hen and chicks

I am not cut out to be a farmer; no, no, no (just one, back breaking, limb torturing, skin prickling, day of hay baling made that clear!).  But I do love taking my children each week to spend a day in the country.  It has been a  marvelous source of joy and learning for them as we have visited  a local dairy farm.

a bundle of piglets

‘Our’ farmer is not just a dairy farmer: he has chickens, geese, turkeys, sheep, pigs, and of course…..lots of cows!  So he is what I think of as a picture book farmer. 🙂

children and calves

The farm is run by a father and son.  They have been very generous (and tolerant!) about sharing farming life with us, and have allowed the girls to observe, and even participate in, some of the farming activities.  We have all stood in the way and marveled during milking, and the braver among us have tried our hands at it; we have seen new born baby lambs (twins!), new piglets, and just this week, some dear goslings.

children and farmer with day old lamb

twin black lambs

goslings

I also saw my first ever cock fight: the photos didn’t go so well, but you maybe can see why I couldn’t get the song “Kung Fu Fighting” out of my head for some time afterward…  It was spectacular to watch!

cock fight

On one visit, we were helping feed the cows before milking.  The farmer had promised to show us the creek, but had more work to do first with the cows.  As we were walking out of the feeding shed, he called back that if my girls stayed to help in the next part of the task, he would be finished sooner, and we could all be off to the creek.

My children ran back inside to help, but I stood there in a moment of indecision.  I was holding the baby of the family, and paused to wonder if I should go back and supervise because after all, the farmer perhaps would think the girls more capable than they are (they each look older than their age) and would he be aware of how un-savvy they are about cows?

My pondering was pulled up short when I glanced up and saw a wall of cows descending upon me. The farmer said as casual as you please, as though I was not about to be trampled to death by the closet things to elephants in Australia, that I had better be moving.  Just like that.  “You’d better be moving, because they’re coming”.  The man is the personification of understatement.

To fully appreciate my dilemma, I should explain that it had been bucketing rain for a week.  The farmer has a LOT of cows.  The shed had a dirt floor with a LOT of…well, a lot of cow poo.  Juggling an almost two year is tricky on the best of days.  But to be wearing a pair of little pink thongs and a skirt, and juggling a chubby toddler while you slip and slide through the results of hundreds of cow’s after dinner actions, and there is an electric fence on one side of the narrow space you are attempting to traverse…..and there is a multitudinous assortment of enormous beasts heading straight at you……friends, it will injure my dignity if you try to imagine the scene. It was definitely a farming moment I won’t forget.

Miss 10 found out that baby cows, like baby most things, will chew on anything that comes handy…

calf eating dress

Truly, it has been a most richly rewarding time for our family to share a little of  the daily life on a farm .  If you don’t have a farm close by, you could perhaps register with  farm day, an organization who match up families from the city, with a country family for a day.  Or you may like to try a farm stay for your next holiday.

late afternoon ride

A perfect way to end a perfect day……

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