The main livestock pasture at Toby Way Farm features critters from three unique animal families. Canines (dogs), Caprines (goats), and Camelids (alpacas). Having all three of them living in one space poses some challenges and we’ve enjoyed getting to know each of these critters in depth to make it work!
Here are some fun facts about our favorite farm friends:
When choosing a livestock guardian breed we opted for a set of Great Pyrenees. We affectionately refer to our sister duo as the Polar Bears of Fresno.
A well-established breed, Pyrs have been used as effective guard dogs for thousands of years. Originally they were used in the Pyrenees Mountains to protect livestock there from wolves and bears!
Fossils have been found in the Pyrenees Mountains, indicating the breed has been serving shepherds there since at least 1800 BC. Experts believe the breed was likely developed from mountain dogs that originated in Asia Minor as many as 11,000 years ago!
Unlike breeds known for highly assertive protection, the Pyrenees also nurtures the flock she protects with an instinct to be patient and kind with all vulnerable animals. When one of our newborn goats, still damp from birth, wandered away from her mama one cold March morning our Polar Bears accompanied the little rascal until help arrived, keeping the 3 lb baby warm and safe and even cleaning her off a little more.
Pyrs are nocturnal by nature and they bark - a lot! Any sound that might even think about being a threat will be met with a loud alarm that may not be suitable for close neighbors. We have enjoyed watching our girls bond with their flock, and we rest easy knowing nothing dangerous is going to get close to our livestock!
Part of the subfamily Caprinae, the goats we know and love today started out as wild critters in various middle eastern regions. It’s believed the Bezoar wild goat is the basis for all modern domestic goat varieties.
Today goats are bred for several purposes: meat, milk, cart pulling, packing, fiber, and of course as beloved pets. We decided the Nigerian Dwarf would give us the best of several worlds. Small enough to be easily handled, producing a decent amount of milk for making soap and other dairy products, stout enough to be processed for meat, and fun enough to be sought after in the current goat market!
Nigerian Dwarf mamas are generally easy kidders, rarely requiring assistance when giving birth even though those births could be up to SIX KIDS! ND’s supply a surprising amount of milk for their size - up to 2 quarts/day on average - but that still makes it tough on a mama to get enough groceries in her to feed high multiples. Breeders have to be prepared to bottle feed when supplementing is vital for healthy kid development.
Milk from the Nigerian Dwarf is also very high in protein, and has the highest % of butterfat of all dairy goat breeds! Goat milk is naturally homogenized - meaning the cream will separate very little (if at all) from the rest of the milk if allowed to settle.
You may notice that none of our goats are horned. They all are registered with the American Dairy Goat Association - an organization that requires any goats being shown must be dehorned. We also disbud for their own safety. In general, we believe nature knows best when it comes to critter anatomy, however keeping domesticated livestock means intervening in ways you might not expect. Some of our stock is naturally polled - they possess genes which keep them from growing horns. The rest are disbudded very early in life, using a process that is simple, effective, humane, and expertly performed by our local veterinarian.
While we do keep some of the goats born on our farm, we sell most of the kids we breed to 4-H members and other dairy goat breeders, as well as families looking for pets. Watch our website for available kids and adults! www.tobywayfarm.weebly.com
The alpacas are a South American member of the Camelid family. Like goats, alpacas also started as wild critters but were domesticated by the Incas for their thick fiber. Today’s alpacas can be covered with two types of fleece: Suri alpacas have long silky dreadlocks. Huacaya alpacas - like the ones you see in our pasture - have dense shorter fleece that looks more like the wool on sheep.
While related, alpacas are not llamas. Llamas are a larger cousin to the alpaca and cross breeding is possible (the resulting offspring are called huarizo) but they are 2 different critters. Llamas are larger and grow a shorter, more coarse fiber than alpacas. Alpacas tend to be more docile and easier to handle than llamas.
We don’t have current plans to breed our alpacas - they’re all males and are intended to be pets and fiber growers only - but if we did the babies would be called “cria” and mamas would be pregnant with them for around 11 months!
You may have heard that alpacas spit! It’s true, they’ll spit regurgitated food and saliva (translation: projectile vomit!) at one another when perturbed but rarely will they intentionally spit at a person (but it’s not out of the question!).
