Wanted: Farm People

by Jennifer on July 5, 2008

My friend W told me yesterday that the children of another friend are spending a few weeks at their grandparents’ farm in upstate New York. They visit every year in the summer and, from all reports, have the time of their lives.

Their mother delivers them to the farm and spends a few days there, then returns two or three weeks later to bring them home. They help take care of the animals, run free, and probably get spoiled plenty by their grandma.

I was ridiculously jealous. I need some farm people. (It’s not a requirement that they be related to me. Actually, I would prefer it if they weren’t. But they could call you (Farm) Grandma/Aunt/Uncle, if you want. Oh, and I would pay.)

My kids would love it. Well, after they had spewed their “But there are bugs outside!” speech. Yes, they have one. I assume Farm Grandma or Farm Aunt or Farm Uncle would nip that nonsense in the bud the first day or so. And if the Farm People followed my wishes, my kids would be mucking stalls (enjoying that, kiddos?) and hanging out in the hay loft quicker than a swish of a horse’s tail.

Boy and Girl come from a long farming heritage on their paternal grandmother’s side of the family. And there are some Farm Relatives in Kansas, also on that side of the family, but they’ve never sent so much as a Christmas card let alone a wide open invitation to sissy up their farm. Guess they don’t know that I used to race, terrified traipse fearlessly across the pasture that bordered our place growing up, because it was a half mile shorter than walking on the road to my housecleaning job each week. (The bulls are scary bastards, and they look at you all sideways. Don’t make fun. I did it, didn’t I?)

It’s possible that I love the idea of my kids on a farm more than they would enjoy the actual experience of it. But I doubt it. Boy would climb the first tree that looked manageable and he would want to know how the farm machinery worked. Girl would make a beeline for the barn cats, allergies be damned. If all went as I imagine it, one of them would come home with a bruised thigh where he/she got a stern but relatively harmless kick from a horse (lesson learned), and the other would be all wide-eyed and bursting because he/she got to name the calf that they both “watched get born!” Add to that an inevitable glimpse of some bovine hanky-panky out in the pasture (“Are they playing leap frog, Farm Aunt?” Yes, yes they are. Actually, no.) and I can check that birds and the bees talk off my list.

They would boast about getting to steer the tractor, or plant radishes, or ride horses. Maybe they would learn how to shuck corn and snap green beans as well as Ma Ingalls. And they’d come home all freckled and with arms and cheeks the color of a lightly toasted marshmallow, and with the taste of homemade ice cream lingering fresh in their mouths.

I realize that my version of the story is very Bobbsey Twins In the Country, though there’s every chance it could turn out more like Kid Nation, if the Farm People turned out not to be so nice. But I guarantee you that if I told Boy and Girl tomorrow morning that they were going to a farm for a couple of weeks, they would turn themselves inside out with excitement.

I’m taking volunteers.

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Akelamalu July 5, 2008 at 2:30 am

Sorry I don’t have a farm, just wish I did. If you get a volunteer farm please pass on the address to me. My kids are all grown up but I have 5 grandchildren. 🙂

sturdy girl July 5, 2008 at 4:02 am

Forget bake sales and selling off all worldly possessions!! I think Farm People now have a NEW way to keep the bank from foreclosing on the farm!

I know many many people who would sell their kids into white slavery – I mean, who would love to send their children to the country for a few weeks each summer. Perhaps they’d like to adopt them out during the school year too – a kind of downhome foreign exchange program.

I predict a Craigslist add would spark a lot of interest. Even though my kids are adults, I do think they would benefit from some hard work and clean living. (besides I’d just laugh my ass off everytime I thought of them cleaning the barn.)

sturdy girls last blog post..Destination Nowhere

Attila the Mom July 5, 2008 at 4:17 am

At this point, even a roll of duct tape and a comfortable closet is looking mighty fine….

Attila the Moms last blog post..How to Mess Up a Nice Pair of Jammie Pants

Hilary July 5, 2008 at 5:11 am

As a child, I thought that no vacation could be better than the one you just described. In fact I’d still love to do that. So if you find a place where you could send your kids for a few weeks, could you just adopt me, please?

Wonderful post, Jennifer.

Hilarys last blog post..Sum Sum Summertime

Madge July 5, 2008 at 5:45 am

sorry. no farm here. but if you would like to send them on a wii vacation ya’ll can come on over to my house. the four kids can lose their minds on video games and tv and we’ll sit on the deck with our feet in the kiddie pool drinking drinks with umbrellas in them.

Madges last blog post..Thanks, I Needed That!!

Melissa Lee July 5, 2008 at 5:57 am

Jennifer, you have such a great blog. But don’t get your hopes up about those “Farm People.” I’ve spent the last two weeks with ’em and they ain’t all theyz cracked up to be…know what I’m saying?

However, maybe your friend had it right in that she DROPPED THEM OFF and then came back to get them.

Stupid, stupid, me.

Thanks for stopping by on my special SITS day. I loved having you.

Melissa at Stretch Marks

HRH July 5, 2008 at 6:32 am

When you find the rent-a-farm-people, let me know because I am sending my kids too.

HRHs last blog post..This is how we see it…

suburbancorrespondent July 5, 2008 at 8:37 am

This Farm People idea? I think it’s right up there with mrs g’s Women’s Colony.

suburbancorrespondents last blog post..May The Funniest Post Win…

D / Momma July 5, 2008 at 8:38 am

You know, someone with a farm could make a lot of money by turning it into a summer camp. They would get help from the kids and the kids would have amazing stories to tell. I’m surprised someone hasn’t thought of it already.

Peace – D

D / Mommas last blog post..I Ask You…Do We Look ‘Granola’?

McSwain July 5, 2008 at 8:44 am

Wow, I was going to volunteer my kid to go with yours, but it looks like the multitudes beat me to it.

I’m thinking I see a money-making “farm camp” opportunity here.

McSwains last blog post..

Jenn @ Juggling Life July 5, 2008 at 8:51 am

I think you’re onto something–I know my kids would have gone–and it would surely be cheaper than a week of water polo camp in Canada!

Jenn @ Juggling Lifes last blog post..Overheard

Jennifer Harvey July 5, 2008 at 9:52 am

Akelamalu–The minute I get a good lead, I’ll send it!

Sturdy Girl–Seriously, right? Farm Aid for a new generation. Someone get Willie Nelson on the phone.

Attila the Mom–And I’m not even all that picky about which one of us ends up in the closet. Can you say nap?

Hilary–Thank you. 🙂 And I was totally thinking of adopting you anyway, mostly because Canadians are cooler than Americans.

Madge–You realize how great that sounds, don’t you? You should open a Wii Camp for Wee Ones.

Melissa Lee–Yeah, I think the dropping off is what makes the whole plan come together. I’m already imagining where I would go for those two weeks.

HRH–Had a feeling you would be all over this idea!

Suburbancorrespondent–Now you’re flattering me. Maybe, though, we could get a jump on Women’s Colony now that we’d have a place to send the kids.

D–I’m going to do some Googling to see if this sort of thing is out there. Like, right now.

McSwain–Maybe we can get a group discount?

Jenn–I think the key is to send them before they hear about super cool things like water polo camp in Canada.

Daryl July 5, 2008 at 10:01 am

This would be the one where I am like the kids: eww there are bugs here ..

The BFFs w/a house in the ‘country’ (Connecticut) know I will only come visit during bug-free months .. which excludes summer and spring …

But I did like the Bobbsey Twins’ adventures .. and HoneyBunch’s as well .. oh and Trixie Belden’s too even The Boxcar Children had rural adventures .. but for real .. no thanks, I will keep my farm adventures confined to fiction

Daryls last blog post..It’s beautification™ day

Milena July 5, 2008 at 12:07 pm

My friend Alejandra used to own the most beautiful farm. In Maryland. 30 plus acres with goats, and three mares, 1 stallion, 2 cats, 3 dogs and other animal friends. I’m the most citified girl on the planet but I loved going to her home. She’s now selling it and has moved to Los Angeles, where her husband works for the Los Angeles Times. They’ve bought a new farm, about one hour outside of Lost Angeles. It will take a while for them to finish renovations on the house but I don’t why I’m sure she would love this idea. I’ve known her for 13 years and she is one of the most wonderful people I know. If you truly meant it, I’ll mention this concept to her and if there is any interest.

Loved the post… no change on that front.

Suzanne July 5, 2008 at 1:09 pm

I think summer camp should be mandatory for wellbeing of parents and their little darlings. Everyone gets a well deserved break, kids get to enjoy the adventure of being somewhere new, learning something new, and developing a sense of independence; parents get a rest and perhaps a new appreciation of their spouse in a private setting, and after two weeks, everyone comes back together rested, refreshed and feeling closer than ever……..Can you tell that I’ve never been married or had kids????/

Kellan July 5, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Cute post – “I need some farm people” – HA!

