Miolea Organic Farm

  (Adamstown, Maryland)
Organic Farming from a City Boy's Perspective
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Who adopts whom when a animal shows up

I understand adoption from a human perspective.  The older human elects to take responsibility for a baby or young child -a child, an innocent, open sponge for education, be it emotional, intellectual, spiritual or just plain surroundings and environment - in essence, a long-term commitment to the betterment of this being.

I would never have said that an animal would adopt a human.  Everything living eventually becomes aware of their surroundings; from there, Darwin's theory takes over.  The strong and smart do survive and adaptability is the key to long-term establishment. 

While living in the city I can say at no time did a dog, cat or any other animal come up to the yard and just hang around or choose to live there.  So far, since we moved to the farm, two cats have adopted us and several dogs were "maybe's" (unfortunately, their owners responded to our call).  The first cat, BC, was found living in the barn on the President's Day Blizzard in 2003 and was unable to hunt for food.  We started feeding her and then named it BC,  for our  first "barn cat. " We are not the most sophisticated people when it comes to naming things.   

I had not come across this phenomenon of having animals walk up to you or your house as if they belong.  I never came across this little fact while reading farming books either.  Two years ago, we had a cat come out of the woods and walk up to my wife, sitting on our front porch, talking to her or ME-OWing as he approached.

My wife stopped what she was doing and waited for the cat to come to her.  talking in smooth tones, encouraging the cat with the sound of trust, she put her hand out and the boisterous cat darted toward her, then backed off, but returned to rub against her and meow.

After some time, he would walk over to the shade and lay down.  From that point on he would show up when we were outside working.  His actions were the same, you would hear him talking as he was walking to you.  Once there he would walk and rub against your legs, seemingly demanding to be pet.    Adoption number two took place that July.  Like BC, we took him in to our vet, and got him fixed , and he started to adjust to life in the house.  BC taught him who was tops in the feline hierarchy and he took to his new position with no issues. 

Almost immediately, we started noticing Woody sleeping in peculiar positions.  So one time I took a picture and sent it to my niece (who had fallen in love with our newest cat) and a hobby was born.  It was too easy to pass up, I do not have time for a hobby nor interest, but I have a camera phone and it is with me all the time.  I walk in: Woody is sleeping between the arm of the sofa and the table, so I take a shot.  Then upload the picture with the rest of them.  Follow the link below to see the different pictures.  We hope you enjoy.

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WOODY SLEEPING Press the play button when you get there.

In a manner of speaking

Judge not, lest ye be judged, as the saying goes.  Just as you cannot tell how good a book will be by its cover, you cannot judge a reasonable person from a one-chance encounter.  I have always been aware of how people pronounce the word ricotta.  The national mispronunciation of this cheese bothers me more than the incorrect pronunciation of our farm name.  I think one out of a hundred people will pronounce the name of the farm correctly.  I am okay with that, it is any body’s guess whether the vowels are long or short in our name, Miolea, which comes from the previous owners and represents the beginning name of the son – Mike, mother – Olive and daughter Lea. 

The farm name is a confusing mix of potential enunciations and inflections.  We pronounced the name wrong when we first visited and a couple more times after that.  When we took stewardship of the land, we decided to change the name of the farm in pronunciation to invoke an Italian theme.  We changed some vows to long while others were changed to short.  Over the years, if a customer mispronounces the farm name we have given up on correcting the mistake.  They can pronounce it anyway they like if it helps them remember us, all the better. For some odd reason I care more about how to say ricotta, this creamy-sweet, beautiful sheep’s milk cheese than I do our farm name.  For the record, My-Oh-Lay-a, is how the farm name is the way we pronounce the name.

I grew up in a predominately-Italian household with my grandmother being the last generation to speak Italian.  Her children and grandchildren did not learn Italian from her as much as we learned the Italian emphasis when pronouncing words.  Much like the way we pronounce words from other cultures, with their own intonation and enunciation, we as an American culture do not pronounce Italian words with an Italian articulation.  I can think of Chinese - General Tao and Mexican - Fajitas as two examples of how people will use the correct pronunciation when saying these words.  In Italian "P" is pronounced like a "B", so pasta would sound like "basta" in our family and millions of other Italian households.  This leads me to my pet peeve.

As a nation, we had no problem pronouncing words from other cultures.  My best example is Fajita.  Nationally the pronunciation of that word with the correct Spanish enunciation happens all the time.  Take Chinese, French, Greek and Indian culinary delights, we order these cuisines and generally pronounce them with the correct intonation, cadence and inflection.  I feel that Italian cuisine is getting a short shrift in the "foodie" world when it comes to pronouncing Italian words correctly.

To that end I present these facts, most people pronounce fajita correctly, and most people pronounce ricotta wrong.  Italian, much like Spanish has its different inflections and dialects.  I do not know where we missed the boat on pronouncing ricotta correctly but it is almost universal.  Pasta, okay, I will concede pasta instead of basta or managot for manicotti.  Nevertheless, a sheep’s cheese as noble and diverse as any of the best cheeses known to humans deserves the foodies reverence relegated to other delicacies such as Foie Gras, or the more mundane like Tortilla.  

Fajita is the example I use to draw my conclusions, however misguided.  I have never heard, okay I once heard, a person ask for a (FA-GEE-TA), in a Hispanic restaurant.  It is most always pronounced (FA HEE TA), The "JI" has a "hee" enunciation instead of a "jee or ji".  You do not order FaGEEtas or Fa-jI-tas; you order faHeetas, when asking for the delicate flour tortilla.  I bet you pronounced the last word of that sentence like (tor tee a) not (tor till a).  You are starting to see the pattern of neglect Italian pronunciations suffer.

In my family when talking of Italian things the letter "C" was pronounced as a G (ga), the letter "P" came out as "B" and there were other slight variances.  I did not get all the Italian variations, which is why I can only be the least bit indignant.   

However, ricotta, pronounced correctly with the proper inflection, tone and dialect would sound like Ri- Gaw-ta.  The "i" is silent the "C" sounds like "Gaw".  When we hold cooking classes, if we are using the cheese I make a point to pronounce ricotta as part of the class.  It is just because it sounds so much better pronounced correctly. 

Rigawta is used in main dishes as well as deserts.  It is a bit nutty with a creamy texture suitable for Tiramisu or in delicately stuffed ravioli.  I am not asking for much, just a simple “g” when saying the word rigawta.  As far as the farm name, pronounce it however, you see fit.



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