It’s been a busy, full, chaotic summer so far. We moved across the country, my car was totaled 2 days before we moved, we lived with my super accommodating sister and her family for 6 weeks, we bought and moved into a new (to us) home, unpacked (mostly,) bought a couch to replace the ones we gave away, researched and ordered a gas stove, and last week we spent 3 consecutive nights going “car shopping” as soon as GC got home from work to finally get me back into a car. I was really feeling my lack of independence every morning when GC drove away in our one and only car. So I was pretty happy on Thursday night when we drove a minivan home as our new family car. There are so many stories to tell about the last 8 weeks, I’ll never get to them all. So I am starting with the present. Or the most recent past. Saturday.
GC and I care about food. I wouldn’t call myself a foodie, or even a good cook. GC on the other hand is a good cook, the kind where he tastes whatever he is making and then adds a little of this and a little of that, and it tastes better. I need a recipe and exact measurements. We do agree that we care about our food and the choices we make with what and how we eat. We care about where our food comes from, who grows it, the quality, and the impact on our health and environment. When we lived in Delaware we belonged to a Co-Op and got all of our beef, chicken, pork, eggs, and dairy products from an Amish farm in Pennsylvania. We could taste the difference in the meats, see the difference in the eggs when the deep orange yolk hit the frying pan in the morning, loved the creamy consistency of the milk right from the cow, and we felt good buying from a sustainable farm where we knew there were no antibiotics, growth hormones, pesticides, or genetically modified ingredients used.
GC did some research recently and convinced me that we needed to go visit a farm almost 2 hours away from our new home. I agreed thinking it would be fun for the Roc to see some cows up close. We went on Saturday and the farmer was so nice, giving us a tour of his property and explaining some of the things they were doing. First we saw some cows, the Roc was warned to stay far away from the electrified fence, and he did, thank goodness.
We checked out the “egg mobile” and got the freshest egg possible.
(don’t mind us Ms. Chicken. We’re just watching you lay an egg….keep going.)
We spent a lot of time talking to farmer Mike, learning that he has 5 areas where his cows graze and that 3 days after the cows move on to the next paddock, the egg mobile is moved into that paddock and the chickens go to town eating bugs and bug larvae. It was refreshing to see the cows and chickens outside, the real definition of “free range,” and listening to farmer Mike talk about how they started and how he felt providing individual buyers as well as restaurants with good quality beef. Plus, it was a beautiful day and a beautiful area.
(hey there chickens!)
Farmer Mike told us what he had done for a living before buying the old farmland and turning it from corn/soybeans to a salad bar for cows. GC was relaxed and happy as he chatted with farmer Mike and he started asking questions about how one gets into sustainable farming. He blew out a big sigh and said he wished we could do the same, at this time in our lives, that he could farm for a living instead of sitting behind a computer, working for a bank. I flashed to a memory of a conversation I had with my book club friends back in Delaware.
Someone asked the question, “what would you do if you won the lottery and never had to work again?” Everyone was saying what they would buy, a bigger house, a fancy car, trips around the world, a yacht. When it got to my turn I said I knew exactly what I would do. I would buy a huge piece of land and start a farm and a therapy complex for individuals with disabilities. A sustainable farm that could support farm animals as well as crops, a place where people could come to ride horses, go swimming, and other outdoor activities in a safe, accepting, compassionate environment. A place that would make a difference for many people, for people like my son.
Remembering this conversation I asked GC, “Did you tell him about the Roc?” GC then told farmer Mike that the Roc has autism. Mike smiled and said he has an adult son with Down Syndrome. Here we were standing and chatting with him about sustainable farming and health, and we find out that we share something else, something huge (to me,) we are both special needs parents. He told us a little about his son, and I smiled when he said “he’s the most normal of the bunch of us.”
“There is no normal,” I replied.
The Roc was getting antsy, so I stuck a movie into the DVD player,
(so happy with this car!)
left GC to talking and went off to take a few more pictures.
During the quiet ride home GC and discussed how well the Roc went with the flow that morning. We had only told him we were going to a farm that morning, that we would definitely see some cows and meet a new person. I wasn’t able to give him any other details and he went along with a smile.
We were both excited to see how the night would go…we had big plans for the Roc.
To Be Continued…