I hope you had a good 4th and are having a good weekend – Kellan

Kellans last blog post..A Polka Dotted Fourth Of July!

flutter July 5, 2008 at 3:28 pm

I would SO steal them if I had a farm

flutters last blog post..inspiration board 7-5

Louise July 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Just send TONS of bug spray. But don’t forget. Living in the desert, we always forget about it. No matter where we go, they always have more bugs that we do, and we never have bug spray. We just got back from the land of GIANT MOSQUITOS, and I must say that even though I grew up with such creatures, I was a big wimp (after being covered with them) and have developed some sort of mosquito-phobia that has nothing to do with West Nile Virus, but just being covered in a thousand big insecty creatures. Anyway, send the bug spray!

But the rest is perfect. My kids would love it. My dad has a farm of sorts, though there is no animal care going on there. My kids LOVE the wide open space and can’t believe that all that space is OK to play in. Maybe they wouldn’t love the work at first, but it would be good for them. They would learn a sense of accomplishment that they just can’t get from cleaning their rooms and finishing their homework.

It really is a good “save the farm” idea. But my guess is that it would take a different temperament than a lot of people have. I know I couldn’t handle it!

Louises last blog post..“I Like the Horse Part of the Parade”

melissa July 5, 2008 at 6:17 pm

A friend and I just had this conversation the other day. My dad spent a month every summer with his cousins on a family farm. Sigh. My sons would love that, but they have to settle for visiting our neighbor’s cows;)
You have the share the bug speech with us. Seriously.

melissas last blog post..Flashback Friday

David McMahon July 5, 2008 at 7:23 pm

I’m putting out the word. Lots of friendly Aussies will apply this week!

Maybe Thomas Hardy would have called it Farm From The Madding Crowd …

David McMahons last blog post..Verse And Worse

Shashikiran July 5, 2008 at 7:48 pm

We invite you to our farm (a small coffee plantation, really) in India. Would the girl like wild elephant? Some have come into a neighboring plantation!


(It would be terrific to see our place in your prose.)

Nap Warden July 5, 2008 at 8:27 pm

OK, my Mom lives on a farm and raises about 35 head of Miniature Horses. She’d be thrilled to have someone come take care of the place for a week!

Nap Wardens last blog post..Run Report

Minnesota Matron July 5, 2008 at 9:22 pm

I get it. We’re currently staying with some friends who do research at Lake Itasca. Their kids run wild up here all summer. I want ours to spend ten hours outside, in the woods, water, swamps. Wow.

Jennifer Harvey July 5, 2008 at 10:46 pm

Daryl–I have to say, I would visit Connecticut during any month. (But that’s because I was pulled out of the state before I was ready!) I’m not a fan of bugs, either. You should have seen the bigass spider I had to kill in my kitchen last night.

Milena–Your friend and her farm sound wonderful. But taking on my kids and their bug phobia is a lot! Still, I would entertain all possibilities. You’re lovely, you know?

Ron–That bull attack liability insurance has brought down more than one farm. I’m impressed by the country boy credentials.

Suzanne–So you’re saying that the parents have to go to summer camp, too? You’re a funny, funny girl!

Kellan–Farm people, or maybe cowboys? 😉

Flutter–I’ll know where to look, then. After they’ve been gone for a week or two, that is.

Louise–I always forget about the mosquitoes, since we don’t see them here much. Bug spray. Bug spray. Bug spray. Got it. I can just see your girls running all over your dad’s property. I think my kids would feel more confident if they knew they could do that sort of work, even if they hated it, too.

Melissa–My kids would be into visiting a neighbor’s cows! I’ll have to find an email I wrote to a friend with the speech/argument against going outside.

David–I’m completely on board with international farm people. But with the long flight, they’d better stay for at least a month. It’s only practical. (Okay, I’d miss them.)

Shashikiran–I think my girl would be astonished and delighted at the sight of an elephant. It’s a lovely invitation, and thank you. In the meantime, I will have to settle for your beautiful prose and photographs.

Nap Warden–I can’t promise they would take care of the place. Unless by “take care of” you mean “create havoc and let all the animals out of their pens.” You might want to warn her of that possibility!

Matron–I know, wouldn’t that be great? (And you could retreat to the comfort of indoors or the very tame out-of-doors. It’s a win-win.

MICHAEK MANNING July 5, 2008 at 11:58 pm

Hi Jennifer! How ironic that I just watched Steve McQueen in “The Reiver’s”! That was a lot of “Farm” and fun! Then you touched off a memory of “The Bobsy Twins at the Seashore”. I made fun of them in grade school (but never read the book). I was a KID! I still remember! Thanks!

