Visiting Lena’s Farm in Arizona

by Lisa ’17

Today we went to  Lena’s family farm out in the grassy plains.  This was where Lena was raised and the site of her family hogan. The farm had three rocky hills surrounding the house. The hogan, no longer standing, sat in parts about twenty feet from the garden. We were instructed to weed the cornfield where sprinting stalks of corn began to peek out of the dry soil. The sun was hot as we dug into the ground with backhoes and shovels to clear the rows of weeds; beyond we could hear the bleating of goats and the screeching of chickens. Lena said the goats and sheep are used solely for meat, which is frozen and enjoyed throughout the year.

After I finished weeding my row I went to the house for water. Lila, Lena’s granddaughter, was peeking earnestly over a box which I curiously approached. Inside lay a large tabby cat and three tiny kittens climbing and sleeping next to their mother. To say it was just adorable would be a massive understatement. Lena and I weeded the flower garden as Lila tried to help by collecting the uprooted weeds. She told me of her upbringing here, interacting with the wild animals and learning from her parents and siblings; saying she wanted her grandchildren to have the same experiences she enjoyed as a child. Later, after lunch, we looked at the goats and sheep. One small doe  took a liking to all of us, vying to be pet and played with. She got a little too friendly when she hopped in  the back of our truck which, while amusing to us, presented many problems for Michael and Kevin.

On the way back to the townhouse I reflected on working outside and talking with Lena about her childhood; in the small time I spent on the farm I realized the importance of living traditionally while in the present, something I wish to apply throughout my own life in the many years to come.

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