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Friend family’s farm a dream come true
Friend Neighbors

Friend family’s farm a dream come true

Living the dream

RURAL FRIEND—Simple things make rural Friend resident Rocio Rodriguez happy: stitting on her east deck watching the sunrise with a cup of coffee in hand; gathering with her family around a fire, reminiscing; seeing her daughters at work on the family farm; seeing little puppies squirming in the doghouse her husband Oscar made.

Oscar, an electrician, totes eggs with him to work in Lincoln where the family has repeat customers. Rocio sells eggs, too – the couple’s deliveries numbering in the scores of dozens. YouTube and family traditions guided them in their endeavors, which also involves harvesting the chickens for sale, and to feed their own family.

A sleek black dog and a couple fluffy Akita-like dogs run about, paying no mind to their feathered cohabitators. Or the cow grazing peacefully near a neighboring cornfield and three thick-fleeced sheep. It’s an early morning for the family, usually up and about doing chores by 3 a.m.

Oh, and Rocio also works at York General the Hearthstone, takes her daughters to school at St. Joseph Catholic School every day and commutes to Grand Island where she going to school to become a registered nurse.

Most people wouldn’t have time to pause for morning coffee, but somehow Rocio and Oscar live a remarkably peaceful, idyllic life on their bustling farm.

Oscar – besides working as an electrician and having the farm – has several small buildings (including the doghouse) he built himself, but there are plans for more. The spacious barn housing young chickens is getting an aisle put in, to streamline feeding. With it, Rocio and Oscar will be able to wheel chicken feed, distributing it down a row. In the meantime, large plastic feeders are distributed about the barn. They must be cleaned and filled individually – a time-consuming task done multiple times a day.

They don’t mind, Rocio says as she corrals chickens and Oscar refills chicken feeders. Oscar had arrived home from work, toting the couple’s youngest daughter, just a few minutes before. With barely a pause, he’s already in the barn, tending to the family’s large flock. Working with the chickens – all of the animals, really – seems like second nature. Rocio can catch and scoop up one of the thousand or so chickens effortlessly, like an afterthought.

She holds the chicken, and speaks of growing up in Mexico. Rocio and her family had chickens. Even when she moved to a mobile home in York she knew someday she’d live on a farm, she and Oscar providing for their children and – most importantly -- teaching them about hard work and determination. Starting from scratch.

Is Rocio going to leave her “regular” job someday to farm full time? No, she says. This is the life she’s dreamed of for as long as she’s been in the States, and then some. She loves her job – and all of the simple, beautiful things on the secluded farm near Friend.

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