If there is one thing I pride myself on it is the fact that my kids know agriculture - at least more than most kids their age! My kids have seen cows & sows give birth - both the joy and sorrow of it, they know "what it takes" to make livestock reproduce (although applying it to humans was somewhat beyond their comprehension), they know where their food comes from - both plant and animal, they know first hand the joys and heartbreak of living on a production farm - from not seeing their Dad for days on end during planting and harvest to the heartbreak of no rain to the hard work (physical & mental) each of us puts into our lifestyle. My kids use words like castration, semen, artificial insemination, herbicides, pesticides - they know the difference between conventional tillage & no-till, mold board plowing & chisel plowing, the breeds of cattle and hogs, soil types . . . . . . and just as my heart is swelling with pride I am slammed with the reality that sometimes amidst all the technical things I have tried to teach my kids the basics have escaped me!
Cole started 4th grade last week and when he got off the bus the first day he was excited (OK fine I was excited) with his homework project! Fill a brown paper bag with 5 things that tell us who Cole is! My kids are responsible for their own homework - unless of course it is fun and something I want to
So we start:
1. Combine - although he ended up taking a tractor because "combines are my favorite but I don't want anyone touching and breaking them so I will just take a tractor"!
2. Cow and a pig - "livestock" - "but Mom those are 2 things" I convinced him if we called them livestock together it was really just one thing!
3. Train book - he loves toy trains!
4. A 4-H ribbon
5. A book about the Titanic - he is fascinated by it and loves history so he thought that it represented both!
Off to day 2 and he heads and the second he gets off the bus that afternoon I
Me: "How was school today?"
Me: "How did your get to know me bag go over?"
Cole: "Good - people had lots of questions about the livestock"
Me: "Cool - like what kind of questions?"
Cole: "Well Dillion (whose Dad is a vet!!!) asked if we had ever had swine flu!"
Me: "And so what did you say"
Cole: "Well what do you think I said??? I said 'NO We don't have swine' !!!!!"
My jaw dropped, I did the whole palm to forehead smacking thing, I stared at him in dumbfounded awe and then in a rather high pitched possibly somewhat panicked voice I said:
"ummmm what? Yes we do what do you think all those animals are down at the barns?"
Cole: "HOGS MOM!"
Me: still in a somewhat high pitched voice "They are swine - HOGS ARE SWINE!"
Cole: "I have never heard Dad say 'I am going down to feed the swine!'"
And he walked away - not once offering to pick my jaw up off the floor, not looking back to make sure I was still breathing, not once giving any thought to the fact that he had just given my pride a direct kick - well in the castration area, which he knows all about but not that hogs are swine -