Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Is this a farm?

Lots of work has been happening around the house and yard over the last couple weeks. I live for the warm weather and I believe I am starting to realize that it will be over before I know it. That realization has caused me to push my chores and projects into high gear. At the same time, knowing fully that I won't get it all accomplished.

I often wonder if other people see our accomplishments in the exact same light as we do. To be honest you work so hard at something it is hard to look objectively at it. Trying to reuse as much free material as we can get our hands on causes me to worry that perhaps our creations are seen as an eyesore instead of as beautiful creations by those around us. I feel a responsibility to my community and neighbors to add to the neighborhood and not detract from it. I also certainly realize that my values might not be the values of those around me and want to strike a balance between building an urban homestead and respecting my neighbors.

We live on a very, very busy street and the house is set close to the road. Besides car traffic there is always someone walking, biking, running, driving a four wheeler, or whatever, down the side walk. I attempt at all times to be friendly to those walking by and was pleasantly surprised by a compliment given us by a gentleman walking by this weekend. I noticed him walking one way down our side walk and then back the other way, so I smiled and waved. Smiling back he simply said, "nice garden". This is my first garden EVER of my own and you better believe I beamed and shouted THANKS! Built out of discarded wood from horse stalls, with dirt from a cemetery, and surrounded by fencing to keep rabbit and deer at bay I can see the beauty of the garden but I can only imagine what my urban neighbors think. Well apparently some think "nice garden".

Then yesterday while harvesting baskets of beans, I looked up to notice a neighbor boy on the other side of the fence. About 9 or 10 he politely waited for me to notice him. "Excuse me," he called, "is this a farm?" I wanted to say yes but I don't believe I qualify as being a farm just yet. So I smiled and told him no. "But you have chickens," he said. I explained that the city of Berea allows chickens. I asked him if he had ever seen a chicken. "Ya, well not in real life, only on TV," he said. I couldn't help myself. I had to ask if he wanted to pet one. He answered so quickly YES I could walk fast enough to get him one and I honestly believe he waited all day to ask. I knew he was concerned about being bitten and I assured him that I would get him a very sweet and gentle chicken to pet. Having him wait by the fence I went and got Jo-Jo, our Polish rooster, who is just about the most laid back bird I have ever met. With his funny feathers flopping around his little chicken face I thought my little friend would really like him. I showed my young neighbor Jo-Jo and told him how there are hundreds of different types of chicken breeds just like dogs. He confidently pet Jo-Jo on the back and commented how soft he was and then in a flash he said THANKS and rode off on his bike. His mission was accomplished.
If all kids of my neighborhood would come and pet chickens I would be thrilled. I think to myself… is this a farm?

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