Lonny helped us with a wide variety of projects on day visits during the summer and fall of 2020. We were especially grateful for his assistance with haying, and we enjoyed his company.
I came to St. Francis Farm after listening to a story about Dorothy Day, the social activist, on NPR. She started a work farm program all throughout the United States in the 1920’s and 30’s. Farms like these are based on sustainable living in a Christian context, just what I was looking for. Also this farm strives for unity while this country is heading in the opposite direction. I needed rest for my soul.
Lorraine, Zach, and Joanna proved to be excellent hosts, always making me feel comfortable and answering all my questions with patience. I did not stay in the guest house but pitched my tent beside their pond, letting the birds, peepers, bullfrogs, and other sounds of nature lull me to sleep.
Zach let me drive their tractors to cut and bale hay, something I always
wanted to do. He also let me cut wood in their sawmill, another dream of mine. He showed me their cider press, the sugar shack, and the canoe he made from wood on the farm. On my second visit he started to teach me about meat processing, and soon I’ll be back to learn to weld.
Joanna taught me different aspects of gardening and the amount of work that goes into tending one. While we worked together I had a great time talking to her about shared interests. She also tried teaching me how to milk a goat by hand, at which I failed miserably.
Lorraine showed me how to make a tincture out of plants and grain alcohol. She showed me the different bird nests around the yard, naming the birds for me. Lorraine taught me how to make cream cheese and soft cheese from goats’ milk. They tasted very good, changing my view on goat cheese. But best of all is eating all this farm-raised food for lunch and dinner cooked up by her.
After the the fun work with Zach, Lorraine, and especially with Joanna I had the opportunity to clean up in an outdoor solar shower Zach made. Taking a shower under a sunny blue sky with a slate floor under my feet with home cooked food for every meal, I felt like I was in a resort. At sunset sitting by the pond I witnessed a kingfisher diving into the water for its meal – what a treat before climbing into my tent for a restful, quiet night.
My decision to go to St. Francis Farm proved to be one of my best. I encourage anyone interested in this field to go check them out—you won’t be disappointed.