Our boys are all intact males and registered with the Alpaca Owners Association. Although at times these boys get into brawls, males are actually known to be less aggressive and easier to handle than females.
Each of our alpacas eats just 2 lbs of food per day! This makes them very efficient producers of fiber and fertilizer. Their soft feet also mean they are less detrimental to the soil and turf than cows would be.
MORE FUN FACTS
Hopefully you’ve learned a little something about these critters that share our home with us. We think being educated about our livestock is vital to keeping healthy happy animals. Thanks for reading along!
Hey friends!! Tucker Bear here with your Tuesday farm pupdate!
Spring is finally starting to make things pretty around here so I took some pictures of flowers showing up. Mama says the yellow ones are some of her favorites but it sure seems like she says that about a lot of them!
Those big leafy things with fancy red stems mean daddy will get his stash of strawberry rhubarb jam replenished soon and that makes me happy too because daddy puts vanilla ice creams under his jam and WHOO-WEE is that some yummy stuff!! You can get some of that yummy in mama's farm market in just a couple of months. She only makes it when the red stuff and berries are local and fresh, so get it while you can!
I took a walk down to the pond today and we saw the FISH! There were 2 of the big ones from last year and 7 new little orange ones hanging around!! I can't wait until it's warm enough for all the other big fishes to come out and play and while I was looking for them in there I saw an alligator only mama said it wasn't really an alligator and she called it something named Sally Mamder but I'm pretty sure it was really a baby alligator. I tried to take his picture for you but alligators are fast!!
We're going to open the market THIS WEEKEND with just a couple of things for sale but they're really cool. First we have lots of eggs from our chickens because they've been really busy making them for you and it's EASTER this weekend so you'll need some pretty colored eggs for that. Also mama has been digging up these really cool plants called RAMPS and she's going to wash them up all nice and put those in the market for you guys, too. I don't think they would taste very good in ice creams, but mama puts them in stuff she cooks and salads and stuff and those are all really good
Did I mention we have baby goats?? Oh yeh, I know I told you but I took more pics because they're just so cute!! They're growing fast and bouncy all over the place and mama says we're going to sell the twins one day when they're big enough but I think we should just keep them all because they're pretty great
It's just about time for bed so I'll sign off and I really hope you all had a great Tucker Tuesday!!
Happy #TuckerTuesday and #happybirthdaytome !!! Betcha thought I wasn't gonna write to you today but I had to because it's my birthday and mama says I'm 2 years old and that means I'm a growd up now!
Sorry I didn't write last Tuesday, I was helping mama do some stuff for her new Farm Market and we ran outta time. Daddy said I have to make sure I write a lot to you though so I don't lose my famo-nicity and I don't want that to happen because I like all my fans and it's fun being famounous!!
I took a bunch of pictures around the farm to show you. For my birthday today we got to go to the feed store and the lady there said I could get 2 treats because I'm 2 and if that's the case then I can't wait until I'm 22!
Mama says to tell you don't worry because we weren't driving when she took that great pic of me.
Then I found these pretty yellow flowers for mama and she said we should look for more pretty flowers so we know how much food the bees have this fall. I tasted some of these flowers and I didn't think they were all that great but maybe that's because I'm not a bug
And then we saw my friend Colt and he was hiding in the grass like he was gonna jump out and scare me or something and I wasn't scared because he's just my friend and he's not very big. So I took his picture and then pounced on him.
Mama and I looked all over this one plant for these bugs (IDK why she's obsessed with bugs, it's weird) and we found some and she said they're gonna eat and eat and eat and then wrap up in a pretty green blanket and wake up as something else! I wonder what it will be!!
Mama's been really busy making stuff in the kitchen and she found these really pretty carrots and said we gotta chop them all up so we can can them and have yummy pretty carrots all winter long. Then she chopped up some peppers and IDK why people want to eat these things because I thought they were really stinky and mama said I wasn't allowed to taste them because they would make me cry and I don't think I would cry because I'm a growd up now but I still didn't wanna eat them!
Oh then I took a pic of my friend Marley because she's a pretty kitty and she was all cuddled up on Mama's lap like that's where she should be or something except that's my spot and she knows it! But anyway, mama said we have to keep all our kitty friends safe because one of the woods kitties was hurt by a car this week so I wanted to ask if everyone could please slow down on our pretty road so none of my kitty friends get hurt... that's my birthday wish
Hope you had a great week, make sure you stop by our Market and maybe grab a little bag of treats for your puppy friends. I put some in there for you! I gotta go eat some ice cream with daddy because he says that's what you do on your birthday - I guess that means every day is daddy's birthday!!
