Thursday, July 3, 2008

Farm Visit

Today we had three kids come to visit the farm. Their grandmother is a friend of my mother's, and their mother went to school with me, so there's no way to say no. But, in fact, my mother loves taking kids on tours of her farm, so she'd totally have said yes even if she didn't know them from Adam.

The children in question are 6, 4, and 3. Their mother was two grades younger than me, which makes me feel a bit odd. My husband and I haven't even decided if we're having any, and she's already got three. They have been living in a large southern city, in a condo. They are not country kids. The four year old is afraid of bugs, for instance.

So we ride out on the Kubota to the barn to see the cats. We are very excited by the cats, which we refer to as "she" regardless of genitalia. I fail to point out the difference, too busy trying to make sure that the three year old does not try to jump out of the hayloft.

Mom asks me to get some of the goats. I manage to get just my most feed-addicted goats to come to the barn. They are pretty calm, and one of them has our newest kid, so I figure it will be a match made in heaven. I fail to anticipate three simultaneous, shrill, squeals of delight, which make my goats suddenly realise that they are *gasp* away from the heard. They run back to the heard, bleating as they go. So much for that.

It's back on the Kubota, out to the cows. We are out of range cubes, which means we are "treating" them with goat feed. Cows are slobbery animals to being with, and the tiny goat pellets mean that prodigious amounts of slobber are generated. We have our two most docile cows on one side, eating out of our hands. The two older boys cower on the back of the Kubota. As their mother and grandmother attempt to coax them to come feed the cows, or at least to pet them, the three year old charges off the seat smack in the direction of our craziest cow. Fortunately, Mom diverts her to a cow that is not insane and probably won't kick her from pure spite. Eventually, the cows have been sufficiently gawked at, and we head for the goats.

In the heard, the goats are anything but shy. In fact, my second billy, Jim, is so feed-greedy that I am a bit worried that he will bowl the kids over, so I don't let any of them hold the bucket. The four year old is interested in feeding the goats from his hands, while his mother and grandmother take copious pictures. He continues to refer to them as deer, despite multiple corrections. I finally figure out that it is because my nannies' horns look a bit like those of does. If you have never actually seen a deer, that is. Of course, as soon as we turn our backs, the farm dog bites the three year old. Happily, no skin is broken, and her mother is way less upset than expected. She stops crying before Mom and I stop scolding the dog. You can tell that she is going to be a firecracker when she gets a bit older.

Later, I will once again try to convince my mother that the farm dog is dangerous and should be locked up when people are around. He's bitten ME for goodness sake (and gotten his butt whooped for it good), and I am generally acknowledged by all the sane dogs I know to be dominant. I am not sure how many people that dog will bite before she gets the message, but she persists in believing that he is not dangerous. In vain I plead that one serious bite will require that he be put down, and thus we ought not tempt him. She loves this dog the way Pairs Hilton loves her little rat dog, and he can do no wrong in her eyes.

For now, though, it is off to the porch to eat watermelon. Copious amounts of watermelon are eaten, and copious amounts of juice are dribbled on the front porch. The adults watch the melee with glasses of the 2004 Pesquera in hand. The farm dog is locked up for the duration. The three year old plays alternately in the dirt and in the dog's water bowl, no doubt seriously fortifying her immune system over the long term.

Eventually, it is time for dinner, and they load themselves into the van and drive away, hot and grubby but waving happily. I am not sure how their mother does it - I only had them around for three hours, and I am already ready for my nap.

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