When I was a kid, we had a garden. It wasn’t much, but it kept our family in fresh vegetables during a pretty bad recession. But I was a kid. All I understood was that we had zucchini every. single. night. All of us kids were tired of zucchini. One night, my parents explained that we had a lot of zucchini, and that was why we ate it every night.
I was a kid. I decided to fix the problem. My logic was too much zucchini = we’re sick of it; no zucchini = all better.
So I loaded up a little wagon with zucchini. I dragged it around the block, selling that blasted zucchini door-to-door. There was a lot of zucchini. The wagon was heavy. Walking up and down all those sidewalks was exhausting.
So I took my little traveling veggie stand to the nearby apartment complex, where the doors were closer to each other. There were a LOT of people there who were really happy to buy fresh zucchini. They acted like they had never eaten zucchini every night. They were happy to give me money in exchange for making the zucchini go away.
It turned into a regular route with whatever was giving us a bumper crop. Seniors were my best customers. I was too young to understand how much work it was for them to haul groceries on the bus. Every time they gave me money for those blasted zucchinis, they thanked me with such enthusiasm and sincerity, it confused me.
Did they know these were zucchinis?!
As I grew up, I understood a little better. Our garden wasn’t much, but it was more than a lot of people had. Zucchini was – after eating it every day – my least favorite vegetable ever. But for a lot of people, it was a taste of summer, of old times when they had their own garden, or just something fresh in a world of scratch-and-dent canned veggies.
Those zucchinis stuck with me. (I enjoy them again, by the way.)
My cousins had a farm. By the time I was old enough to know anything, there wasn’t a lot of farming left. I collected eggs when I visited, and rode horses. I got to spend a summer with them, join 4H, take a horse into competition and collect some ribbons. I loved it. My cousins were kind of over it, but they gave me an incredible experience anyway. And the other horse – sort of forgotten in pasture – got some riding time when her teenaged owner saw the farm again with my fresh eyes. She went back to 4H that summer and collected some ribbons, herself.
It doesn’t take a perfect farm to make a difference. And, sometimes, sharing a little farm means something and rejuvenates a little, too.
Our farm now isn’t much, but we’re working on it. We sacrificed a lot to save up for a farm, and we have been working insanely hard since the day we moved in. We didn’t inherit the privilege of farming, we worked for it, but we still see it as a privilege. And we hope to share tidbits when we can. Our farm isn’t set up for visitors, but taking baby goats out to the market today was great.
We had some kids who’d never seen a goat before. We had some kids who had only seen goats at the zoo – which is sort of out-of-context for a farm animal that can be a beloved member of the family and a milk producer, too. And we had a lot of adults who wanted to hug a baby goat. It was really fun taking pictures for people, and watching kids decide whether they wanted to pet the strange animal in front of them. It was fun hearing parents remember growing up with goats. Stories they may not have shared with their children yet. Now the kids would have a reference point for what a goat is. We heard a lot of kids exclaim with surprise “she’s so soft!” Baby goats are fresh and clean, and, yes, soft like kittens (and small and cuddly like kittens, too). One kid wanted a kiss from a baby goat. We taught her how we kiss goats – a little bit of space, air kisses, maybe touch noses.
Then our little truckload of goats turned into a pumpkin. We promised to stay until 1 pm, then rush the babies back to their Mamma after giving her a 2 hour break. At 12:51, the babies started looking tired and hungry. At 1, we packed them up and rushed them home.
We took them right back to Mamma, they dove right in for a drink of milk, Mamma sniffed them all over, and then they curled up for a nap after their adventure. We were really proud of them. They were troopers, walking up to the fence to meet new people, or just curling up for a nap in our arms while people petted them and enjoyed a little break. They enjoyed napping in any secure embrace, and we hope to see some of those pictures, too.
Our thanks to the Market Sprouts folks at Hillsboro Farmers’ Market for making the babies’ little outing possible!