Tucker Bear (the growd-up puppy at TWF)
Hi friends!! It's your favorite day of the week #tuckertuesday and boy do I have stories for you!
First off I know mama told you we got more goats but she didn't tell you the bestest parts. They wouldn't let me outside to help so I had to yell instructions out the window so I did that but I don't think they listened much because daddy got the first lady goat out of the truck and she (mama says her name is Penelope but she calls her Nellie-B) walked right up the hill with one of my leashes and at first I thought maybe she was really a puppy but then she ate a whole bunch of grass and I only eat a little grass so NOPE she's a goat! Daddy walked with her to the gate and mama got the next goat out of the truck.
Callie (that's her with the messy freckled face) didn't want to pretend to be a dog so she kicked and jumped and mama musta thought she might hurt herself so she let her go but that didn't go so good because next thing I knew she was running down the hill across the yard and kicking and jumping the whole way with mama running hot on her heels! I yelled for them to let me out because I run zoomy fast and I could catch her no problem I just knew it but mama kept running like maybe she didn't hear me. She said she ran all the way down to the shooty range, around daddy's wood shop, down the creek bank and then back up the big driveway where daddy jumped out from behind the shed and BAM wrangled her (Callie, not mama) right down just like a rodeo cowboy. I didn't even know he could do that!!
Last weekend they got the doors all on the new barn which is good because WHEW if they run that fast they'll need big doors for these goats!!
Then yesterday, my daddy the Professional Goat Wrangler rode the 4 wheeler right up the big hill behind the house to cut down a tree and he didn't come back for a really long time. Then when mama got home from the store they got grandpa's tractor and went back up the hill because apparently the really big hill behind the house has a hole on it and daddy flipped that 4 wheeler right over!! Mama said it was a good thing he was ok and a gooder thing the 4 wheeler was ok so she didn't have to kill him which didn't make a lot of sense why she would do that when she was glad he was ok but prolly it's a growd up thing and I wouldn't unnerstand.
So it's been a really busy week, even Colt needed a quiet nap on the deck. He and Ruger brought mama a bunch of mice and moles and daddy said they even got a chipmunk and mama says that's what we're paying them for!
Ok I gotta go to bed. Daddy has a new job that he really really likes but WOW does he have to get up early for it. He goes to bed almost before the chickens now!! Hope you have a good week, see you next time!
At a recent farmers market another purveyor of eggs regaled me with a story about a customer who refused to buy his eggs because he refused to guarantee her they were “free range”. The reason for his reluctance is simple; unless a chicken farmer is willing to submit to regular inspections and certifications (you should read that “willing to PAY FOR inspections”) we are discouraged from using labels such as “free range”, “cage free”, or “farm fresh”.
Knowing that we both raise flocks that are significantly healthier and more coddled than those laying the eggs you’ll find in supermarkets we chuckled at her insistence in the matter, but it reminded me that most consumers haven’t taken the time to learn what those labels mean, from a regulatory standpoint. So here’s a quick run down of what you’re asking for when you demand free-range eggs.
In order to make these claims, the egg producer should be able to show the following:
Birds are uncaged inside barns but MAY BE KEPT INDOORS all the time – no yard play required
Birds must be able to nest, perch and dust-bathe
Suppliers must follow regulations for stocking density, perch numbers and nesting boxes
Birds must have access to an outdoor area for at least six hours each day (you know, like recess)
Each hen must have at least 2 square feet (TWO FEET!!!) of outdoor space. Not much room for social distancing!
The outdoor space doesn’t need to have any living vegetation (A mud pit, rock quarry, cement pad - all fine!)
No specific designation, but frankly fresh is fresh and nearly all producers are classified as a “farm”
If you don’t have chickens you might not realize that chickens are NOT vegetarians. Our chickens have been known to help us with our rodent problem, eradicate bugs in the garden, and they are ferocious about the protein rich food scraps we offer them on a regular basis (yes… our chickens like steak!).
