Thursday, June 7, 2012

Darby Acres Farm

Temps in the mid-70's. Light breeze and puffy clouds. Housework done. Schoolwork done. What to do, what to do...? Head to the farm!
The boys were more than content to climb and play on rows of John Deere tractors, but since I had already paid for a ticket into the petting area and for a pony ride, I insisted they climb down and follow me. My order was met with some grumbles that "these tractors are the funnest thing I've ever done" (really?!) but I assured them we'd come back at the end.
First stop was enjoying lots of cheeps and peeps from dozens of baby chicks. Annalyse was especially fond of them and kept whispering, "Mommy! Peep! Peep!" as she waddled laps around their cages.
The real fun began when the boys could scratch Oliver the pig and feed all the goats, sheep, llamas, and ponies. They have no inhibitions with animals and it took several quiet reminders to Grady Lee that not all animals like to be hugged.
Micah must have asked a hundred times why this pig was black and not pink. He was also convinced that "the scratchy bristles on the pig could stick up and poke you like a porcupine if you make it angry."
When Micah mentioned defensive bristles, our guide introduced us to the cutest little hedgehog I've ever seen. As she held it, she told the boys to gently blow on it. When they did, he rolled up in the tightest ball and it was impossible to see its head or feet. After a minute or so, it slowly unfolded and wriggled its pink nose at us. This was all it took for Grady Lee to begin asking when he could get a hedgehog for a pet.
While we were saying hello to the hedgehog, Annalyse discovered a bunch of bunnies. I turned around to her loud and excited yells of, "Unny! Unny! Mommy, uunnnyyy!" There was also a litter of one-week old bunnies, not yet with their eyes open, that we were able to see and softly touch. It was almost like Annalyse knew they were delicate and she turned her excited yells to soft whispers when the babies came out.
The boys learned about wool and shearing and lanolin, but were mostly concerned why the animals "weren't sheared right now because it's very hot and they probably want you to buzz their fur off today."
Oliver the pig was, for sure, the favorite. He ran around (wait, can pigs actually run?) following us and sniffing us for more grain. We learned that pigs can be house trained and actually make good pets - which is when I emphatically told Grady Lee that no, absolutely not, not evereverever, would we get a pig as a family pet.
After visiting all the animals, we got in line for a short pony ride. Micah climbed up first and gave a loud "Giddyup!" which produced nothing out of the cute, but weary-looking, pony.
Grady Lee was up next and rode like a champ. It's on my to-do list to find a place for him to take riding and grooming lessons. I know he would love it and I know he would be excellent at caring for horses.
After all that waiting, it was time for Annalyse to finally take her turn in the saddle! I have never seen anything cuter - melt my heart darlingness! The helmet was entirely too big for her, which only made her look that much cuter. She took her ride very serious, sitting very still with one hand on the horn of the saddle and the other hand gently petting the mane, all the while saying, "Neigh! Neigh!" again and again. Come on, let's hear it: cute!
The boys took a lap and said goodbye to all their new animal friends, and we scrubbed hands and sat down for lunch. "Mom, do you know that my grapes and my cheese tastes way better when I'm eating it here at the farm than it does at home?" Micah announced. Hhmmm. Interesting.
And, like I promised, we spent the next half hour back on the tractors. While the boys ran around doing their thing and getting into full farmer mode, Annalyse did her best to keep up and do whatever she saw them doing. If they pulled a lever, she did. If they jumped off steps, she tried. If they cranked a steering wheel, she  wanted to.
Phew! When everyone was sufficiently dirty and tired, we called it a day and headed home. Annalyse was asleep before we left the dirt road and continued to take a two hour nap once we got home. The boys crashed on the couch over a cartoon and I just smiled and remembered why playing hard outside is so much fun.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like such a fun day. And seriously, it seems as though there is no end of options in your area for fun, hands-on learning. I love that you take advantage of it!