I grumble an awful lot about life in rural Vermont. When I get into one of my extra grumbly moods, my husband gently reminds me that if we lived somewhere more "civilized" (my word), I would be working and our kids would be in daycare. We would have to take our dog for walks and pick up after him instead of just opening the door and let him explore the literal miles of forest that surround us. Our home may be the same size in this "civilized" utopia, but we'd be paying twice as much for it. So for all my grumbling, raising very young kids in rural Vermont definitely has its perks. Like this:
I will not apologize for my equine overload. I love horses. And I love their abundance up here and the way that I can see cows, horses, and sheep on my drive to the library. The library where I will pick up a free pass to the local museum and historical landmark, Billings Farm. Which is where, because we choose to live in rural Vermont, I get to spend a sunny day with my kids and our friends. Because we're lucky like that. Maybe you should all move here, too, and then it won't feel so rural. Maybe then we can convince the People Who Matter to open a Target. And we can all head to the farm for some fun.
Come on, the grass is greener up here.
Okay, I'll stop begging. Back to the farm.
Our friend Katharine and her darling girls, Harper and Paisley, joined up for some farm frolicking. The kids were literally jumping for joy.
Once through it was a bit like Dorothy opening her front door to Oz, or your first glimpse into Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Magic.
I think the sight of all that open space was a tad overwhelming for young Jax. He needed time to process all that freedom and green.
The big reason that we chose to come to the farm today was not just because it was a day oozing with sunshine. I had heard tell that there were many new baby animals, and that there were baby chicks especially. Since I love springtime and all the new life it brings, I felt certain that I must bring my children to meet these new babies. What's sweeter than baby chicks?
Unfortunately, what you can't see under that little trio of sweet innocent chickies, is a little murdered baby chick, flat as a pancake and definitely being canibalized by its brethren. Okay, maybe not canibalized, but there was definitely some pecking going on. Luckily there was always a bird or two using it as a stepping stool, so the kids didn't really notice it, but it was distrubing in a Circle of Life lesson kind of way. Not necessarily the best way to start our day at the farm.
They only look innocent.
Okay, moving on, children. Let's wash our hands. Twice.
How 'bout some sheep?
The sheep really were adorable and the kids loved to see them grazing and playing and even nursing from their mama sheep. It was a much more heartwarming moment than the crime scene we had witnessed moments before. The kids really did love them.
I feel like the sheep were easier for the kids to understand; they lived in a big open pasture, not a little box under a heat lamp. It felt more like what Old MacDonald's Farm should be, and I felt like our trip to the farm was back on track.
There was one small sheep mishap, though. This little guy--
definitely has some attention deficit issues, and didn't notice when his entire flock left the paddock to go to the adjoining one, in plain sight, for lunch. Minutes later, when all the other sheep had gone, he suddenly looked up and was like, Hey? Where'd everyone go? Poor thing. He ran around in circles for what felt like forever, baaaa-ing his head off for his mama (who was about twenty feet away). I felt like I could relate to his mama, who did not miss a beat in eating her lunch to give him a little shout out and let him know where she was. She was definitely muttering to her other little sheep friends, See? I told you; he never listens. Well, this will serve him right. Maybe for once I can eat my lunch in peace.
All the kids were getting stressed out by the situation, though, and another little boy joined Jax and Harper at the fence to urge the little sheep toward his mama. They yelled and ran and tried to show him the way. Finally, the little lambchop figured it out and found the door to his lunch and his mama. The kids all cheered and that is all Jax remembers from his trip to the farm.
Anyone: So, Jax, you went to the farm yesterday? How was it?
Jax: The baby sheep lost his mama.
Anyone: He did? Did he find her?
Jax: Yes, she was having lunch. But she was lost.
Anyone: But the little sheep found her eventually.
Jax (with a shudder of anxiety): Yes. But she was lost.
First dead baby chicks and now mama sheep abandoning their young. So heartwarming.
How 'bout them cows?
Oh, that's cheerful.
How 'bout some baby cows?
Even if they are in depressingly small cages, which I learned is good for them until they're a little bigger.
Okay. Phew. I mean, look at those eyes. I'm feeling better already.
This little peanut was two days old! Which, in retrospect, is kind of depressing because why wasn't she with her mama? Okay, this whole trip to the farm is really starting to upset me.
I told you the girls can keep up with boys round here.
Sarcasm and bird carcasses aside, it was a lovely day shared with friends and family.
And cute cows.
This is our third trip to Billings Farm, once when Em was only a few weeks old and once this winter for a sleigh ride. Armed with free passes from the library and friends, I can't think of a nicer way to spend a morning.