My 6 year old daughter loves country music. The other day a Hank Williams, Jr. song “Country boys can survive” came on the radio. I looked at her and her eyes were half closed and she said to me, “This is my song, Mama.” “I know sweetie,” is all I could say without laughing. This week both of my kids have shown me that country boys (and girls) can survive… in fact, they thrive.
I have mentioned before that I love watching my children grow up in an environment that is so conducive to learning. By learning, I’m not talking necessarily about academics, although farm life has plenty of science and math lessons. I am more talking about the every day life lessons and skills that are learned when you are free to roam the countryside.
The kids were enjoying the cool weather last week, and played outside quite a bit in the afternoons. I saw that they had entered the pasture, (without asking permission of course-I suppose in this situation it was easier for them to ask for forgiveness) armed with ropes and blankets. I sat on the porch where I could see and hear them, but where they wouldn’t notice me. Sweetums was off grazing and therefore ignoring the kids. The goats, however, were quite interested in their afternoon visitors. This was all part of the plan I learned as I watched. The kids took turns roping the goats, loading them into the milking stall (well, it has never been used for such activities but one day…) putting a blanket on top of them, waiting a few minutes, and then releasing them. This went on for awhile, each goat getting his turn and proper attention. I couldn’t believe how well the goats took to the activity, but then again these goats were bottle fed by us and wrapped in blankets and taken for stroller rides when they were babies. So I suppose they’ve always been used to this type of treatment. When they were released from the milking stall, their treat was a few pieces of corn. My children, 6 and 4, can work animals! (And no, they are not for hire)
Not only can they work animals, but the 4 year old can now do the nightly animal feeding and gather eggs. The 6 year old can now tend a fire and steer a tractor. I’m telling you what, these kids can work! To them it isn’t work, though. It is the excitement of another day on their farm. I can’t begin to explain to them that these activities far surpass anything they could be doing in a city neighborhood. I know one day they will tell stories about the things they did as kids and probably think I never knew what they were up to. Little do they know that I not only knew exactly what they were doing, but I was actually in favor of it! In the words of my daughter’s song… “Country folks can survive!”
Today’s column will be my last for a little while. We are eagerly anticipating the birth of another bumpkin into our family. I cannot wait to see the interactions that will take place with our new addition. Thank you to everyone who reads and supports my writing, I’ll be back before you know it!