Peggy Sanders: Summer is a time for both work and play for farm kids
School is out, summer is well underway and so is the fun. How do farm and ranch kids define fun? Most of the kids I know spend their time in summer at home or at grandma’s.
Especially for the younger ones, their play is their work. I used to have a flowerbed and it’s been turned into a small-scale irrigation project by the grandboys who live nearby. They have short pieces of PVC pipe in various diameters that the boys manage to hook together with various adapters to transport water.
This is in preparation for the work they will do with their dad or granddad, and teaches them the most important lesson to be learned: water runs downhill. Once they get that down pat, they will have the basic truth of irrigation in their minds.
Th 6-year old marked off another small area in the yard, used his John Deere toys to disk it and plant it to corn and alfalfa, then put a fence around it using decorative flower garden wrought iron sections. He cut many strips of smooth wire and more or less wove them together to make his gates. He has to be able to get in and out to farm the land, you know.
One morning he arrived and found a bunny rabbit in his corn patch. Welcome to critters in the field.
The boy wasn’t interested in simply watering his fields with a garden hose, so he first found an old, clean gas can that he used to dribble water. Realizing that it would not be an adequate amount of water, he rigged up clear rubber tubing into which he lets water flow from the hose. He then directs the tubing to the field he wants to water, reinforcingonce again, that water runs downhill.
They have bikes at their house and at grandma’s for when they want a change in their activities. There are rockets to build and launch, birdhouses to construct, swimming lessons to take and 4-H lambs to break, and along with their older sister, they will learn to show the lambs. The three kiddos are always on call to help their granddad or dad with age-appropriate duties. One or more of them might be in the shop fetching wrenches or other tools as the guys work on an implement.
The older ones might help with moving machinery from field-to-field, by driving a pickup or four-wheeler. Even with the many pivot irrigation system,s there is still gated PVC pipe to transport to some fields; the older kids are able to drive the pickup pulling a pipe trailer in the field while the pipe is off-loaded by their dad and granddad.
At home they feed chickens, gather eggs, feed the dog and cats and watch for health problems with all animals.
Growing up on a farm, these youngsters have learned that animals depend upon their owners to feed and care for them.
Summer fun teaches lessons of responsibility and life. ❖