Joshua's Farm

by Caleb Ullman
Colebrook, Ct.

My Poo is like goo
It smells awful
Even though I’ve had no falafel
I chew my cud
And talk to my bud
His name is Lyon
He likes flyin’
Since he’s a cow
He doesn’t meow
He is a cow
But what am I?

The Story of Joshua

It's not known where Joshua Smith was born, possibly Europe. He carved farmland from the harsh land in Sandisfield in the 1700s, lived and might even have thrived. He returned from the Revolutionary War and at the age of 48 Nov. 18, 1787, he contracted smallpox and died.
He had chosen as his home the high ground near what is now the 7,000 acre Sandisfield State Forest, near the path know as Knox Trail along which General Henry Knox delivered men and heavy cannon through the Berkshires to outwit British soldiers in Boston who surrendered, believing they were greatly outnumbered. Some of his cannon remain buried in local ponds.

With the exception of the Housatonic River flood plains, the hilly, rocky farmland here was difficult to farm. The high ground with thin soil was what was left in the early land grab to claim the best cropland.
Little is know about Joshua, other than that he was a persistent cuss with a playful humor who believed in the ideals forged by the farmers of a young nation whom he passionately and with his life supported. Joshua fathered 10 children, all of whom were educated. His descendants number in the many thousands today. Perhaps he was part of a force that propelled the country forward on an assembled set of values made of ideal, optimism, and a sense of community that must have seemed all at once irrational and essential, unlikely and necessary, all of it guided by a work ethic, humility, and a spiritual strength we seem as a nation to be losing.

There was hardly wealth or trappings to be had by greed. Joshua never knew wealth. He died owning his musket and his land. He was set apart from the small community when he contracted the feared smallpox which had wiped out local Indian tribes, and was buried along the forest road a few hundred yards from what is now Joshua's Farm.

His isolated gravestone, an old and a new one- mark the edge of the state forest. It is visited by the few who know the story of an unlikely hero otherwise lost to history.

We believe Joshua's ideals and goodness persist. The farm was named for him following several encounters with a nonbeliever in ghosts. If not his ghost, then the uplifting spirit of a man seems to remind in the shadow of the Northern Lights that occasionally ribbon through the night sky that the land belongs not to any one of us, but to its part in the rhythm of agriculture and forest culture. Therefore we are but caretakers as best in our brief tenancy.

A short man with a leprechaun's grin and black bushy beard, he continues to shut doors left open, skirt the edge of a field, and flutter as a strange light beyond the pasture, mesmerizing grazing cows.
Joshua is a friendly, protective presence who reminds of the immutable rhythm of nature that is a rootedness in fluctuating economies and a remedy for what ails us, including very harsh winters.