Some days in Spring are especially busy for the farm and today was one of them. Crazy busy.
There were melons to plant, tomatoes to trellis, slicing onions to dry. There were weeds to pull (nothing new about that.) And then, of course, the harvesting for this week’s share, which is a nice balance of the last of the winter crops and the first of the summer crops.
And then there were the kids. One hundred and two, to be exact. And I”m not talking baby goats. No, these were well-behaved, exuberant third graders from Elgin ISD who arrived at nine this morning for a field trip.
Erin is constantly hosting field trips at the city farm and most of them she can manage alone or with the help of Carolyn and one or two other farm educators. But today was different. Even before the dew had dried, three yellow buses pulled up to the barn and enough kids spilled out to encircle the entire barnyard several times.
Erin is our general and soon all seven of us foot soldiers for good food are at our stations, ready to spend the next two hours giving these kids a real farm experience. For the farmer, who so often spends hours alone in the field, it is exciting and exhausting at the same time — all these questions thrown at you, ones you haven’t thought about in years.
Some you can answer without thinking: what is organic, where does a potato come from, how old is Spot (our 800-pound boar)?
And then come the one’s that give you pause. What is that pink thing on the back of Spot? Why does the rabbit have red eyes. How do the goats make babies.? How do vegetables get their names? Do worms eat plastic?
Humor goes a long way on days like this. And sometimes the kids run with our games. Our daughter Alex was in charge of the chicken and rabbit station. Pointing at the round rabbit droppings beneath the cage, she explain that we don’t call it poop. “
“We call it bunny berries,” she explained.
“Oh,” asks one astute third grader. “Can we eat them?”
“Yeah,” another chimes in. “It looks like Coco Puffs.”
Ah, life on the farm. Never a dull moment.