The origin of Phish's Farmhouse . . . a note.

I've loved this song for many years, and I've often sat down to try and annotate it's meaning . . . to no avail. Because it just doesn't make much sense.

Until recently. 

According to Trey, “Farmhouse was written and recorded in the first five minutes of one of those trips.” He had just picked Tom up from the airport and, after pulling over to jump around in a nearby field, they “looked up at the sky, it was exploding with these deep greenish colors that {they} soon realized were the northern lights. {They} stood there and just stared in awe.”

Inspiring the words:

“I never ever saw the northern lights. (This is our farmhouse)
I never really heard of cluster flies. (Cluster flies alas)
Never ever saw the stars so bright. (This is our farmhouse)
In the farmhouse things will be alright. (Cluster flies alas)”

Before the farmhouse, none of them had ever seen the northern lights before, and they were in awe.

Then, “We continued on, and found our house down a long secluded dirt road. We walked in and I ran over to the gear and picked up a guitar while Tom plugged in a Mic. there were some sliding glass doors that we opened, and though it wasn't as intense as it had been when we pulled over, we could still see traces of the northern lights thru the door. Mostly, we were both buzzing from that magical feeling of being completely alone, and knowing that we didn't have to talk to or see a single soul for three whole days and nights, which to both of us was heaven.

I started strumming and Tom started singing, and since he didn't have any lyrics, he reached over and grabbed the note that the owner of the house had left for us and began reading it, verbatim.”

The note read:

“Welcome this is our farmhouse.
We have cluster flies alas,
And this time of year is bad.

We are so very sorry,
There is little we can do, but swat them.”

I have struggled for years over what these lyrics meant, and I am not the least bit disappointed at their origin. 

But I am still more than a little confused with the verse:

She didn't beg-
Oh not enough.
She didn't stay
When things got tough.
I told a lie
And she got mad
She wasn't there
When things got bad.

These lyrics may or may not be part of the note. I don’t really see how it can, unless the farmhouse owner is sharing some intimate detail about why the farmhouse is vacant.

As for the last verse:

Woke this morning to the stinging lash
Every man rise from the ash
Each betrayal begins with trust
Every man returns to dust.

I have no idea. I’ll leave that to you, if you want it.

And that's okay.