Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Life on The Farm 101011: Farmers Heart Carhart

$8 Hoodie from Walker's in St. Albans

It was anticipated to be a Saturday at farmer’s market with temperatures in the mid-40’s. 

We are in our eleventh (or is it 12th?) season of direct-to-consumer sales, having offered our farm’s goods through hail, snow, rain, and gale-force winds. 

On the occasion of learning there would be a 20-degree drop in our comfort zone, we bought brand new (discount) hoodies.

You may know the value of a new hoodie or sweatshirt – and appreciate the soft fluffy goodness.

But, just in case you aren’t privy to the awesome insulating power of fleece, I can tell you that an off-the-rack hoodie is hypnotically warm and comforting - like holding as many purring kittens as you can carry in your arms.  

Said garments stand up to a brisk wind, making the wearer cozy, comfy, and perhaps even a little drowsy.

(Ooooo, nice kitties.)

Unfortunately, the good times don’t last, and after months of washing in our Highgate hard water, formerly favored garments become stiff, thin, and unable to hold the heat of even one decent-sized hamster. 

To amplify our clothing budget, we dress in multiple layers.

The first is usually a stained or frayed t-shirt; the second, the sweatshirt that has shrunk the most; next comes a hoodie with a torn front pocket or stretched out cuffs; the final layer is a coat purchased one size too big for the purpose of serving as a defensive outer layer.

Preferably, it will also be the least stained and have a working zipper, but it isn’t always the case – and that’s what diaper pins are for.

When dressing like the Michelin Man becomes too restrictive and no further additions of frayed and holey cotton can belay the chill of Vermont Winters, Springs, Falls and disappointingly crappy Summers; when pervasive oil stains start to weigh a man down - it’s time to make a bonfire with the old sweats and T’s - and go clothes shopping.

On this market day, my husband Dan was sporting four layers, including his new hoodie and 2 outer jackets (one made of plastic).

Plastic as a final layer holds in the heat well, even if it is only a garbage bag with a hole cut for breathing purposes.  I’ve worn one before in a pinch.  But not on this day.

I had a battery-powered jacket keeping me toasty, on account that I was the one who remembered to plug it in and charge it the night before.  I also wore a spiffy lavender hoodie underneath.

We farmers pull layers on and off during the working day as a matter of course; there’s a wardrobe in the back seat of our truck, spare clothes in the parlor, and coats and gloves lying next to the candy wrappers in the tractors.

You never know when green manure, a muddy dog, an errant cup of coffee - or a belligerent and angry red jelly donut – will necessitate a quick change before walking in to the John Deere shop.

It’s high time to buy new hoodies, and that’s a fact.