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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Here's to the farmers

We had a bunch of little boys visit the farm recently, and it took two farmers to entertain them. As our Sunday dinner gathering wrapped up, we were faced with the question, what to do with all the kids. Our children are in their twenties now, except for our granddaughter, who is not yet walking. We don’t have any toys for boys between the ages of two and six. I had put a DVD in the machine but it quickly became quite clear that our niece Maryanne’s boys had far too much energy to sit and watch a movie. Enter the Farmer. Farmers, plural. Another was spotted in our back forty, working a combine.

My husband has endless patience. He cooked a meal for family and friends and then wandered outside, kids in tow. While the rest of us did dishes and gathered on the porch with our after-dinner drinks, he helped the boys into their boots and instructed them on the avoidance of cow paddies and electric fences. They all joined hands and stepped into the barnyard. He lifted them up and strapped each of them onto the ATV behind him. Their three little bums just fit nicely on the bench above his seat. They were headed back to watch the combine, and they were excited. We could hear the hootin’ and hollerin’ as they bounced over the rocks in the yard and headed out to pasture.

Half an hour later, we noticed we could no longer see the ATV and we couldn’t hear it either. I figured they had gone on a trail into the forest. Another half hour went by and I started to worry that the four-wheeler was pulling its occasional trick of waiting til you get to the farthest point on the property, then konking out. I hoped he wasn’t stuck back there with three little boys and a disabled bike.

Finally we decided to send out a search party. Maryanne and her man pulled their boots and sweaters on and headed out into the field. Just then, we saw the ATV come barreling through the hole in the fence.

Emmett, the eldest, hopped off first. “Aunt Diana we got to drive the combine!!” His eyes were huge with excitement. I looked at Keegan, and little Logan. They both had glowing, happy faces.

“Well. I’ve never been on a combine,” I informed him.

“I know. Uncle Jim hasn’t either. But I have!!” Emmett kicked off his boots and threw the door open to the house to go and tell the rest of the family every detail of his adventure.

That farmer likely came around the bend on his combine and saw three little faces (and one big one) watching him from their ATV and then he had a really good idea. He was likely looking forward to heading home for a hot meal himself, but he took the time to give them a good long ride around the field. He even showed them how to drive the machine. It’s something they will never forget.

The cows wandered over to the fence to see what all the excitement was about. I showed the boys how to gather the fallen apples off the ground, giving the fruit a little kick first to make sure they weren’t housing any wasps. Mocha the tame red cow and Dono the Bull will take the apples right out of your hand. Mocha is unafraid and enthusiastic. She wraps her long sandpaper tongue around your hand and pulls the apple into her mouth. Dono is more delicate and polite. He nibbles the apple off your palm and takes a cautious step backward.

The rest of the cows are too shy to be fed by hand so we bowled apples through the fence to them on the ground. Those cows ate so many apples I’m sure they had belly aches afterwards. Just like us.

As the sun began to set on another perfect Sunday, we heard the geese approaching. We watched as they honked into v-formation and lowered themselves over the barnyard. They passed directly over us, on their way to the creek. As they reached us, they stopped honking. All you could hear was their wings flapping like a steady hum. I love that sound, even more than the honking because I feel it’s almost an honour to have them fly that low over your head. You won’t hear that in the city.

Here’s to the farmers, who occasionally remind us that simply getting outside is entertainment enough for one day.

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