Um, what?? You mean as opposed to plastic Easter eggs? Yes… yes our chicken eggs are “natural”
Except for “certified organic,” the U.S. government does not set definitions or requirements for egg carton labels, but producers may still be under scrutiny for using any labeling that suggests a certain lifestyle for their birds. Bear in mind, most commercial producers, out of logistical necessity, keep their laying hens in either a permanent stacked cage environment (multiple layers of cages staged above a “chute” that collects eggs as they lay) or in an open barn with access to nest areas.
Some producers remove parts of hens’ beaks in the first few days of life in an effort to reduce the amount that pecking that will happen when that many birds are housed together in confined spaces. Some starve their birds to force molting (loss of feathers) to manipulate the laying cycle. And virtually all commercial operations are supplied by hatcheries that kill male chicks shortly after hatching, since they don't lay eggs and aren't bred to grow as large or as rapidly as chickens used in the meat industry.
We don’t have a problem with commercial eggs. We ate them for a lot of years and understand the logistics of a large scale ANYTHING farm. We just happen to be fortunate enough to have the space to raise our own hens, eat our own hens’ eggs, and control the space in which our chickens thrive.
So if you’re interested, here’s what you might expect a day to be like as a chicken at Toby Way Farm:
Wake up early because all three of the protective roosters in your flock are crowing long before sun up.
Rush the door when the chicken lady opens it because you can’t wait to see what bugs are hiding in the soft grass. Also because she probably has a bucket of cracked corn in her hand.
Spend the day running around the homestead, protected by the flock roosters and livestock guard dogs, scratching for food the way chickens are supposed to. Stop in at the coop once in a while for a quick bite of well stocked chicken grain, maybe lay an egg while there, and enjoy the afternoon under a shade tree.
Return to the coop about dusk with all your friends, settle in on a spacious roost bar, and know you’ll get to do it all again tomorrow.
Take the winter off from laying eggs. No one hangs artificial light or manipulates your hormones to coerce you to work when nature says you should be resting.
All of that might not make our chickens better than commercial chickens. It might not mean our eggs are tastier than their eggs. Maybe our chickens aren’t really happier than commercially raised laying hens.
Then again, it just might. We’ll let you be the judges.
See you at the market!
Bet you thought I forgot it was Tuesday but I didn't and I can't stay long because daddy said we have to start going to bed early because he got a different job and pretty soon he'll have to get up to drink his coffees in the middle of the night because he has to start work REALLY early and I think that's ok because he said he'll be home earlier to play with me and that's great!!
Mama let me take some pics of her garden because things are really getting interesting there. She said that pretty yellow flower is going to help her make pickles and she just started picking pickles out of the garden and I don't know how many pecks of pickles she can pick out of the pickle patch but a puppy could get pretty petered out on pickles in a pinch!!
The potatoes are blooming too and mama was excited about that. I about got lost in that mess but it's nothing compared to the "zookini" that live beside them! Golly, that's like a small rain forest under there!!
Oh I had mama take a pic of me and she acts like all I do is eat but the thing is I really like it when she makes eggs and veggies for breakfast so I have to stay close so I can get some snacks!
In other news, the goat barn is getting really close to being finished, at least on the outside and I guess it must be ok on the inside too because the baby goats and puppy girls have been sleeping up there in it since daddy got the roof on it. I guess since it's been raining a lot, the goats probably want to stay in there all the time now. Bambi told me goats really don't like rain and I said that was silly because it just dries but he said it's like acid or something so they all run to the house when it rains. I think goats are kinda silly...
Mama brought home this really old book she said she'll probably never use because it might fall apart and I don't know what's so neat about a book you can't use but she said it's really old and I should tell you about it - so, there it is. I told you about it!
All the rain made us a pretty rainbow tho so I took a picture to show you all one of the great big ones I saw. It was like WHOA all the way across the sky and I could see both ends of it so good I figured there had to be a leprechaun under there somewhere but mama says those are just make believe and the real treasure is with the one who gave us the rainbow . I think she's right about that, but a leprechaun would still be cool to have on the farm.
Welp, gotta head to bed so daddy can sleep. Hopefully I don't have to get up so early with him, I really like sleeping in a lot so maybe he can just be quiet when he makes his coffees.
Hope you all have a great week!!
Oh my gosh you guys there's so much going on I don't even know where to start so I took a whole bunch of pictures to show you and I'll just tell you as fast as I can!!
