I never thought I would be one of those people who had farm animals as pets. I never thought I would be one of those people who named a farm animal. I never thought I would be one of those people who welcomed strangers into my home to enjoy a virtual petting zoo. And yet....
This past year Alex and I moved into a precious log cabin perfectly situated on the edge of our vegetable fields. It is picturesque, easily accessible to the road and the barns. It has a yard built for an energetic mutt, and just enough acreage to support a little mini-farm within the larger farm. Last fall, we hosted our first on-farm dinner and invited farm share members onto our land and into our home. Then we got 60 chickens, built a new chicken house, and moved all the hens and both of their houses into our yard. THEN we bought sheep—this really sealed the deal. We built a new barn, put up a fence and welcomed our farm pets into our lives. These sheep are an amazingly friendly, good-natured (and tasty!!) breed. So we fell in love.. and we invited more people over to visit them. Now, just a few months later... they're having babies!!!! This is definitely something we wanted—I mean, who doesn't want a bunch of beautiful baby lambs bouncing around??? Well, we weren't prepared for just HOW cute they would be...they're really cute. Also, I didn't realize how much the animals would contribute to the fullness and joy of our lives. Waking up in the morning to let the sheep out and then drinking my coffee while they leap around in the grass outside of our window really does complete my imagined dream of the perfect pastoral scene.
Don't be mistaken, we are really looking forward to reaping the rewards of our sheep labor in the form of delicious meat next year. Fundamentally we believe in raising meat humanely for harvest. These St Croix sheep would not exist in Virginia (or anywhere in the US) if they weren't being raised for meat—that is their purpose here. As such, it is not a contradiction for me to raise these animals as pseudo-pets, snuggle with them as babies, and carry them through their lives as best we see fit. Further, we want to invite our community in to witness this process and "meet your meat," as they say.
SO, of course we must invite everyone out to share this idyllic spring, right?? Yes. Ergo... the new little on-farm market we're hosting Tuesday afternoons. I know it's a trek for most of our customers, and I don't have expectations of making big bucks at this stand. But, just 3 weeks in I can already feel the love of our little home reverberating out through friends and farm share members. It's just impossible not to enjoy sharing the cute hops and snuggles of a baby lamb, and an errant, rogue chicken, and our new perennial flower beds, and (of course) our nourishing vegetables.
I guess, it turns out, I am one of those people :)