Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Farm Adventures with Emma & Aubry!

The Harrison Farm Blog is now proudly back after a summer break!  There have been many changes -- both joyful and sorrowful -- in that time, and there are numerous new stories to share!  Grandmother has embraced some new changes in her life, I had an amazing experience traveling to Wyoming for 17 days with my girlfriends, and I had the pleasure of attending my first annual summer retreat for the Ohio Farm Bureau board.  It has been a busy and delightful summer thus far!

Most recently, I had the wonderful experience of hosting a student from Brown University for a week.  Emma is a biology major, who plans to continue on to vet school.  In an effort to gain more knowledge about farming and livestock, Emma traveled to Ohio for some on-farm experience.  By the time Emma arrived at Harrison Farm, she had already visited two of my favorite local operations: Pleasantview Farm (an organic dairy near Circleville owned by the awesome Perry Clutts) and Jorgensen Farm (a diverse organic farm and event venue owned by one of my personal heroes Val Jorgensen).  From there, Emma braved the world of the goats and the Goatherd at Harrison Farm!

Emma's arrival managed to coincide with a powerful storm and the return of my student assistant Aubry -- both of which are remarkable forces of nature!  Aubry worked for me for two years while she was in high school, and has worked as-available with her college schedule since then.  She is a beautiful & remarkable young woman, and I am flattered every time someone asks if she is my daughter!  Emma and Aubry got along wonderfully!  This was a good thing considering the conditions they had to survive during their visit . . . trees toppled over from the storm, no electricity (thus no running water or air conditioning), and 100 degree temperatures.  All of this was in addition to the usual craziness of life with the Goatherd!  Fortunately, Emma was absolutely charming: intelligent & kind, with a thoughtful inner beauty!  Midway through Emma's visit, we did regain power.  We were most grateful, however, for the loan of a generator from Blystone Farm -- which had given us just enough power to water the livestock and take showers!

During my week with Emma & Aubry, I was incredibly appreciative of all that my friends did to welcome them and help them to learn!  We had fantastic meetings with Beth Vanderkooi (Director of State Policy for Ohio Farm Bureau), Dr. Leah Dorman of Farm Bureau's Center for Food & Animal Issues, Jody Carney (Organization Director for Delaware, Franklin, Madison, and Union County Farm Bureaus), Janelle Teeters Mead (Deputy Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture), and Angela Ottman of the State Auditor's Office.  These women illuminated Emma & Aubry on their work in agriculture, discussed how it is related to what I do as a livestock farmer, and shared their perspectives on being a professional woman in their field.  For two biology majors, it was a great opportunity to understand the diversity of careers in agriculture -- and I learned a great deal as well!  We also had fun adventures like having dinner with Auntie, meeting the Meat Inspectors at Blystone Farm, riding in the Hilliard Independence Day Parade, working a morning at the slaughterhouse, watching the movie Elf, touring the Animal Diagnostic Lab at the Department of Agriculture, and trying kayaking!

I sincerely hope that Emma & Aubry enjoyed their time at the farm as much as I enjoyed having them!  Despite our "frontier" lifestyle -- thanks to the storm -- it was wonderful to have houseguests!  I felt so blessed to have the house filled with laughter and happiness!  I am constantly amazed by the good people that God puts in my life: my friends & family who welcomed my visitors, my dear Aubry who is the best personal assistant a Goatherd could want, and the lovely Emma who is now a treasured part of our circle!  I truly believe there is an intrinsic noble quality to farming that inspires people, and a beauty to the food it produces -- which in turn serves to bring people together over nourishing meals.  I feel most fortunate to have shared such a special time with these two remarkable young ladies, and am reminded yet again that -- while I may not have biological children of my own -- God has gifted me with wonderful kids . . . human and caprine varieties!

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