the farm, which was a fun addition. They are small and smelly, and climb all over each other, but at least at night they were pretty cute. A couple times after barn check, I stayed on the farm to go star-gazing for a while. The farm is a good place to look at the stars. 

Now that I have finished barn check, I am going to try to make a visit to the farm as often as I can. Maybe I can even volunteer for farm chores later in the semester, and see how the job changes as the winter approaches. I was glad I got the chance to experience a small part of what helps the farm run. 

Zoë Larson-Harris, Community High School of Arts & Academics, Roanoke, VA

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