“Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.” – John Muir
Every summer I pluck my city kids out of Chicago for a few weeks and we relocate to my hometown of Green Bay, Wisconsin. I love our urban life, but this change of pace is refreshing for our souls.
It shows the girls a different way of living … such as lawns! It’s crazy, but recently my youngest remarked: “Mommy, why is he shaving his yard?,” when she saw a man mowing his lawn. Huh? She sure is a city kid.
So, every summer in Green Bay, I take the girls to a farm. I want them to smell stinky cow air. I want them to see miles of corn fields growing. I want them to see animals up close.
The last two summers we’ve gone to Mulberry Lane Farm, an educational children’s farm in Sherwood.
I want them to touch farm animals. Yet it’s a form of battle with myself. Truth be told, I am squeamish around farm animals. I’m not a hater of animals, just a wee standoffish on the farm.
And yeah, more than a pinch grossed out. I don’t want goats to eat corn out of my hand. I flinch when my daughters offer me a hen to hold. I hawk the grass in the sheep pen aiming to dodge walking on poop, which is not an easy task. This year, I tentatively poked a feather with one finger when Stella held a rooster up to me. There is something about holding the tiny-footed animals that launches me back to 6th grade when I dropped our class pet hamster “Sid.” I tossed him to the ground because he peed on me.
Maybe next year I will push my boundaries. Maybe it’s time to move past my reluctance.
But for this year (and the last four) I am thankful my parents are up to the task of modeling – my dad grew up on a farm outside of Green Bay and my mom harbors no fear.
As for my city girls, they are obsessed with picking up the chickens. I swear they could spend hours running after them, cornering them, and cuddling with them.
Stella proudly held them close like her baby dolls.
They are so head over in the chicken coops that they need to be shooed out during the educational viewing. V was the last one standing, as the group moved onto the goats.
We circled back to spend more time with the roosters and hens. I’m in heaven taking in the scene, both in the coop and out. The owners have thoughtfully placed a wooden bench outside of the coop for moms like me kick back. I get to soak in the heart farm country with miles of fields, looming barns, animal sounds, and the smell of manure while the girls spend more time romping with in the coop.
The girls got to milk a cow – a French cow, in fact.
V’s expression was priceless.
And Stella squeezed the teats like a pro.
After the hour-long tour, the girls got to run free around the farm.
They followed the geese:
Pet the calves:
Saw piglets with their mama, and asked the questions I’m not ready for:
Me, I love how there is room for chilling and picnicking:
And the mesmerizing colors:
Plus, the grounds are pristine:
In fact, you can have your wedding in the hay mow on the farm.
A day on the farm is a beyond great way to spend a summer day.
As a final note, I am thankful there are several of sanitizers stationed throughout the farm. I don’t love love hand sanitizing (super germs!), but after petting animals, well …
We also like The Farm, near Sturgeon Bay. It’s a couple years since we’ve been there, but it’s a picturesque place to hang with farm animals.
This is a shot of V checking out the French hens when she was 5:
My favorite part is that the kids get to give the goats a bottle. It’s one bottle per kid. I did it many times as a child, but I must say that I am completely creeped out by their freaky deaky eyes.
The Farm is also well maintained:
The cows are fenced in, but seriously, those cows stick their tongues out and they are LONG! My brave girl got close and personal as I hid back. I mean, took pictures. If I wasn’t holding a camera to capture the moment, clearly I would have done the same as her. Duh!
The animals are amicable to the kids, e.g. they are used to the poking and prodding.
We’ve been back a week and Veronica is full court press for a dog. Or a rabbit. Or a guinea pig. Or as of yesterday, “Dad says we could have a chicken coop on the deck.”
You don’t say?
Maybe she’d be better off if she listened to her sister. Stella calls city pigeons “chickens,” and runs after them in our neighborhood.
Do you have a favorite farm that you visit?
Ciao for now.
P.S. Here’s a pic of my brother and I at The Farm circa 1980: