Meet EricTheFarmer. Yes, he is outstanding.
Eric was one of the kids next door, and practically grew up on Sulphur Creek Farm, running around the yard with the other kids, and we have the embarrassing photos to prove it. He spent many hours with our girls catching tiny fish in the creek (they called them "gelbers" in neighbor-speak), cannonballing into the pool, and chasing the dogs, who were chasing the cows, and many hours in the back of my car during our long-lived carpool days.
He's all grown up now--knows a lot about Native American artifacts, has traveled throughout the United States, including time spent living with Eskimos in Alaska, and working on farms in Wales, England, and Scotland, and is just about to graduate from Appalachian State. Eric's been very involved with the farm project since the beginning--just had to convince Tom that he was serious about becoming our farmer.
When school's out he'll be here full time, working under Jeff Poppen's tutelage. In the meantime, Eric's constructing a volunteer e-mail list, starting tomatoes in the college greenhouse, and organizing weekend workdays.
Hard for us older folks to express our delighted amazement, surprise, and happy gratitude without sounding sappy. Impossible, actually. But just about now, after the kids are in college and before the grandkids, you sometimes look back and wonder if you did ok, and if somebody like EricTheFarmer wants to work your property and live nearby, you wonder a little less.