We’ve been slowly ruining our reputation as upstanding citizens of our small town for a while now, and I think we’re well on our way to becoming the local tourist attraction. Some of the things that have led to our reputational demise are purely unintentional (who knew the neighbors wouldn’t appreciate the gift of fresh, unpasturized milk, straight from the cow?) and some are simply social gaffes (the perfectly serviceable van seat serving as our front porch furniture.) But then there are the other things. The things we do to try to make our lives better, and the little ways we think outside the box to make it all work. For instance…
We keep 5 goats, 60-something chickens, and 5 sheep on a one-acre plot of land.
To house these animals, we have three stationary pens made of chain link and cattle panel strategically stationed in various areas of the backyard, along with two dogs pen rotated daily around the front yard. Each of these is covered in a bright blue tarp, to keep out the rain. I’m pretty sure no one in my neighborhood has ever heard of mob grazing and surely wouldn’t dream of doing it in their own front yard.
To provide feed for these animals, we don’t mow our grass.
My husband gets his workouts in by doing sprints up and down our driveway and, during the spring and summer, jogging behind the push mower.
I get my workouts in by running distances of 10+ miles on our main highway.
(“What do you [get] for running a 12 mile race?”
“Well… there’s a tee shirt….”
He didn’t seem impressed.)
I do my short runs up and down our road, often barefoot because I hate shoes (yes, I am the official spokesperson of the unpopular “barefoot and pregnant” movement which, oddly enough, does not seem to be catching on.)
My boys like to dig giant holes in the yard, and I like to let them because it gives me several hours of peace. How was I supposed to know they would choose the garden bed in front of our porch as the perfect spot?
My girls like to set up elaborate obstacle courses made primarily from wood scraps, old tires, broken toys, and whatever else they manage to salvage from the trash. This takes place beside our driveway.
My friend Manuela and I can often be found running around the neighborhood with elaborate photography props and have been stopped by both neighbors and police officers who want to know “what the hell” we’re doing. We once went into a public building to ask for directions to “the brick wall.” My German friend Manuela did the asking, and I’m pretty sure they thought she was a tourist in the wrong country, looking for a different wall.
We play capture the flag in our front yard with airsoft guns designed to look like semi-automatic weapons. I got into a bit of trouble for that one, when Manuela and I donned my husbands camo gear and went traipsing through the neighbor’s woods. He didn’t seem to think hiding from my husband, who was trying to shoot me, was a good enough reason for us to trespass on his property.
We set up huge tents on our property each year in celebration of Tabernacles and most Friday nights my husband goes around the yard blowing the shofar, which I’m pretty sure can be heard for miles around. (At this point, the fact that we have a milk stanchion on our back porch, a junk pile in the yard, and I wear a headcovering in a area where cultural and religious diversity is not exactly venerated is hardly worth mentioning.)
But the worst of it came yesterday when two of our sheep got out and went crashing through the yards of several of our neighbors. Nevermind the fact that it was a Saturday, I think every person within a 10 mile radius passed our house at least once to see us running top-speed after those two sheep. Personally, I have a feeling they got on the phones then drove by on purpose, just to get a glimpse of the show.
I think we’re officially THAT FAMILY.
… you know the ones.
*(I snagged that title from a blog I enjoy.)