When I married Hubby, I was not aware that I was also saying "I Do" to at least three family picnics every summer. Thankfully, I'm good with names, a blessed by-product of five years of teaching 130 kids per year. Another coping mechanism I have found is to dress my kids in coordinating outfits. Our family color is red. All three kids are dressed in red and that makes them easy to find.
Last weekend kicked off the 2012 picnic season. And there were two nuggets of conversation I'd like to share from Picnic #1:
1. I was walking to our cooler to get my dishes when I passed two ladies visiting. One of them said something to the other that ended with my husband's name. Naturally, my ears perked up, my radar was on. The other lady (who is, not only the wife of a large conventional farmer, but the mother of a large conventional farmer) responded "He's farming. He does a different kind of farming...the kind that makes money....sustainable...yes, sustainable farming."
And I need to tell you that while we have given farm tours the past two years for family, this particular branch of the family tree has never been to our farm. They have never eaten our food. But they live in the area and I'm sure have heard about what we're doing. Probably in the context of, "Do you know what they're doing NOW?"
Someone asked me recently if our neighbors farm like we do. Nope. Then they asked what our neighbors think of us. That we're lunatics with a hobby farm. Because in a culture of "get big or get out", we've gotten small and in.
The fact that this woman not only knew we were sustainable farmers, but characterized it as "the kind that makes money" makes my heart sing!!
2. I was visiting with a fellow mom of young ones, sharing our stories. She asked what my husband did (apparently this is a hot topic at his family reunions...see, we're lunatics!) and I told her what we had on the pasture right now. She said, "Oh wow! Would it be OK to come visit sometime? I've been wanting my son to see some real farm animals but I don't know any farmers where I could do that."
What you need to know is that this woman spent 3 years working at our state's department of agriculture. She worked at the ag department and she didn't know ANY farmers she could take her son to. This blows my mind! How can you work for the government agency that is specifically directed to farmers and farms and you don't know a farm you could take your child?? There are two plausible scenarios: either she knows a lot of farmers, but she wouldn't take her son to any of them OR she worked in the government agency specifically tasked with farmers and she didn't know any of them.
I'm not sure which one concerns me more...
On the drive home, Hubby suggested we have her family out right before the next picnic and then SHE can tell everyone what it is we really do! (And it's ideas like that that make me happy I married him, even with the three family picnic minimum...)