Over these past couple of months we've had lots of visitors come out to the farm. We joke around that you can't come to the farm without working...except it's not really a joke. We have loved having all of our friends and family and have SO SO appreciated their hard work. Our most recent (and seriously loved) guest was Ben Karp and he has written about his experience at Sweet Peeps Farm.
As many people now know a couple months back Gypsy John Post decided to pack up his Nag Champa incense along with his patchouli oils to settle on a farm in Dyke County Virginia. Now that a couple months have passed and the locals have almost accepted the pink barn, I couldn’t think of a better time to visit the Sweet Peeps Farm!
I departed Albany, New York on a 12 hour train to Charlottesville, Virginia. The trip down was a brilliant cultural experience. As the cities started to disappear the Civil War reenactments flourished. After a 30 minute wait John pulls up and exits his vehicle to greet my arrival. At this time I am beginning to notice a lot has changed since I left my friend in Asia. For example, John’s previous Cambodian motobike is now a flatbed Ford, his krama is now a cowboy hat, and his Australian skinny jeans have been replaced by ass-less chaps (which I’m still not convinced are actually necessary for farming).
Knowing John well I knew that this change was for good reason. It soon became apparent to me that full cultural assimilation would be necessary if I wanted to survive in these parts. John created a Gypsy farmer bucket list of essential activities that would help smooth my transition. The list is as follows:
1) Clean up chicken poop in a cowboy hat.
2) Tackle a loose goat and return to barracks
3) Fire a gun (target optional)
4) Bush hog a field
5) Hike Old Rag Mountain barefoot at night
6) Bareback ride a stallion
7) Go to a local bar dressed head to toe in farmers gear and talk intelligently about chickens for five minutes.
Tolerance and adaptability is essential in life to create a true experience. So when in Rome….
What I learned:
1) As romantic as life on the farm sounds at the end of the day you still have to clean up a lot of chicken poop.
2) Goats act like 3 year old children except with balls the size of grapefruits.
3) There is nothing funny about guns (unless you are being shot at by a clown).
4) Bush hog is farmer lingo for cutting grass. So as awesome as it may sound if a farmer tries to put it on your bucket list it just means he wants you to mow his lawn.
5) It is not a good idea to hike Old Rag barefoot at night, especially with a Gypsy farmer on a highly Paleo diet.
6) A stallion named ‘Rocket’ was probably given that name for a reason. Whether the name was given for his wild nature or for a more "Discovery Chanel" situation, it doesn’t matter. Still not a good idea to ride this stallion with no previous experience.
7) No matter how big your cowboy hat, you can't fake a bar conversation about farming with a real farmer.
In all seriousness,
Although I am not sure I will ever meet the criteria to be a true farmer the experience I had at Sweet Peeps was influential. It is so inspiring for me to remember that although there are so many great places in the world you can still have a cultural experience here at home(Merica!).
John, Steph, Bryce, Marissa, Kat and Blue continue to sludge through the mud (literally) on their new adventure, addressing every new challenge with a smile (and lots of high fives). The work they are doing is that of purpose which is very laudable. My cowboy hat is off to these six wonderful Gypsy farmers!!