This past Sunday, we drove 15 minutes outside our city limits and entered a whole new world of sheep farming, milking, farm machinery. It was also familiar territory of warm-hearted people opening their home and life to others. The people were Josey, Todd and Jensen Lang, folks I’d seen a lot of Sundays a couple of pews down from us, and Josey was le Petit’s Sunday school teacher sometimes, but you never know about the people you casually see: I never would have imagined they were people who raise sheep and care for 20 acres! (But then, I could never imagine anyone of my personal acquaintances living a farm life – we’ve just always been city dwellers.)
So it was a fantastic opportunity and experience to visit with them, along with a whole whack of other families on Sunday afternoon, on their “homestead,” which included: farm animals – sheep, chicken, guard dogs, horses nearby; a drum set; a trailer ride on a rickety tractor; a marshmallow and hot dog roast and tons a homemade sweets. The children had hours of discovery and running around, le Petit included.
Both Josey and Todd have day jobs, but they chose to raise and breed sheep, and some chickens as a “hobby.” They work so hard, morning till night, and I could see that they care deeply about the kind of life they want to live, and to give their daughter.
Visiting the farm showed me a glimpse of a life a bit off the beaten path, one not typical in the circle of friends that le Mari and I interact with. It’s a life a bit closer to the ground – one of working directly with hands close to the earth, seeing the product of one’s work more directly, eating the resulting food one actually grows (reminds me of Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, one of my favorite reads of 2009). It’s not an easy life, I can see that, but there is a value there, a quality of life that is different and I think, worthwhile to pursue.
We had an amazing time and I’m grateful for their generosity and openness in welcoming us, and a whole lot of other people, into their home.