The Country in the Boy

| 6/15/2015 11:20:00 AM

Andrew WeidmanWhen I met my wife and we decided to travel the road of life together, I took her home to meet my family. Home was a small dairy farm in Dutch Country, Pennsylvania. Dad raised everything from dairy cattle and sheep to guinea fowl and geese; Mom liked to say that all we needed was a peacock and a jackass to get a zoo license, and that we really did operate a ‘Funny Farm.’ After my family met Jessie, my sister confided in my then-future mother-in-law that she always knew I’d marry someone from ‘the fast lane.’ Twenty years later, Jessie and I still laugh about ‘life in the fast lane.’

Making Hay
Amish farmers bale an August crop of hay in nearby Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. 

These days I live between two worlds, one industrial and the other agrarian. Maintaining heavy equipment in an aluminum mill keeps the lights on and food on the table, not exactly a homesteader’s first choice of a profession. Which brings us to confession No. 2.

I’m not a homesteader, not by a long shot. We live in Suburbia, just on the edge of a Metropolitan center, admittedly a small one, but metropolitan nonetheless. As close as we live to the city, we live just as close to the country. The farm where I grew up lies five miles to the north, Town Square, five miles south. On a quiet morning, the lowing of cattle drifts in my bedroom window. Ag tractors, semis and Amish buggies pass within earshot of the house on a regular basis.

The only ‘livestock’ we keep are three mixed breed dogs that are more like family than pets, and the garden has gone by the wayside, a victim of a swing shift job with long hours; but I still manage to keep my hands dirty. We have a small orchard of trees I grafted, and gooseberry bushes grow along one fence line of our property. The beds in our yard always have something blooming during the growing season, no thanks to any lawn care service; and if the need ever arose, we could ditch the yard and be able to grow a sizeable portion of our food supply.

Our cocker/poodle, Sophie, and one of our Yorkie/poodles, Scamp, love working in the yard, watching it, that is.

6/21/2015 2:09:40 PM

Arik1969, yes, you can still find fresh, unpasteurized, whole milk -- if you know where to look for it.

6/17/2015 2:44:54 AM

Hope you can still get that good, fresh milk before they pasteurize all the flavor out of it!

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