auf dem bauernhof

A recent preschool field trip brought my city kids (and by this I mean temperament rather than mere geography) to Spence’s Farm, a family farm in Orange County.  Unlike Maple View Farm (the site of a previous field trip) with its kissing llamas and tasty ice cream, this place is small scale and caters to hands on learning experiences.

First stop:  The garden where the kids dug in the compost and performed the duties of “worm savers” who chucked back worms into the compost bin so that they could further perform their duties.

Next, the kids helped weed out the asparagus patch and fed the chickweed to the overeager and very excitable hens.  While I was appalled by all of the fluttering and chattering of the fowl, the kids were largely unruffled.   Little e. just stood in the middle of it like a poultry loving St. Francis of Assisi wannabe. The highlight of the chicken coop, however, was getting to gather the eggs, a task that all the kids performed with surprising care and delicacy.

On to the heartbreaking but sweet portion of the outing:  the pony rides.  After lavishing care and attention on grooming the horses (far more than my kids have ever expended on their own hair or teeth), my son volunteered to be the first to go on a pony ride.  My son!  The one who watches and then flits away to look at something more interesting.  My son who isn’t one to run up in front of a group.  Still, there he was, perched on top of the pony and demonstrating that he could lean this way and then that way and not fall off.  Carefully, gingerly little w. made it down the lane with the patient teacher right next to him.

Quite predictably, little e. wanted desperately to follow in her big brother’s horseshoes.  Calmly and patiently, she waited her turn until all of the older kids had had a go.  Confidently, she swung her little denim clad leg up and over the pony’s back and perched as well as she could on top.  Without a look back, she was led down the lane, too, and returned with a serious yet triumphant look on her face.

As a person who has been horseback maybe only a handful of times (largely thanks to that horse that tried to roll over to scratch an itch while I was still on its back), I am proud of my kids for so eagerly trying something new and exciting.  I have no desire to hang around, look at, or ride a horse, but I am so glad that my kids are curious enough and brave enough and trusting enough to try something new and stretch their city kid boundaries just a little bit.

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