Being an aggie of sorts, I was really anxious to make the trip to visit one of our friends who lived “in the country”. I was told he even had a cow and calf! (I was hoping for a little face time with the calf) We took a slow train to Torun and then a bus out to A’s “village”. I know, I am using too many quotes, but really, if you have any connection to farms in the U.S., you’ll soon see that these terms don’t quite portray reality. The bus dropped us off in what I would call a town and I started to worry that I had a several mile hike ahead of me out to “the country”. But instead, we walked a couple of blocks and there we were, at the gate to A’s. Up the sidewalk we went and into a lovely old house where we were met with hot tea in glass cups with silver holders. We met A’s elderly mother and had a nice visit, but I started to lose hope that I would get to pet the calf.
Here is a street view in A’s small town and several of the houses just down the street from his place. I never did get to what I picture in my mind as a “farm”. I am sure there are some, but even from the airplane, I could see that farming was different here, as it probably is in much of Europe. From the air, I could see a small town road with houses placed on narrow lots, and then behind each house, a long strip field of something like 10-15 acres (I am really guessing here). I am told not everyone farms their own field…..perhaps several in town have the equipment to plow and harvest, etc, but it’s my understanding the owners of each house own the field behind them too.
I was also told that there is a strong German influence in the style of this town. The houses did seem a little different to me than what I’d seen elsewhere. Anyway, back to the visit. A. excused himself for a few minutes to go up the road and check on the cow who was tethered in a nearby field and I began to lose hope for my calf time. When he came back, however, I managed to ask about the calf and found she was in the barn right in the back yard. “Oh, could we go outside and look around then?” I casually asked.
So, this Polish “farm” turned out to be many Americans’ dream: little piece of land closely connected to town and friends that a man can work with his own hands as his own boss to provide for his own needs! AND, I got to pet the calf and let her suckle my hand! Yes!