bear mountain

by janinelidell

Continuing our travels, we stopped into a coffee shop in Portland, Maine, hit up the Whole Foods salad bar and we knew it was time to get back to the woods. So we drove through the White Mountains and around Newfound Lake to the town of Alexandria, New Hampshire. Following directions and homemade signage, the road narrowed and grew steep and we questioned how anyone got down the hill in the New England winters. As we pulled in the drive, we knew right away, this was a special place. Maybe it was the miniature donkey coming our way.

Dilys and Leon greeted us and offered a cup of tea and a tour right away and as we walked, were followed by the two new puppies. Rex and Scout jumped at our feet.  Everyone stops at moments throughout the day to just stand and watch the puppies roll down the hill.

George the donkey followed us and the puppies as we met the rabbits, chicks, ducks, pigs, a beautiful small herd of goats and newborn kittens. Cute baby animal overload. It’s very alive right now and yet at some point the freezer will again be filled as the farm produces ninety percent of what they eat. Since we’ve been here, rabbit, beef and goat have been on the menu, all from right here. It’s a lot more work to make everything you consume but it seems like the only way after living here for just over a week.

Dilys and Leon are as someone described to us, salt of the earth. The true definition. Dilys has lived in Boston as well as in a hand crafted tipi in the woods and seems to be most at home among her animals she obviously loves and tends to. You look around the house the two built and see her touches everywhere from the paintings to hand-woven baskets used for gathering home-grown vegetables and eggs. Baking supplies are easy to reach as she makes bread for the farmer’s market every week. Kefir and yogurt jars are often on the counter as she is a strong proponent for the probiotic revolution.

Leon is slowing down after putting in his life with draft horses in the woods. Since he was a kid in the thirties he has lived in the world of logging and working the land. He tells us over dinner one night that farm help used to receive “room, board, cigarettes and gloves” in exchange for grueling days in the sun. That’s how farms made any sort of a profit. Mostly, Leon loves his goats. Many a days, I see him at the kitchen table with the goat magazines spread out, offering opinions on favorite breeds and plans for future herds.

So all is well and good and learning is abundant. Just what we had asked for actually.

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