First off, mama had a really boring conference call this week so I had time to get a nap in and she took my pic because I was all comfy and looking cute. Good thing I was there to keep her company!
Next - and this part is serious guys - mama got me TWO MINIATURE PANTHERS!!! I was all excited because I like kitties a lot but then I ran out to meet them and one of them has KNIVES on his toes and he swinged them at me and I was like WHOA - DUDE - CHILL! and he was all like hissy and stuff so next time I just sneaked up on him so I could say HI all nice because mama said maybe I scared the kitty but I don't know why he was scared because he's the one with all the knives!! Anyway, mama says their job is to keep chippy-monkeys and mice off the farm and I guess maybe they're going to load them up in mama's Jeep because that's where they hang out a lot.
Oh, mama said to tell you their names are Ruger and Colt.
So the kitties got to help daddy build the goat barn which I thought was my job but gosh it's hot outside this week so really I'm glad they were there to help this time and I could just watch from the window. Daddy says there's still lots of work to do so probably I'll have to help him this weekend.
Then I ran around and took some pictures of some exciting things growing in the garden. Mama is really happy with them but she said it needs to rain soon because they need a drink and WHEW I bet they do because I can't be out there more than a few minutes before I need a big drink!
I haven't figured out where she's growing the bacon yet, but I'll keep looking.
Finally, daddy has been really excited this week and I think it's because of this pile of sticks some guys set up at the house. He says this is going to be his wood shop and he'll be able to do all kinds of fun things in there so I sure hope he leaves enough room for my toys and stuff because I can't wait to get in there and run around. It'll be great!!
Welp, that's a bunch for now. Hope you have a great week and find a cool shady spot to take a nap and avoid the heat. Maybe try some ice cream, it's my favorite cool treat to share with daddy but it doesn't have to be hot for that.
Oh yeh and HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY this weekend. Mama says sometimes puppies get scared because of all the boomies in the air so I hope you get to have some fun and not be scared of it at all.
Your furry farm friend
Hi friends! It’s Tucker Bear with a long overdue update about what’s happening at the farm!
Hope you’re having a great summer! Since it warmed up a little early this year, I’ve been taking mama for lots of walks to look at flowers and the creek and chipmunks and birds and you wouldn’t believe some of the things we’ve seen! I’ll do a better job of writing to you so I can tell you all about it every Tuesday!
Things have been super busy at the farm this spring with new gardens and new chickens and new fences and stuff. This week I’m helping mama and daddy build a barn because we got GOATS and I didn’t know what goats were until a couple of weeks ago when mama and daddy were gone for a long time and then when they came back them spent DAYS out in the pasture with the puppy girls teaching them things about goats. Mama says it only took them about three days to teach the puppies they couldn’t eat the goats because these are just baby goats and my sisters don’t know about things like babies because they’re only a year old but I’m almost TWO and that’s why they didn’t have to spend so much time teaching me not to eat the baby goats.
Here’s a family picture mama took of me and the puppy girls and our new goats. I don’t get very close to them because I don’t know if they bite but they sure smell… interesting! They like the puppy girls a bunch, in fact most nap times all four of them curl up and snuggle together and I can see why they would do that because I like to take my naps snuggled up with mama and daddy but mama says the goats and puppy girls aren’t allowed to take naps in the house with us. Must be a rule about goats I didn’t read about!
But I have to tell you about something really SCARY that happened while we were building the barn and I’m ok so don’t worry but while I was running around in the zoomy pasture (that’s where I can go really really fast) I forgot daddy was digging a big hole for the barn posts and WHOA I fell right in! It was deep, too, I had to stand on my back tippy toes to see over the top and it was scary for a minute but daddy dropped the heavy board mama was helping him carry and ran over to lift me right out and it was over before you know but WHEW I gotta be more careful!
Last week I helped mama bake a whole bunch of yummy bread and then we made jam to go on it and on Saturday (when winter came back for a minute, brrr!) she packed it all up and took it to some kind of market where they sell farmers or something. She said I couldn’t go because not everyone likes Tuckers at places where they sell food and I thought that was kinda silly because how can I tell everyone how yummy the food is if I’m not there but apparently that’s another rule I didn’t read about. Mama said it went really well and she sold all of the bread and lots of jam and eggs and met some really nice people. I don’t know if she bought any farmers but I checked through all her bags when she got home and I didn’t see one in there. Maybe they aren’t in season yet?