Mrs. Chili July 6, 2008 at 4:12 am

Sorry – I don’t live on a farm, but I DO live in a fairly rural area. No stalls to muck, but plenty of yard to mow…

Mrs. Chilis last blog post..Supporting (or is it ’supported’?) the Arts

Daryl July 6, 2008 at 9:31 am

Sunday silliness .. you have been tagged: ‘pthththth’.

Come over to my blog and get the rules ..

Daryls last blog post..

natalie July 6, 2008 at 10:31 am

my grandparents had a farm, and i am so glad! i have great memories of that place. certain sounds and smells can take me back in an instant…sigh.

i gave you an award on my blog today. you can go there to see it.

natalies last blog post..Not an Espy, not an Emmy, not an Oscar…

The Lil Bee July 6, 2008 at 2:05 pm

If you find some farm people, do you think I could tag along as your cousin? Or maybe a foreign exchange student that doesn’t speak all that much, but enjoys apple cider and ice cream and is quite handy with a bucket or a hoe?!

ByJane July 6, 2008 at 2:15 pm

My parents heard that same siren call. We spent some family vacations on farms in New England. And, yes, there was a calf born who was called Jane–a lovely spotted thing, as I recall.

ByJanes last blog post..Ocean’s Thirteen

Lisa July 6, 2008 at 2:44 pm

I do have quite a few friends with small farms out here if they can brave the Texas heat 🙂
(I must admit I am truly jealous of one friend–she has this gorgeous property with angus cattle, goats, chicks and a whole organic garden–sigh)

Lisas last blog post..Sunday Story–Is it two pounds per one dollar or two dollars per pound?

Kimberly July 6, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Thanks for stopping by my blog!
This post is great! I love the idea…hmmm…I know some ranch people, down in the Southwest! I don’t know how well it would compare to farm people though. There are a lot of farms in KY though…I’m sure there has to be someone willing! 🙂

Kimberlys last blog post..A million thanks!

Sandy (Momisodes) July 6, 2008 at 7:17 pm

Seriously, I’d love to send my daughter too. “Farm-camp” would be awesome! 🙂

Sandy (Momisodes)s last blog post..WW- A Week of First’s

Elaine July 7, 2008 at 7:42 am

I just thought of some “farm people” my kids could go stay with – thanks for the idea! Although it probably won’t happen for a while, since they are kind of young to be sent away yet. Darnnit! What a great post!

Elaines last blog post..Best Shot Monday, Etc.

Tootsie Farklepants July 7, 2008 at 10:32 am

I don’t have farm people but I do have mountain/lake/rural people. We just got back from visiting and am now wishing I’d left a kid or three up there.

Tootsie Farklepantss last blog post..Little Known Facts About Independence Day (Like How to Spell Independence)

the mama bird diaries July 7, 2008 at 11:37 am

When i was young, we lived on a farm and i loved it… we had little ducklings that followed me everywhere.

I feel like my kids need more time to waddle around in the country too.

the mama bird diariess last blog post..jersey girl

Rhea July 7, 2008 at 1:01 pm

I watched Kid Nation with my boys, and they enjoyed it. I want Farm People too. I grew up on a ranch, and I really wish my family still had it so we could visit. Let me know when you figure out how to get some of these. :o)

Rheas last blog post..Letting it go to your Head.

Crazycath July 7, 2008 at 1:36 pm

If you get over this side of the pond, then I’ll take you to the farm. It isn’t a true working farm, but is really a stables with loads of land to explore, make dens, bike rides, loads of ponies and horses, of course horse rides, mucking out, mucking in, cats, peacocks and a variety of fun!

It’s my friend’s home so I can leave the madness and enjoy the fun. The only downside as far as your request is concerned is that we are looking at day trips here. Not leaving them for a couple of weeks. I tried that.Mine wouldn’t stay. ;0)

Crazycaths last blog post..Odd Shots Monday

Sandi McBride July 8, 2008 at 5:10 pm

I don’t guess this is a farm, but it’s close…our farm animals are cats and they are hard to herd…there’s a prize in it for the best cat herder…I don’t guess they’d fancy that tho, either lol! Loved this post
David sent me

Sandi McBrides last blog post..The Contrariness of Being

Just Jamie July 8, 2008 at 9:40 pm

You almost made ME want to go be on a farm. Almost.

Just Jamies last blog post..A Plea To De-Lurk My Friend

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