We had the most wonderfully amazing blazing hot time at an organic goat farm, the magical Magnolia Farms. Eleanor (homeschool mom, nursing student, working mom extraordinaire), her two Allie and Kimberly, me and my two, went down for a night of fire and sticky fun camping out in a tee-pee followed by a "Mommy and Me" farm tour. Need I say how fabulous it was? The children collected kindling, and Eleanor built a rip-roaring fire to roast our gourmet sausages and then later, our 'smores. After a day of swimming and sunblock, camping and bug repellent, and 'smores galore, we were hot, sweaty and sticky. Off we trooped to the water haus, the most precious outside showers I have been in, truly. Lit by mulit-colored mini Christmas lights, under oaks dripping with Spanish moss, a moon-lit sky, the night was magical. Only one shower was lit up, so there we were, two mamas, two big girls and two littles, all soapy and slick in the twinkling lights, cooling off and giggling madly, in love with the life exactly at that moment.
Darlene, one of the farmers/farm owners, gave us the grand tour. There were turkeys galore, chickens, roosters, peacocks, and some other kind of fowl, I can't remember...all free range, pecking at the earth, laying eggs, stretching and preening, clucking and chasing us all around. I guess it is primarily a goat farm, but also a CSA (community supported agriculture), supplying Jacksonville and surrounding areas with local organic sometimes "exotic" produce. While we were touring the garden part of the farm, we had an introduction into bugs and their place on an organic farm. The bugs that eat the plants and flowers and vegetables, bad bugs! And the bugs that eat the bugs that eat the plants and flowers and vegetables, good bugs! And then the children went into the sunflower patch to choose flowers for the mama bouquets and Darlene would look over the flower and see a bug and say, well, that's an assassin bug, and he's a good bug, he eats other bugs, so we're going to leave his home here. Let's find another flower. It was awesome. Total homeschool fun. Now Magdalena and Augustus have a whole host of bugs to add to their "good bug" reverie, not just bumble bees and honey bees and butterflies, but assassin bugs and lady bugs and spiders also.
Eleanor, presented with her "Mommy and Me" bouquet, picked by Allie and Kimberly
oh, the glory of goats!
This had to be the highlight of the entire shin-dig. Yes, we did get to make our own butterfly shaped goat-milk soap, yes we slept in a tee-pee, yes we had sticky sweet delicious roasted-marshmallow-barely-melted-hershey's-chocolate-on-graham-crackers 'smores, yes we had a magical midnight shower under the trees, but there is nothing like seeing a child pick up a baby goat, with such care and love, so full of wonder. They ran and romped and petted and played with the goats. They talked to the goats and saw the baby goats' umbilical cords and the mama goats nummies. It was incredible. I was just trying to keep the goats from eating my pants. Literally.
Augustus would hold out his little arms, ready to try to hold a goat, and then run away, giggling. The whole thing was just too much for him, he just laughed and laughed. He did manage to pet a baby goat, just for a minute, while Eleanor cradled the kid. (goat, that is)
Here is sweet sweet Kimberly, giving it her best try, and the goat would just squirm right down to the ground.
And here, of course, is Allie, the goat whisperer. No fear, just love and play and catching goats and holding them like she was born doing it.
All in a late spring, although it felt like summer, day's work.