Today it occurred to me that we might really be turning into farmers. This morning I went out to do the morning chores and discovered many chickens outside the chicken tractor. About half of the chickens had found their way to freedom and were scattered around the yard. I sent Rob back inside to wake up the children and send them outside to help me with the chickens. I continued feeding and watering animals and then went to investigate the chicken escape. By the time I got there three of the four kids and my mother were dealing with the chickens and had it well in hand. S10 was keeping the chickens out of the soybeans. Mom, K15 and M7 were lifting the edge of the chicken tractor and herding the chickens back under the edge. I was so impressed with their ingenuity and success.
The behavior of the chickens made an impression on all of us. They were so quick to move into freedom but once they'd escaped their cage the chickens hung close to the edges of the cage. Even the most adventurous chickens were within 20 feet of the tractor. Once we started to round them up only one or two resisted the pull of their fellow chickens and tried to stay free. As a mother, I'm sure I'll be able to draw lessons from this experience later. At breakfast this morning it was just fun to hear the kids talking about the chickens and their success in rounding them up and returning them to safety.
How does this experience prove that we might be turning into farmers? First of all, none of us panicked or felt overwhelmed by the task at hand. Even though the kids went from sleeping to herding chickens they knew they had the skills to handle the job. They didn't complain or whine. They got the job done.
Second, we were able to work together. We supported each other and got the job done. No one blamed anyone else for the escape of the chickens. No one argued over what needed to be done or who should do it they just worked to fix the problem.
Third, while we started the day with a crisis that event did not define our day. We returned the chickens to their pen, fixed the break in the tractor and moved on. Our day began with chickens but it continued on to waffles, reading, conversations and more chores. The chickens were just one thing that happened today, they didn't make or break it.
I suppose each experience we have on the farm builds our knowledge and skill bringing us one step closer to being farmers.