When it came to critters, the chickens surprised us the most. We had planned on them running around, laying eggs when they felt like it, but what we got was a group of the funniest, most entertaining birds ever. It got to the point where we were carrying around saltine crackers in our pockets just so that when they came running at us doing their silly little chicken dance, we could reward them for their efforts. Anyone who says that chickens do not have personality has not spent any time with them, ’cause let me tell you, they have Personality. And yes, that is a capital P…
The ducks came along later. We brought them home the spring before we left so we did not have much time with them. After raising them in the barn, we were able to get them moved to their outside pen. They were fun to watch, and I have a feeling that they would have been just as entertaining as the chickens.
Many people don’t think much of sheep, but we loved our woolies. We brought home three Romney ewes; Liesel, Marta and Gretel. They quickly made themselves at home, calling to us whenever we emerged from the house, demanding love and affection and food. Especially food. Like everything else we have ever had, they were spoiled rotten. But oh, they were so much fun to have around.
Not long after we brought the girls home, we added Gouda to the mix. He was a big, handsome Dorset ram. The Romneys were a good dual-purpose breed, Gouda was good for meat, and together they made some pretty spectacular little lambs. And lambing season was the most exciting time of our farming year.
The sheep were to be our main focus. Not only were they gentle, small and easy to handle, but they fit into the back of our minivan, which was a requirement for everything we brought home. Well, everything except the horse…
I was looking for a battery when I came upon a bag of memory cards. 13 of them to be exact. Thousands of pictures from years gone by just waiting to be remembered.
I spent a majority of my day cruising the streets of Memory Lane, marveling at all the places we have been and all the things we have done, how much the kids have grown and just how fast time flies, but the pictures that really tugged at my heart were the ones taken on our farm. The farm that played such an important role in our lives. The farm that came along a little too soon. We were restless, our desire to wander free was stronger than our desire to plant roots, and so we decided to let it go.
I know without a doubt that everything happens for a reason. There is a reason we left the farm to go back to Montana. And there is a reason we left Montana for the open road. I have no doubts that we will end up on a farm again someday, we all agree on that. It’s the when and where that remain a mystery.
I looked through our farm pictures with loving fondness, knowing that I wanted to share with you what was so precious to us. As I viewed picture after picture, however, I realized that there was way too much to put into a single post, so you will have to endure several days of my reminiscing.
To start your journey through Harper’s Farm, I would like to introduce Big Red, a beautiful horse with a spirit as wild as the wind itself…
…I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Chimæra,”A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys, 1852
There is an old homestead here that was donated to Taylor County. Everyone is allowed to go out and walk around, visit the outbuildings, take the trail. There is an old cattle barn, grain silos, pastures, a tobacco barn. There are stalls with old farm equipment and even headstones. Some of the equipment is very old and some is modern, but it is a neat place to go to see how a working farm would operate. A fellow camper told us about it, and we were really glad that she did. We spent a wonderful afternoon out there and the kids have been asking almost daily to go back. Luckily it is only about five miles down the road, so going often is possible.