Growing up on The Freckled Farm – Benefits of Raising Children on a Farm

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First… I am sorry for the lack of posts last week. We had a really terrible cold run through this house. It hit Little B and me the hardest. Of course Big B, with his immune system of steel, simply got the sniffles. When your sick, with sick kids, it pretty much takes all of your energy just to get through the day, but I did give a lot of thought to what today’s installment of “Growing up the Freckled Farm” would be, and it became very clear after the weekend that we have had… The benefits of raising children on a farm.

Benefits of raising children on a farm

My mother-in-law came into town this weekend to watch the kids while my husband and I finished the goat fencing and prepared for the goats to move in next weekend. Nothing makes you realize how different your life is in the country than to have someone from the city come and visit for a while. Things that you just take for granted as just a part of life is likely completely foreign to them.

Friday evening after dinner we were all sitting in the den settling down for the evening. I was on the couch looking through a goat supplies catalog, trying to figure out what we would need to purchase over the next year. The discussion of the farm costs came up and my mother-in-law voiced concerns about vet bills. I explained that over the next few years that we would learn to do most of the minor vet procedures ourselves, like drawing blood for tests, deworming and vaccinations. There were also a few topics that came up while looking through the catalog that obviously, and rightfully so, made my mother-in-law uncomfortable, like castration and artificial insemination. I know the necessity of these things on a farm, and they don’t really bother me, but for someone who hasn’t been exposed to it, it’s a lot to take in. Then the conversation of all the skills that “country children” learn during their childhood came up. They are exposed to such a different world and leave home with a completely different set of skills than children who grow up in the suburbs or city.

Before they are teenagers our children will know how to care for animals from infancy, through pregnancy, and into old age. They will administer minor vet procedures, and care for animals when they are sick. They will learn how diet and nutrition affects their production, and they will be responsible to help maintain a balanced diet for the animals on the farm. They will witness life coming into this world, as well as leaving. They will milk our goats, and learn to create products like cheese, butter, and soaps. They will grow their own food from seed, and have to figure out how to balance soil PH in order to ensure the best crop. They will need to figure out how to preserve crops, so we are able to benefit from them long after the season is over. They will understand problem solving, responsibility and patience in a very different way. All of these skills can be translated into life outside the farm in some way. There is so much to learn and experience and the greatest part of all of this is that my husband and I will be experiencing it right along with them.

Already our children, at 3 years old and 7 months old, have experienced something very special. Something most children have no exposure to… They have watch the building of this farm. Big B aided in the construction of the chicken coop, then watch the chickens grow from day old chicks, he watch as the barn and fencing was constructed, he visited many farms, and has already gotten to milk a goat. I see the pride and excitement in his face as he talks about our progress on the farm and it often hits me how this must look like through the eyes of a three year old, it’s huge for me, even as an adult.

I hope all of this gives my children a better appreciation for life, for the food they eat, and for hard work. I want them to leave this farm with skills. Maybe they wont choose to be farmers, or vets, but they will understand hard work and can translate many of the skills learned on the farm into life outside of the farm. The benefits of raising children on a farm are truly endless.


10 comments on “Growing up on The Freckled Farm – Benefits of Raising Children on a Farm

  1. Wonderful post, we, much like you love on small farm and care for many of the same animals, as well as homeschool. My children have learned so many skills already that I know will benefit them in the future.

  2. I SO want to move to a farm. As a city girl I worry if I will still be happy 3 years or even 2 after moving… but we are SO tempted! How do you get away? We love our annual vacatoin (think Disney) and my hubby says it’s either farm or Disney because who would care for the animals. What do you guys do?
    Beth

    • Beth,

      He’s right. It is very hard to get away when you have a farm, but it’s not impossible. We went on a week long beach vacation this summer. It’s all about building a community of people that you trust to care for your animals and property while you are gone. We are lucky to have a friend down the street who owns both chickens and goats. We pay her to care for everything when we are gone. She did an amazing job while we were gone this summer, although we didn’t have goats then… but I am sure we would have the same experience with her caring for the goats. If you move to the country make an effort to get to know your neighbors and the other farmers in the area. Depending on what type of animals you have you can also plan vacations during the time when there is less to take care of on your farm. That way you don’t have to expect as much from your “property sitter” You don’t have to give up vacations all together. It may be difficult to just pick up and leave for weekend trips but an annual planned vacation is very possible (just factor in the additional cost to pay someone to come to your farm multiple times a day).

      I grew up in the suburbs and spent a long time living in the city. I always wanted to move to a farm but like you I worried that it would grow old quickly. So, we rented a house in the country while we looked for our farm, in order to see if we could stand being so far away from everything. The country really changes you. I love it out here. I can’t imagine living anywhere else now. I watch my children experience such amazing adventures, it’s quiet, we have space, and I love having all of these animals. It’s such an exciting way to live

      Farm living isn’t easy. It’s a lot of work but for us every bit of it is worth it. I am sure with planning you guys can make it work! I wish you the best!

    • Susanne on said:

      We are “helping” my parents farm right now and are having the same thoughts… having a “life” outside the farm OR farming. The thing about farm life is- you develop family and resources with your neighbours. We have hired our neighbours before to feed critters while we were gone, we have gotten a teenage farm girl to housesit while we were gone… there are options- though they need a LOT of planning to work. I wouldn’t let yearly vacations stop you from your dream… I bet the kids will remember their first year of calving or kidding or foaling long after their memories of Disneyland have faded. :)

  3. Amber @And On This Farm on said:

    Such a wonderful post! I ran across a pin on Pinterest that lead me here and I’m so happy I did, you have a new follower! My husband and I are dairy farmers and love all the wonderful and “real” opportunities to learn this lifestyle gives our daughter.

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