September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
The next, next generation
My first thought was that it seems a little early to be thinking about transitioning the farm, but maybe not. At the informational meeting for Dan's kindergarten, it was made very clear that today's kindergarten is not the kindergarten my generation attended. Children are expected to enter modern kindergarten with far more skills. I suppose it's not outlandish to also expect them to know what they want to do with their lives when they graduate 13 years later.
But I didn't voice that thought during the interview. What I did say was that, of course, Glen and I would be honored if one of our children were to choose to farm. If our children do decide to farm, we will do everything we can to help them make it possible. However, not every child who grows up on a farm catches the farming bug, so whether our farm will continue for another generation in this family is ultimately a decision our children will make.
Whether or not our children choose to farm, only time will tell. But I have noticed a few qualities in our children that will serve them well if they do catch the farming bug.
1. They don't take the easy path.
After last week's snow storm, we finally had snowbanks in the yard big enough for sliding. Dan started out sliding down the piles on his bottom.
Then we got the sleds out. I gave Dan a push down a snowy slope, but he tipped over when the sled hit the driveway. After drying his hands and his tears, I agreed to ride with him in the sled the next time.
We cruised down without tipping and the extra weight in the sled made a nice track in the snow. Dan said he was going to go down again by himself, so I went back to feeding heifers.
Dan took off back up the hill, trudging through the deepest snow. I told him it would easier to walk up the hill on the driveway, where the snow was plowed away.
"Nah, Mom," he said. "This is better."
2. They don't mind getting dirty.
After Dan's first day of playing in the snow, I quickly realized just how much laundry our mild winter saved me. All of his attire from the knees down was soaked.
Wet clothes, by themselves, aren't much of a problem. But Dan's afternoon routine takes him from playing on the snowbanks to chasing Monika around the barn and playing in the cows' TMR.
When he removes his boots at night, we end up with a small pile of TMR on the floor, not including the TMR stuck to his wet socks.
I shake as much of the feed out of his boots as I can, but they still smell like a Koster tester when they come off the boot dryer the next day.
3. They're eager to help.
When the vacuum pump starts, there's often a race between Dan and Monika to see who gets to help milk a cow first.
Ginger is Dan's favorite cow to milk and Monika always asked to milk Sienna. But now that Sienna is dried up, they fight over milking Ginger. Thankfully, there are several other gentle, young cows with udders high enough off the ground to allow little helpers to crawl underneath.
The other night Dan ran up to Glen and asked, "Which cow can I milk? I'm a farmer, too... I'm a little kid farmer."
We frequently comment that we hope Dan and Monika are still as eager consider themselves farmers and to help with milking 10 years from now.
4. They're connecting with animals.
After vocally pondering my collection of frogs in our bathroom, Dan asked me, "What's your favorite animal?"
I told him I have two favorites, cows and frogs.
"That's why you wanted to be a farmer," he then proclaimed. "And that's why my dad wanted to be a farmer."
I don't know if cows are Dan's favorite animals, but he's definitely becoming attached to them.
Love is still Dan's favorite cow. He always needs to know where she is in the barn. And he's always asking when she's going to have another baby. It took her awhile to breed back, so I just keep telling him "in a little while." I sure hope that calf is a heifer.
Every time a calf is born, Dan wants to know if it's a girl or a boy. He knows that we keep the girls and sell the boys; at first he was mad that we sell the boys and would get upset when bull calves were born; but now he seems to understand and accept the situation.
There's a little, black heifer calf in the barn that Dan keeps referring to as his fair calf. I'm not sure where he got the idea of having a fair calf - unless he's overheard conversations about showing. I'm not sure if I'm ready for that chapter to begin, but he seems to be.[[In-content Ad]]
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