A Memorable Morning on Salt Marsh Farm

Approaching the third week on campus only meant one thing: it was time for morning chore rotation. My friend Lilly and I were both hesitant to give up our beloved kitchen chores, knowing we would miss setting up breakfast (get first dibs on any of the delicious pastries), putting away leftovers, and excitedly waiting for after dinner clean up to see if Russ (one of the amazing cooks) smuggled us any homemade chocolate chip cookies behind the counter! 

It was Tuesday afternoon when they announced the new chores, and just as we had all suspected, my cabin, Gillies, was on farm chores next. The seven of us were ecstatic to start farm chores after hearing all the funny stories from the previous cabin on farm chores but dreading the early wake up. When the time came to decide who would collect eggs, feed the pigs, chicken, and turkeys, do compost, milk the cow, set up fencing, or tend to the baby chicks we came across one small issue: all seven of us desperately wanted to milk the cow. I’m not sure what it was about waking up early and milking a cow, but everyone in gillies wanted to experience it, me included. Out of fairness, we had to resort to picking out of a hat. Slightly  disappointed that I wouldn’t be milking a cow for the next 14 days, I was looking forward to what the pigs had in store for me. 

My second day on farm chores was the most memorable – something about the crisp early morning air, my cozy flannel tucked into my overalls, and the harvest moon still high in the sky. I put three full buckets of slop in my cart and started off towards the pigs. I was not quite half awake, appreciating the silence of the morning and the dew on the grass, when I turned the corner around the barn to see a large cow and what looked like our newest calf, grandpa, in the pasture together. Confused by this site, as grandpa usually stays separate from the other cows, I kept trotting along. I noticed Megan, the farm and woodlot manager, quietly perched a few feet from the two, watching. It then occurred to me that the calf was not the beloved grandpa, but the new calf that was expected to be born this Saturday. Trying to process what I was seeing and contain my excitement, a wave of emotions flooded my body and tears filled my eyes. It was beautiful. I was mesmerized by the baby bull, still wobbly on its little legs, learning to nurse as its mom, Hazel, tried to clean him off. I stood there watching for a while trying to contain my excitement when I decided I should probably continue on towards the pigs leaving the hour old calf to experience the world. 

As I came out to the top of the road looking over the east pasture the sun started to rise and bright red colors peaked through the trees illuminating all of Salt Marsh Farms. All 9 big black pigs came running up towards me, also excited to see me (or maybe just their breakfast?). I knew it was going to be another amazing day at Chewonki. 

-Eliza Tiles, The Archer School for Girls, Santa Monica, CA


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