One of the places we love to go here is the farmer's market. There is the obvious reason - we LOVE the abundance of local, organically grown food, the incredible hand-crafted breads and jams, and the free honey sticks - but we really love the people we see there. It is a truly social event, sometimes so much so that I beg off on my more introverted days, but Dan is usually more than happy to head the excursion, coming out of his solitary office life to enjoy some People Time. During half of the year there is a Wednesday market in addition to the busier Saturday market, and every Wednesday the girls make a bee-line for a friend they've made there. She is from the Ukraine, and greets the girls with a huge smile and a Russian greeting and more often than not, something sweet. While I stroll and gather what we need, they visit and help make change, and there is a lot of love there in that little booth.
I was so happy when their friend invited us to her farm for a visit. We couldn't turn that down...so we arrived this last Friday to a table of tea and pancakes before climbing into the ATV for a ride around the farm! Two kinds of heaven.
I love our conversations, because she was living in the Ukraine during the seventies, when my family was living in Moscow, and we compare notes on food and its availability (or serious lack there-of). But really, the serious love is between her and the girls, she was eager to treat them to the ride...
|the view from the pasture|
Theirs is a cattle farm; they grow free-range, grass fed-and-finished beef. She wanted us to come now because there are calves in the pastures with their mamas. They were all hiding in the woods, where it was a little cooler.
It's a farm, so there are always surprises; today it was a cow that had died and was attracting a dozen or so turkey vultures. She was worried the girls would find it distressing, but they took it in stride and marveled over the flock of birds more than anything.
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Saturday was the 14th annual PawPaw Festival!!!
It's really about kids running amuck and hanging out with your friends. I will confess: I did not eat one pawpaw during this event. Not that there weren't plenty to be found - pawpaw beer, pawpaw salsa, pawpaw ice cream...oh, wait, I had a few sips of a pawpaw beer. It was tasty, but on the whole I do not adore pawpaw. I love that it is here, that it grows wild, and mostly that we have a reason to festivate (neither spellcheck nor I really think this is a word, but maybe it should be?).
|Do you see the goat feet of the satyr??? I was too shy for a closer picture...|
One lovely thing that happened was that I got to see my twin. For the first two years that we lived here, I was constantly mistaken for this woman. It took me a while to get it - I just thought people were super friendly, and then I realized they were calling me by another name, but I've been nearly hugged and caressed by dozens of well-meaning friends who think I'm her. In fact, I have been wondering recently (after a particularly loving response from someone in the grocery store!) if maybe one of the basic reasons we're here is so I can get to know this woman? I finally did ask someone to tell me all about her, which they did happily (she is actually quite amazing), and I did meet her at an art opening. That event was a bit awkward - imagine meeting someone who is always mistaken for you, but you've never heard of her nor has the reverse mistake ever been made, and suddenly her whole family plus many of her friends are surrounding you and gawking and grinning, exclaiming over the fact that you do (or don't, really) look like each other...it was a little anti-climactic. It continues to happen, though less so, as she has a baby now and has started coloring her hair a bit.
This time (almost 2 years later) there was a surprising "Hey! It's my twin!" followed by an enormous hug. I was a little giddy and goofy over the whole thing (don't I look it?!), as really, she is someone I think I would enjoy knowing. Plus, you know something else weird? We share the same birthday. Mmmhmmm. Pretty cosmic.