Jude's Barn

Chris, Andy and I met up with Jude Becker at dawn or so.

There was a heavy cloud cover, which the sun only managed to break through in long thin beams, giving the farm a mythical feel. Jude fed some sows- female pigs- and then fed some weaners- pigs that have recently been weaned from their mothers. We then went out to the insulated farrowing huts, a somewhat recent breakthrough- that has allowed sows enough warmth to give birth in winter.

Chris and Jude are good friends, and walked the farm, talking about what's happened since their last visit, soon forgetting the camera Andy held, and the occasional question or comment interjected.

Winter is a time of absence out here. Especially this winter, because there's no snow. The ground, the trees, the roads, all seems to be shades of brown. As I looked out across the arched metal huts sitting on the brown dirt, I couldn't help but imagine how different it must look in the full green of summer.

After Jude finished showing us around, the four of us entered into Jude's dream barn. It's a barn from the 1870s I think- that Jude has renovated into a living space. The entrance has a couple of large ornate wood carvings, which were done by Jude's father, who has passed on. Jude explained the history and background of the pieces, his words full of pride. There's a whole room with carvings that Jude will soon have organized into a formal display. 

Upstairs we had oatmeal, and prosciutto from one of Jude's hogs, as well as some cheese and wheat thins. Excellent.

We interviewed Jude, in a hoop barn with nice light, but it was too loud so we moved to an empty hoop barn, where the light wasn't as nice, but it was quiet. Shortly thereafter we interviewed Chris, once again switching from our initial location.

By this time, it was nearing midday, the sun had broken above the clouds, and the ground was total mud. The mythical feel of the morning was long gone. Chris and Jude went to town to get ingredients for lunch- Andy and I prepped for the shoot.

Andy and I filmed a kind of informal cooking show with Jude and Chris, as they talked about food, farming, and cooking.

It was a bit awkward at first, largely because I haven't ever directed a cooking show before, but after a short while, we decided for a more laid back approach- which seemed to work pretty well.

The end result was a wondrous lunch. Some of Jude's Applegate Bacon- which has been carmelized in a syrup and soy sauce, laid on a bed of spinach and garlic shrimp. It was amazing. Chris finished just in time to get to the airport, and we said goodbye and thanks for a great week. Andy got a few last shots of the farm, and we uploaded our footage from the day. Jude and I talked about land challenges, before goodbyes.

We drove West and North to Thornton, stopping for a meal in Cedar Rapids. Home after a full week, sleep came easily.

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published this page in Ruminations 2012-07-18 11:32:32 -0400