There are more of us than I thought. Tucked away in woody, large-lot, semi-rural neighborhoods, you'll find them. Women who just have to farm. Even in the teeniest of ways. The longer I live this life, the more of them I meet - and we connect like sisters.
Last Saturday I met a neighbor, from no more than 2-3 miles away, who has chickens, goats, a donkey, a lovely dog, and a nice big garden where she grows colored cotton. Ilene also has a good IT job that's flexible enough to allow her some time at home, telecommuting.
She invited me to come visit her, so this morning I met her at her place up the road. When I arrived we started the tour. She simultaneously began her feeding rounds and finished up a conference call. Major multi-tasking. But that's a prerequisite to suburban homesteading, isn't it?
Our first stop was her beautiful solar-powered chicken coop and storage shed. Very cool, and neighbor-approved. Very respectable structure.
The coop and nest boxes get lots of light from the greenhouse-panel roof. It lets in great sunshine.
The chicken yard was full of every description of chickens. (Chicken people love variety, don't we?) We were greeted by her young spangled rooster, who was johnny-on-the-spot to remind me who's yard it is, in case I was wondering.
Polish chickens always crack me up, but they have a strong dignity that dares you to laugh out loud at them.
We strolled by her nice large garden, asleep now, but soon to be wide awake and full of young cotton plants. Colored cotton. Of the soft and lovely variety. Very yum.
We met her old donkey, large and grave, and very shy of strangers. He's much bigger than our Moses was, and has shaggy ears like the French Poitou donkeys. I never get tired of donkey faces.
Ilene's two pet Nubian goats were less concerned about a stranger watching them eat, and more concerned about checking "Breakfast" off the day's to do list. Very sweet ladies.
Very soon, it was time for Ilene to get back to work and for me to start on my own chores. Leaving her place was as pretty as arriving!
What a joy to meet another woman who shares our values and passions - using the land for it's God-given purpose, producing something valuable and sustainable, taming a bit of land for use without stripping it of it's natural glory.
Ilene will keep us informed as her garden begins to grow this spring. I am really interested in seeing the cotton come up and develop. We'll be visiting again before too long, I'm sure. Maybe we can even interest her in trying knitting or spinning sometime. Heh heh.