Thursday, August 4, 2011

Farming with Kids

Having young children is a challenge. having multiple young children is more so. Anyone with multiple children within 2-3 years of age will remember those years before they began school well. Damage control is a very accurate concept. More so with some children than others, obviously. also more at some times than others. There are those days, many of which may fade into distant memory sadly, where your little ones are absolutely angelic. then there are days that make us wish there was such a thing as Toddler Boot Camp. hmm... A new reality TV show? I think SuperNanny may have already accomplished that.

Being farmers, our family and our children are faced with many special challenges and experiences. "Helping" takes on a whole new meaning each day. While most toddlers might be indoors learning letters and tracing shapes in a workbook or playing with pupets and blocks on nasty, confused spring days, HannaMae and Alethea get all bundled up in their winter clothes and go out to the farm with their Papa. They make dirt angels, dirt castles, go mud jumping, watch ants braving the cold air and help herd sheep (effectively even now that HannaMae can walk across a pasture!).

HannaMae has become a rather accomplished shepherd, Alli has begun to learn what the names of crops are and which plants are really weeds, mostly.  Both girls must be plied with fresh kale and lettuce and carrots of their own to keep them out of the boxes of clean produce heading for market.  And everyone has been learning to listen to directions when it's crunch time before market.  Everyone is even learning to stay in our own space at the markets, especially at the Tuesday Grower's Market at the Moscow Food Coop, where market is in a parking lot with lots of cars going by.

Farming with young children especially, is a huge challenge.  It is also one of the greatest joys I can imagine.  The girls put on their cowgirl hats and are all dressed up in their cute go-to-market clothes and I can't imagine anything cuter.  Watching our girls obsess over the latest ladybug and even simply playing quietly in the dirt is something I can't imagine living without.  Their imaginations soar when they have little more to play with than a stick and lots of dirt.  (okay, they have TONS of toys at the farm, most go un played with for weeks at a time!)  Watching our girls sit on various trucks and push each other around is so cute.

Life is hard with lots of long hot days and not much more than a blanket and some shade to take a nap in, not like you need much more than that.  Our girls are always absolutely filthy with all the dust and wash water they've been playing in.  but when we finally get home at night, they sleep hard until it's time to get up and go do it all over again.

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