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Tending to my flock

"I wanna move up to Nashua, get a nice little spread, get some sheep and tend to them." --Good Will Hunting
With all of the NSA news lately, I can't help but think back to this quote from Matt Damon's character sometimes.  He's at a job interview and being asked to use his profound math intellect for national security...he'd rather be a shepherd.

When I was in--oh, maybe 9th grade--they sat us all down in my high school and asked us to take a test that would recommend several jobs we'd probably like and be good at one day. Mine came up "dairy farmer" and "forest ranger." Of course, I am neither of those these days. I live in the densely-packed suburbs of the nation's 3rd largest city. Nothing I've ever done has involved large acres of woodland, animals, or using the heavy vehicles that both those jobs seem to require.

But call it a mid-life crisis, we're currently obsessed with a lifestyle change involving becoming shepherds. Which sounds funny because you probably just got in your head the romanticized image of a guy with a crook and a dog walking through valleys and over hills, whistling. In my part of the country, at least, sheep farming looks more like intensive pasture management as you move high-tension electric fences around fields trying not to get zapped. The sheep are just there to, hopefully, eat well. We want lambs in the spring, wool to shear, maybe a heritage breed even. Boldly saving some poor ovine member from being endangered. Which involves an awful lot of genetics. Maybe we have chickens and grow some organic vegetables and cut our own hay, who knows.

And aside from the image of me sitting down to a spreadsheet trying to decide what rams to put with what ewes, the other picture that comes to mind is the quiet winters on the farm. Maybe the extended family converging on our imaginary Wisconsin homestead for Christmas or spending a quiet winter's evening in the barn listening to "baa" while Cole helps me distribute bales to the flock.

I blame the Mama. 100%. Her and her ability to take a washed fleece and turn it into a sweater. The logic follows "hey why not just see the whole thing all the way through from lambs to mittens"...or is that mutton? So, ok, maybe our hosts in Door County at the bed and breakfast have provided a little motivation, too. They were working 9 to 5 jobs in the city 30 years ago when they opted for farm life and haven't looked back. And they seem happier for it. It's certainly a lot more appealing than many other jobs I can think of. Honestly, the blogs I read that I'm most envious of currently aren't the $10,000 bikes speeding towards's the stories of people who have left their urban lives behind to farm. Weird right? Inspiring? Definitely.

So how about it...anybody out there have a farmhouse we could move into?!