When exchange students dream of their future host home, “farm life” often isn’t on their radar! Even so, Max from Germany feels he has found his perfect second home exploring farm life with the fun-loving Erb family.
Life on the Farm
Jeremy and Laura Erb own and operate an organic grain farm in Milton, PA.
“I definitely had fears,” shares host mom Laura. “I thought, ‘he is not going to want to live on a farm… we get dirty…what if he doesn’t like it here?”
But when Max arrived, those fears melted away as he embraced all that the farm had to offer. Laura quipped that whatever they invited Max to do, he was enthusiastically all-in.
“Hey Max, wanna come do these chores? Hey Max, wanna ride along on this delivery?” No matter the question, his answer was always YES! “Things that our boys took for granted as a chore for them was like a fresh adventure for Max.”
Max shared that some of his best memories of his exchange year include time spent on the farm – late nights bringing in the Autumn harvest, riding along for hay deliveries, learning to do chores, tagging along in the combine. “There’s always something going on!” he said.
To the Erb family, everyday life had a certain pattern wrapped up in work and chores.
“Having Max here has given us fresh eyes, that hey, this is FUN! We get so used to our mundane life, so to have a different perspective is refreshing.”
As an only child in Germany, Max has loved gaining 3 brothers. Laura has been amazed by how well they got along! The oldest left for college shortly after Max arrived, but that didn’t keep the boys from connecting daily through Snapchat.
“Our middle son has autism, which I worried may be difficult, but Max is amazing with him!” shares Laura. “And of course my 12 year old loves hanging out with him.”
To have brothers is a new thing for Max, but he wouldn’t trade it. “There’s much more action in the evening!” he laughed.
“Wanna ride a pig?”
Perhaps one of the most memorable of Max’s farm adventures has been helping to raise pigs for slaughter. This has been a semi-regular hobby venture for the Erb boys, who would buy piglets and care for them with the purpose of filling the freezer with pork or selling at a profit. As expected, Max was “all in” with this activity as well, and he actually became the piglet caretaker, feeding them morning and night!
When asked if he’d like to ride along to pick up the piglets, he answered with a resounding YES – and when he was asked if he’d like to ride a pig?!? Well, of course, he said YES to that as well!
“I think he stayed on for maybe 2 seconds,” laughed Laura, “but still… MAX RODE A PIG!”
He’s bringing adventure to these otherwise “normal” moments.
“I’m going to go through the grieving process when he leaves!” chuckled Laura.
Max has made an imprint on everyone’s hearts, and the Erb farm simply won’t be the same without him.
“I wish I could stay here longer,” shared Max, “but I know that we are not really saying goodbye. I’m not losing them… I have gained a new family for life, and we will always have each other.”