Sunday, July 6, 2008

Farm Camp, Day Five...Saying Goodbye

The last day of camp is bittersweet. The parents are invited to come out at 3:30, so the campers can demonstrate what they've been working on all week. We got there extra-early, so I could take pictures (duh). I'm pretty sure that Linda, the camp director, privately refers to me as the Farm Camp Paparazzo.

When we arrived, Bug and Bear were wrangling their calves into halters and trying to get them to stand up in order to groom them. The calves were pretty sleepy in the hot midafternoon sun, and Bear's especially preferred to sink back down onto the ground to snooze instead of standing patiently. Bug's succumbed to being brushed, but balked when she tried to lead it out of the calf pen.

Bear's calf has a sweet habit of nuzzling her face when Bear lays her cheek against the calf's. You can tell there's a mutual fondness.

All the campers demonstrated for us how to walk their animals by a lead, how to turn them, and make them stop. Some were definitely more cooperative than others. As Linda pointed out, it's important to teach the cows this skill when they're young rather than when you're trying to lead a solid ton of heifer across the barnyard.

After the demo, the kids took a private moment to say goodbye to their animals. They've really built up quite a relationship over the week.

Bear had a hard time saying goodbye to Astro, just like she did with Sierra last year. "I can't belive she'll be a big cow the next time I see her," she told me with teary eyes. Then she asked me if I was sure we couldn't get a cow. Yup, pretty sure!

Refreshments included a salad, picked from the garden and prepared by the campers with a yummy parmesan vinaigrette. Mmm...

Linda also taught them to bake Irish Soda Bread with raisins, prepared with yogurt the campers made themselves! It was AMAZING. Especially when spread with the homemade butter that the campers shook from the cow's cream while we watched. If you're interested, here's the bread recipe. I plan to make a batch later this week, since all four of us loved it.
And so, another summer of Farm Camp ends. This is really one of the coolest experiences my kids have ever had, and will give them memories to last a lifetime. How many kids of their generation get to participate in life on a working farm?


#1quiltinggrandma said...

Saying goodbye is always so sad, but the smiles on their faces show how much they loved being on the farm. Yes, we agree with you, that is a wonderful experience they will cherish for ever. Think of the new friends they have made away from school. That is equally important to enjoy people of of their small group. So many wonderful people in the world to meet and learn from.

Jenn, you are a wonderful writer and photographer. Your writing makes one feel like they were right there with the girls enjoying their experences.while being so far away. Not knowing anything about blogs before you started yours, we never dreamed how much enjoyment we would get viewing it every day.

Tom asks me every day when he gets home from the office, is there a new blog posting. When I say no he says, "oh!" Thank you so much for keeping us up to date on the girls experiences and adventures of their daily life, as well as you and Daddy Shortbread:-)

Nana said...

We've been wondering what to get the girls for Chistmas this year. Now we know. I can't think of anything that would please let more than having their own calf. You have plenty of yard space for the calves to graze. Daddy Shortbread can turn the little shed out back into a mini barn...the more I think about it, the more I realize that everything is falling into place nicely. Just remember to pack lightly when you come for Christmas, because you'll have two calves to take back to Maine with you. Thank goodness you have two extra seatbelts! Shhh. Please don't drop any hints to the girls - I want them to be totally surprised Christmas morning.

jenn said...

And I think Dad might like THREE MORE CATS for Christmas. Whaddya think of that, Nana?

Nana said...