There is a charming farmers market and petting zoo in Wyckoff, NJ. You can stock up on fresh vegetables and scrumptious desserts. You can experiment with the local recipes for salad dressing and homemade salsa, canned in quaint, glass jars. And when you’re done, you can pet and feed the livestock with dry crackers and leafy greens. Today we saw rabbits, goats, pigs, sheep, ponies, turkeys, and even baby chicks. Though the farm is only 15 minutes from our apartment, I felt like we were in a completely different world. It was as though we stepped through a wormhole from the crowded, over populated streets of our New Jersey town and suddenly found ourselves in the open heartland of, well, Texas.
The first time I visited Eddie’s family at his grandparents’ farm in Texas, I knew it was something special - relaxed, happy, warm (not just the temperature, although wow Texas gets hot), and maintained with love. Somehow his grandpa knew I would be happy tending to the baby chicks. Of course the yellow, fluffy, sleepy babies stole my heart as soon as I laid eyes on them. Once he even placed a tender egg in the palm of my hand and started ripping off the shell, piece by piece. He coaxed me to do the same and soon a tiny, wet, blind chick was stumbling around in my hand, looking for warmth. Whenever we go back to visit, I always have to check on my chicks.
Yes, I’m from Nebraska. No, I wasn’t raised on a farm. Although sometimes I think I would be good at it. I would have sheep for Joy to herd. I would have an endless supply of baby chicks (but when they grew up, I wouldn’t eat them). Maybe some ducks, bunnies, and fish. It’s one of about a dozen possible lives that I imagine for myself in the future. Who knows if it will ever happen. If not, I am content watching Joy herd the cat. I’ll keep throwing bread to the squirrels. And of course, I’ll visit my Texas chicks every so often.