At the beginning of October, I spent a week and a half at World's End Farm. I'm not sure there is a more magical place in the world.
My friend Sarah is the creative visionary behind Saipua and World's End Farm (and together with our friend Nicolette, Little Flower School). One reason why we get along so well, despite being so different on the surface, is that we share a commitment to beauty, to community, to hard work, and to the highest standards.
Those ten days filled me up with enough creative juju to get me through the next six months, at least. The dinner was stunningly beautiful, a celebration of so much. It all photographed so well. But what will stay with me is how tirelessly so many wonderful people came together, working for a week straight to put on this party. For the love of it. We built tables and chairs. We erected tipis, moved rocks, built paths, and constructed outhouses. We stapled the most glorious Indian corn I've ever seen 25 feet up a tree. We collected rusty nails and dyed napkins. We butchered lambs, stacked wood, and cooked dinner for 85 people entirely over coals. People drove ten hours and more to come help cook and put on this meal. New mamas and papas camped with their babes in the woods to wake up early and help set up the barn. We built fires to boil water to wash dishes. I sent friends all over the state on wild goose chases in search of produce, bread, and cheese. People from all over the eastern seaboard brought us homemade pie for dessert, including a pie made by Sarah's mom Sue with precious elderberries from the farm. I was blown away by how eager everyone was to help at any moment, even though we were all exhausted from days of preparation.
Perhaps most remarkably--and certainly most movingly for me--women were in charge of it all. My friend Phoebe drove from Vermont to help me cook; we two women cooked stood in a firepit for 14 hours cooking everything--squash and corn in the coals, lamb from the farm cooked three ways, brussels spouts and kale from the garden, beans simmered over the fire. Watching Sarah lead the meeting each morning with such clarity of vision, and the way her team responded to her, gave me chills. Yes, there were wonderful guys there helping us, and we couldn't have done it without them. But this was definitely all about the lady juju, in the very best way.
I spent my first week at the farm working on recipes and headnotes from dawn to dusk in an attempt to finish another round of revisions. Though I was working my ass off in my own way, as I watched everyone else schlep and saw and dig and move stuff all week long, I started to realize the grand scale on which we were working. I began thinking to myself, "Man, I really have to deliver with this dinner!" Sarah and I started talking about this dinner a year ago. She knew the barn restoration would be done by this fall, and that she'd be ready to cull her first round of rams before this winter, and wanted to celebrate with a lamb roast. World's End is a huge and beautiful place, but until now, there hasn't been a space for everyone to gather. I can only imagine how special and powerful it was for her and Eric to finally invite everyone she's been wanting to invite up to the farm.
I'll still be processing everything for months to come. In the meantime, though, a shoutout to my World's End family: Sarah and Eric, Nikki and Genevieve, Dan and Deanna, Taryne, Alex and Vanessa, Phoebe, Mark and Jennell, Nick and Eddie, Amy, Robinson and Arlo, Fay, Sarah S., Julia and Grace, Kari, Nic, and Tamar, Ziggy, Nea, Blondie and Pucci, I am so very glad I could share this insanely beautiful experience with you all. Heather and Holly, thanks for the photos. Thank you, too, to Iceman and the other two rams who fed us so well. It was the best kind of dream.