A friend invited us to visit a farm in our neck of the woods and last Friday Bracken and I joined other homeschooling families in the area (I had no idea there were so many, we’re still new to connecting with other homeschooling families) for a day at Whiskey Creek Organics. It’s located on an island, a really beautiful spot. When it rained the hardest we went inside the greenhouses or under the canopy of the trees. We learned about plants and saw all the starts they had growing in the greenhouse. When I commented on the bean trellis, the farmer told me where he got the idea, and we realized what a small world it was since I knew just the person he was talking about (another local farmer.)
We saw old spruce trees and learned why they are so rare in this area (they were used in the first World War to build airplanes.) We also learned that the green tips of the spruce trees in spring make a Vitamin C rich tea. The kids pulled up leeks and everyone got to bring some home. We saw their beehives, strawberry field, and raspberries. (I looked at the way they trellised their raspberries for ideas.) There was talk about cover crops, pollination, compost, and healthy soil. Each child got to plant a pea plant to bring home. (Bracken had picked a clover flower and decided to plant that with his pea as well.)
Then we went to the other end of the island where the animals were. The children got to feed the pigs and chickens popcorn. Then we were all surprised when the farmer exclaimed “the first two to catch a chicken get a dozen eggs!” You should have seen those kids running! It was quite a sight. I was amazed at how many kids actually caught one! Then they each got to collect an egg from the nesting boxes in the chicken coop. And the goats… they were very popular with everyone. The kids got to feed them and then hold the baby goats. Bracken got to hold the littlest one that was only three days old. He also started collecting goat hair that had accumulated on the side of the fences, telling me he was going to wash it and felt it. A fiber loving boy after my own heart! (Though I didn’t feel at all inclined to gather up goat hair alongside him.)
After all the animal fun and washing hands, we sat on straw bales and enjoyed our potluck lunch. We got to eat strawberries from the farm (from last season, since the ones this year weren’t ready yet.) They were delicious.
I love watching children get to experience farm life. I love watching their eyes light up when they interact with the animals and the look of wonder seeing where their food comes from. I sometimes joke that Bracken knew more about plants growing in the garden and where food comes from in his first years of life than I did when I was a teenager. Even though I joke, there’s a lot of truth in that statement. (He was in the garden since he was a baby.) My generation was less connected to farms (but that’s changing) than my grandparents’ and even my parents’ generation. It’s so important for us to learn where our food comes from, not just to experience it on the grocery store shelves, and I’m glad so many of us our reconnecting with that more all the time. I’ve watched the farmer’s market we go to get busier every year.
That day we went home wet, muddy, and happy. I’m sure it is a day all of those children will remember!