Mama and daddy went out to the beeyard last week, too, and I wanted to go with them to take pictures to show you but mama said I can’t go because they’ll get stuck in my fur and she doesn’t have a bee suit small enough to fit me, so I didn’t get any pictures of what they did out there but I think they planted a bunch more bees or something because the clover at the house has been full of them. I tried to get a picture of what they sound like out in all that clover but it didn’t work so you’ll have to take my word for it - they’re loud! Mama says I can’t chase the honey bees because she says they would taste owie if I caught one and I don’t know about that but they sure do fly away fast when I try to!
I looked really close in one of the clovers because mama says the bee ladies like them because they have ingredients to make honey and I really like honey so I was trying to see down in there if I could get some ingredients for honey but I didn’t see any. I think maybe the bees already took it all, so maybe I’ll just wait until they make some honey for me.
Since I couldn’t get you pictures of all the bees they planted I took some new pictures of our big chickens instead. Mama says she evicted the baby chickens out of the house and into the coop. They’ll get to play with the big chickens really soon but for now they’ll hang out in their own spot and just get to know everyone, kinda like when I went to agility class and we all took a few minutes to smell each other so then we could be friends.
Welp, that’s it for this week’s update. I’ll take mama around so we can get more pictures real soon and I’ll keep you posted on those goats. Mama says we’re getting more and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. If they grow up to be as big as the puppy girls I’m not sure how many are going to fit in the new barn!
Have a great week!
It’s just a small-town farmer’s market.
There are thousands of them across the nation. For a few hours each weekend starting around Memorial Day and lasting well into the harvest season small vendor tents and plastic tables crop up in clusters like colorful mushrooms in the parking lots of churches, schools, and town centers. Like the return of hummingbirds and public pool signs, they are a welcome reminder that we made it through yet another winter and the hard work of summer’s bounty has just begun.
Ours is no different from any of the others – it’s just a small-town farmer’s market.
If you happen to find yourself driving along SR 93 and recognize a strong desire for a tomato, bacon, and mayo sandwich (on lightly toasted and preferably homemade bread, of course) you could stop by the Fresno Farmer’s Market on any given summer Saturday. You could visit nearly any of the local growers set up in the lot of the Bible Church and stay just long enough select the perfect beefsteak tomato, then hit the road to your final destination where you’ll turn that ripe red gem into a masterpiece of summer culinary perfection.
If you stay a little longer, you’ll discover more than the main event of your afternoon dinner. Just a few minutes of browsing and you’ll find orchard ripe peaches, handmade crafts, decadent jams, and desserts just like mom used to make. Ever tried a fried egg on your tomato bacon sandwich? You can thank me later, for now you’ll find those nutrient-dense farm-raised eggs at our little market also. All summer long. Chickens are handy that way.
But hang on just a few more minutes and you’ll notice something magical in the air. It isn’t obvious, that’s why you’re going to need to slow down a few minutes to hear it. It’s subtle, but it’s not uncommon. In fact, it happens every Saturday at our small-town farmer’s market.
It has nothing to do with produce and everything to do with people.
See, that’s what makes our small-town farmer’s market special. It’s the same ingredient that makes any small town anything special.
It’s at our market where neighbors – some emerging for the first time since last fall – gather to hear about what’s happening in their world. It’s where a local man (we’ll call him Jim) learns that early in the winter his third grade teacher (we’ll call her Judy) took a fall, and while she’s recovering she really doesn’t have her feet under her enough to handle the things that need doing. He’ll send his boy over this afternoon to mow her lawn for her. He’ll be back the same time the following week and each one after that until she’s strong enough to do it herself. That’s what neighbors do.
It’s where Lisa shares the needs of a new family in town. The father is down on his luck and looking for work, but David’s boy AJ is off to college and that leaves his farm short on help. Later he’ll stop by the modest rental in town and offer the father of three a job. That’s what neighbors do, even when the neighbors are new.
It’s where we all learn Mrs. Anderson’s youngest has decided to head off to the military. He’ll leave next month, and all can agree it’s the best for him. If he stuck around here he’d just find more trouble. We’ll have a small send off for him in a couple of weeks to show our support and gratitude while he carries on a family tradition – his daddy and granddaddy would have been proud.
