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I met the farmer yesterday.

A warm and bright afternoon, too nice not to stop and do a quick sketch on the trip back from a mid day visit to the shop. Passing an Amish farmer and six brawny mules seeding a field, I pulled off the road, got out and stood leaning against a wooden utility pole to sketch this view. Taking a break to satisfy his curiosity, the farmer parked his team and walked across the lumpy field to greet me. He'd noticed me the previous times I'd stopped.

We chatted about the farm life. He shared that he tills about 55 acres, has a barn full of milking Holsteins, and was planting alfalfa. I talked a bit about my years of living amidst the plain sect just a few miles east, and my own youth spent in New York state doing farm chores. A small but meaningful connection across otherwise quite different cultural backgrounds. I tried to explain what fascinated me about his farm building cluster. The great main barn looking like a ship cutting across a rolling ocean of rich soil. The house and minor buildings nestled into a shallow hollow, extending in segments parallel to the ridge beyond. How the structures seemed like they belonged there. He got it.

Concluding a few pleasant minutes of relaxed conversation, I commented my appreciation for the amount of manual toil involved in dairy and crop farming as the Amish do it on family farms in Lancaster county. He smiled and said, "It makes for a day's work!" before we each turned our attention back to the business at hand.

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