Hubby has the day off and spring fever. We are standing in the Dwarf Hall (don’t ask) with the outside door flung wide open admiring the lovely day and discussing what should we do with it, the conversion goes something like this:

Hubby:  “Let’s go shopping!”
Me : ” Who are you and what have you done with my husband!”
Hubby: “Ha ha,  very funny.  I mean let’s go local shopping, you know, for that blog you keep talking about writing, just do it. You still want to write it right?”
Me: ” Um, yeah, OK, let’s do it! I will go look some things up and …”
Hubby: “No, you already did that, let’s just go. I printed out that list you sent me, here”

He hands me a print out of the list of local farms I’d found and instead of the usual dithering around for a few hours and then going, we gather up the county map book, some shopping bags, get our coffee and start out.

“Where should we go?” he says, backing the truck up. I consult the list. Then I consult the map. I show him the map and trace our proposed route with my cookie as I speak “We can go this way to this farm, they have eggs, then we can come back this way and hit this place here that says they have meats, and, then… hmm,  I wonder if we could get locally produced wine vinegar?”. Hubby is used to my multi-tangent, free associative thought processes so he just says “dunno, let’s go ask at the winery by that antique store you like” so we add that to the itinerary and we are off. We have a plan.

We are rolling now! We are actually doing it, going local shopping, as we call it.  We drive along, chatting away and admiring the pretty scenery.  I think Hubby is watching for the turn, he thinks I am because, well,  I am the navigator.  I navigate by yelling “Turn here!” as we zoom past our turn.  We turn around and backtrack to the turn,  get on the right road and start down it looking for the next turn, which is where I think this place is: “it should be somewhere right around where this road tees off into that other road.” I say this like I’ve been here before and I know. Sure enough, right after we turn at the tee, there is a sign with the name of a farm, but there is no sign saying “Open” or  “Eggs Sold Here” or anything like that and the list I found lists the farmers name, not the farm name so we pass by thinking we must have the wrong place. We go a little way further but still don’t see the place so we start looking for road numbers and decide the first place must have been it. We find a place to turn around and go back to the first place and yes, this is the correct address so we turn down the driveway.

It’s kind of, uh, rustic.

We crunch slowly down the drive passing some big rusty things – bits of buildings or old machine parts maybe, and a small field being readied for seeding. As we approach the house and chicken house, the lane narrows a bit and we have to scootch the truck through a throng of chickens whose lackadaisical attitude towards the ton of truck rolling at them kind of freaks me out.  We ease the truck over to the edge of the carpark area, which is really just a wide bend in the lane  by the chicken house, which looks kind of like a little hangar. At the far end of the chicken house there is a fenced area with a gate, under which a parade of chickens pass to and fro thru a deep groove worn in the dirt under the gate. The gate must be more for keeping things out because the chickens quite obviously feel the gate is some bothersome human ridiculousness and totally ignore it, except to go under it or sit on it.  There is a dog kennel next to the gate with a big white dog in it, she has the sweetest face; she looks at us apologetically and thumps her tail.

There are chickens everywhere and they are all talking,  their clucking creates a low rumble in the air that is intermittently broken by rooster shrieks and cock-a-doodle-dos.  I am transfixed, they seem totally oblivious to us as they strut and mill about, forming and reforming little cliques in some kind of secret known-only-to-chickens dance.  I get this goofy vision of the Ascot Racing Day scene in My Fair Lady as I watch them. I am also creepily reminded of junior high school. When they do take any notice of us, they seem a little affronted, as if we have materialized right in front of them that very second, just to be rude.  One large, matronly biddy looks down her beak at us as if demanding to know just who invited us! Who knew chickens were so formal? Their regal hauteur is discombobulated however when one clique of hens missteps and bonks into another clique of hens; the resulting altercation can only be described as a “kerfuffle”.

We get out of the car and stand around like a couple of doofii, what do we do? We do not see anyone, no one comes out of the people house.  Hubby goes up to the porch to look for a bell or something. The yard of the house has the usual assortment of rural lawn decor and, as is pretty common in the area,  a small Virgin Mary shrine near a tree; there is a rooster on her head. Now, I am not a religious person at all but somehow perching on the Blessed Mother’s head just seems wrong, so I kind of shoo him and he flounces off and joins the throng.   A big rooster struts by and gives me the hairy eyeball, he hops up on a rusting something or other behind me and screeches, startling me.  I think it was that same rooster!  I am a little embarrassed to find that I am such a city slicker girl and am unnerved by a few  chickens.

Hubby doesn’t find a bell and there is no answer to his knock so he comes back and we poke around a little, waiting.  Maybe they are in the barn doing some farmer stuff?  “They look healthy” Hubby says, nodding at a nearby clique of biddies. “Yes, and they seem pretty clean and there is no bad smell really” I say, as if I have ANY clue what the hell I am talking about.

We wait a little and still no one comes, we don’t really know what to do, maybe we should have called first? How does this work anyway? So we get back in the truck and crunch back up the driveway to main road.

We decide to go to the winery and ask about wine vinegar before we go to the other farm reasoning “that way we can loop around and maybe catch some more farm signs for more places  to check out”.  It turns out that the man at the  Port of Leonardtown Winery,  is an old co-worker of my husbands and they get to chatting as we start tasting the wines, which frankly, I am not too optimistic about.  I ask about the wine vinegar and the the man tells me that it’s a different license (is that weird or what?) and that they don’t plan to pursue one. He does tell me that there is a vineyard in Maryland that only makes wine vinegar so I will have to go look that up.

I am pleasantly surprised by the wines, I like the Chambourcin a lot, it’s a good sitting-around-drinking-wine wine and isn’t’ too proud to share the table with the food,  like some wines.  The Cab Franc Reserve is also rather pleasant and should play nicely with the others on the table as well. We got a few bottles of wine and hung out for most of the rest of the afternoon and went back later for their Wine and Food Pairing dinner.

We didn’t get any eggs but I am not gong to whine about it :)