Friday, August 7, 2009

Farm life

I am still answering the question, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" A couple of weeks ago, I might have gotten a little closer to the answer.
We hosted several families in Jeremy's track club for an end of the year picnic. After a wonderful potluck meal, the adult types held their annual meeting and the yard was swarmed with kids.
At one point, we had a group walking the paths in the garden, one group interacting with the alpacas, and another group in the chicken house collecting eggs. Stewart was pretty proud of his find.
My favorite aspect of the whole night was hearing the kids ask questions about the animals and their purpose. One young guy collected a bantam egg and after considering that it was much smaller than Stewart's version asked me in a very serious voice, "Is this going to get any bigger?" I explained that the little eggs came from the little chickens and they would not get any bigger. It was also funny to think about putting the egg in water to see if it would grow like the spongy animals my nieces get from time to time. There is not way of knowing if that was my egg collector's idea, but it might have been close.
We also had a kid pick some cherry tomatoes in the garden. He came up to me and asked, "Can I keep these? I found them." He was invited to keep them, but we found them later that night in a safe place in the barn. He set them down to feed alpacas and forgot to retrieve them before heading home.
So, when I grow up, I want to help people, especially young people, learn about farm life. Some of my best and most natural lessons about the world - my future and my past - have been with my family weeding a garden, gathering eggs, doctoring an animal, canning garden bounty, checking cows in the pasture, moving farm equipment from field to field, having a farmhand lunch at my grandma's table, and sitting outside with ice tea after a long day's work listening to crickets. Surely, there is a need to understand our connection to the earth.

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