The end of the story is that we did it. The kids and I fed and separated the animals all by ourselves. But as usual, stories involving me and the goings on at the farm are never boring. Oh, no…they are full of…we’ll call it excitement.
I am almost always up for trying new things. Since meeting the farmer 13 years ago, I have learned that the most fulfilling way to live is to simply try something once. It is amazing how much you can learn about yourself and the world around you by giving something new a chance. As I wrote about in my last article, if there is a task that I can do that will help the farmer or save him time, I earnestly try to do it. After all, he has made a lot of my crazy ideas happen! My ratio of tasks attempted to tasks successfully completed is not that great. Task: kill snake…check. Task: milk cow…check. Task: feed and separate animals…no check. Task: put goats back in pen…no check. Task: fix the water situation in chicken coup…no check. Well, 2 out of 5 ain’t bad.
I may not be especially wise to all the inner workings of farm life, but I am definitely not dumb…I realized I had a secret weapon right under my nose and I have officially unleashed its power. The youngens! That’s right, the littles can’t live here for free so the deal we’ve worked out with them is that they exchange farm hand type work for room and board. It has proved to be most valuable around here. My track record is suddenly 5 for 5 with their assistance!
The first time I failed with the animals I knew immediately where I had gone wrong. I knew that had my daughter been around, we would have succeeded. So last night when I knew the farmer would be in late and I could help by taking care of this seemingly easy task (and I also needed a good story for my article) I told my 7 year old and my 4 year old what we needed to do. There was also a promise of sour gummie worms for a job well done.
We marched outside. We poured food. The kids jumped the fence with another bucket of food. They ran around herding 3 goats and a bull calf. I shouted orders. They kept running around in circles. I shouted more orders-run toward the gate not toward the corner! The goats knocked the bucket down. I shouted more orders to pick it up and run. They ran. Bull calf not cooperating (big surprise there). Goats not letting bull calf eat out of the bucket (another big surprise). Kids running. Son screaming “Ninja goat fight!” Daughter getting frustrated. I am pointing and shouting again. Gate is closing. 3 goats and the calf are successfully separated. Whew! The only part I left out is that this process took at least 20 minutes. Ok, maybe it was 30. This is quite shameful considering it takes the farmer approximately 3 minutes to complete this task and there is no shouting, pointing, frustration, or ninja goat fighting needed.
I told the farmer that the task was completed. He was quite pleased. I had to admit to him that I wasn’t sure that the 30 minutes and all the “excitement” it took us to do it was really worth the 3 minutes we saved him. But we tried something new. We learned about ourselves. We learned about the world around us. Our lives were full of fulfillment, right kids? Yes Mama…now can we have our gummie worms?!