It's where we also learn Mr. Peterson won’t be seen at our little market this year. He and his wife both lost their battle against the virus a few months back, leaving this world just moments apart, holding hands in a little room in the ICU. We will miss his cheesy jokes. Some will tell stories in his honor. At least a couple of those will be true.
Last season I was struck by how much I learned about my neighbors each Saturday morning. Folks I’ve never met stopped by because they know my parents (turns out I look a little bit like them so I get a lot of “hey are you…?” Yup, I am). I thought I was there to sell eggs and tomatoes, instead I was sucked into the sweetest impromptu community reunion. The kind you’ll only ever find in an American small town. As people milled around grappling with growing bags of produce it was clear many were holding onto something much more precious – each other.
You’ve probably heard more than a few times lately that this world is getting to be a pretty ugly place. It’s spinning too fast and people are falling off, so to speak. I don’t disagree that if you’re looking for something to bring you down you’re going to find it, and plenty of it. I would argue though that there is more good happening in the world, yes even today, than what your TV is willing to tell you.
If you want to see it first hand (and I highly recommend that you do), stop by our small-town farmer’s market some Saturday this summer. We set up Saturday mornings from 8-11am at the Fresno Bible Church on SR 93, just south of town. If you’re of the generation that fondly remembers such things you might know that stretch of road as “the east end drag strip”. Things are a little slower on that stretch of road these days, but that’s not a bad thing. Seems to me slowing down long enough to pick out the perfect tomato might be just what this world needs more of.
It's just a small-town farmer’s market, but if you take a moment to take it all in you’ll find that it is oh so much more. Some people would tell you it’s part of the good stuff that makes America a great place to live. That would be me… I’m “some people”. When you stop by this summer I’ll introduce you to some more of those people.
Then you can go home and make your sandwich, sit in the sun sipping sweet tea, and listen to the sounds of a more grounded world. Even if it's just for a moment.
We’re just a small-town farmer’s market, but we’ll be here when you need us.
PS~ while the names and stories mentioned here are completely made up, the sentiment is genuine, and who knows… some of them may be closer to the truth than we think.
I didn't sleep good last night, in fact I've been wide awake since 2:30am. I took the day off because I have a dentist apt this morning. It's cold, damp, and the sky is gray for the umpteenth day in a row because I'm in Ohio and it's January and that's what we do here. I have another appointment in 30 minutes so I'm sitting in town killing time. Plenty of things I could be doing at home and my job has never been busier, so I'm falling behind while I sit here.
I could take to FB to complain about any and all of those things. Here's what I did instead.
I laid in bed wide awake listening to my puppy make snuggly sleepy noises while he cuddled up close to me. I enjoyed his warmth and remembered why I'm willing to get up at 2:30am when he has to pee. He's worth it.
I got out of bed and grabbed my tea and appreciated how easy it is to heat up my tea pot on my awesome stove top. I greeted Brian with a smile because even when I'm exhausted it doesn't take much energy to warm another person's morning.
I struck up a controversial conversation with my dentist and his staff because I genuinely want their thoughts. I want to hear their worries and perspective on something other than how much I grind my teeth while I sleep.
I stopped at my favorite coffee place for a donut and Cafe mocha. Not because I was hungry, but because they are a wonderful small business trying to survive a scary uncertain market. I asked the lady at the window how much the bill was for the car behind me. She beamed and as she looked it up told me they were the sweetest couple and would really appreciate my gesture. For $5 I made 3 people smile. Worth every penny.
So now I'm sitting in a parking lot eating half a donut (these things are huge) under a perpetually gray sky thinking how lucky I am to have 30 minutes to listen to the radio and enjoy my world.
God planted me here, and then He gave me all kinds of choices. I don't always make the best ones (maybe even less than I think!) but they're mine. We have a choice, every minute of every day.
On this gray blah day, I choose JOY. It has nothing to do with location, station, or financial situation. It has everything to do with my attitude.
I hope you enjoy your day, but even if you don't there's probably going to be another one happening tomorrow. Choose wisely ⚘
Tucker (pomeranian) is an author of marginal famou'nicity. Catch his Tucker Tuesday farm pupdates here and on the Toby Way Farm facebook page.