5 THINGS EVERY FARM KID DOES

I’d like to say that growing up on a farm was a pretty great experience, but then again, I guess I have nothing to compare it to! One thing is for sure, though- farm kids have some childhood experiences that our friends from the city don’t.

  1. You get to ride along in the “buddy seat” of the tractor, combine… whatever dad is driving that day, really.
    combine ride
  2. If you’re REALLY lucky, dad lets you move from the buddy seat into the driver’s seat! In fact, most of us learn how to drive farm machinery before we learn how to drive a car.
    lil driver
  3. If you ever made the mistake of telling your parents you were bored on summer vacation, you were quickly assigned the job of walking corn/soybeans. You’re supposed to pick up rocks that could damage the farm equipment and/or pick weeds… but you’re mostly just doing it because your parents were tired of hearing you complain.
    trace
  4. Naps in the barn with your favorite animals.
    barn nap
  5. One of the coolest things about being a farm kid: Eating a meal that is 100% home-grown!
    plate

Rosie PhotoRosie Sanderson
ICGA/ICMB Membership Administrative Assistant

SPRING IN THE CITY VS COUNTRY

Are you ready to trade in those boots that carried you across icy sidewalks for a pair of flip flops? Or are you ready to unhook the snow plow from your tractor and hook up a planter?  Where we live says a lot about who we are. If you travel city sidewalks, the first probably sounds pretty good. If you live on a farm, the second sounds more appropriate. We each have our own way of getting ready for spring, and our own springtime activities that have us itching for a day that makes it to 75 degrees. So, what IS the difference between spring in the city versus the country?

How do you prepare for spring? Spring cleaning probably comes to mind. The windows are open, and the feather duster comes out. Drawers and closets are organized, and the yard work begins. Everything smells fresh and new. However, if you take a highway out of town, the smell of Febreeze turns into plowed dirt and cut hay. There you will find the farmer getting ready for spring. Tractors are pulled out of the shed, the oil is changed, and things are swept out. A farmer has his/her own way of cleaning for spring.

cleaningvsoilchange

When spring is finally here, what do you see? In the city, yards are groomed and tulips have bloomed. There is a blur of red, green, yellow, and pink as you drive past city blocks. Head back to the country, and you will see rows and rows and rows of green. The planting is done and the corn is up in perfect rows waiting on the next drop of rain.

tulipsvscorn

Of course, we can’t talk about spring without mentioning Easter! Kids get all dressed up in frilly dresses or the perfect tie. They get their baskets out, and race past the others at the city’s egg hunt to grab the most eggs. In the country, folks do a little more than hunt eggs. They also hunt sheds. Each year, the whitetail deer sheds his antlers. They drop off scattered throughout the woods in late winter/early spring. When the snow is gone and springtime hits, people walk the woods searching for the antlers. They use their finds to judge the size of the deer in the area, and also turn them into the rustic home decor you see on Pinterest. The deer then grow the antler back, a bit bigger each year. Their rack is fully grown and hardened by fall.

eggvsantler

What do you do in the spring for fun? Baseball and softball teams start practice, and families spend their evenings at the city ball field with popcorn in one hand and a coke in the other. Ball uniforms are clean and ready to see what the new season brings. In the country, people are waiting for the seasonal spring flood so they can go bow fishing. Creeks flood into fields and giant grass carp make their way into the shallow water to eat the green from the field. People can then wade out to the fish, and shoot into the water with a bow and a special reel that attaches fishing line to the arrow. If the arrow makes it through the fish, it can then be reeled in by the attachment that is on the bow.

baseballvbowfishing

While different people living in different places may have their own ways of getting into spring mode, one thing is for sure. It doesn’t matter where you are from, we are all ready for spring!

ChelseaCurtenChelsea Curten
Southern Illinois University Student
The Urban Adventures of a Country Girl

FARM ANIMALS NOT JUST LIVESTOCK

queenie and roxGrowing up on a farm was one of the best gifts that I have ever received.  With it came with great responsibility at a young age. There were several animals to take care of, all of which my brother and I tried our best to do so all by ourselves. We had dogs, several cats, rabbits, pigs, and cattle. Now, not everyone would think that farm animals would be considered as pets; however, to me they were some of my favorite pets. I always enjoyed the cats and dogs to play with and have companionship with, but I liked the livestock the best.

KK sheepUniversity of Illinois student, Kiersten Kasey, also wanted to share her experience of growing up on a farm.  She says, “I was raised on a sheep, cattle and grain farm and I am thankful for that. I have exhibited at livestock shows across the nation and planted seed test plots around the Midwest with my father and sister. From an early age, we were incorporated into the family farm and started going to livestock shows at infancy. I stepped into the sheep show ring with my parents when I was two and have been a part of the showing circuit since then. Having livestock, and other pets including my border collie, Nellie, and barn cats have taught me responsibility and many life lessons. It was not until I was 9 years old selling my first weather, ‘Jason’, that I realized my livestock were not necessarily pets and that they were providing products to people. However, I still treat them with the same care I would my pets because I am proud of the animals we raise.”

show pigAnother University of Illinois student, Liz Harfst, also has her experiences to share of growing up on a farm.  She states, “Growing up on a farm, I developed a deep passion for animals at a young age, especially for my pigs. I especially loved the mother pigs. As a child, I made sure each of them had a name and EVERYONE knew it. As a farm kid, I quickly learned to appreciate the circle of life, and that we couldn’t keep ALL of our pigs, but to care for the ones that we had at the moment. I wouldn’t trade my experience as a farm kid for anything!”

Many farmers treat their animals with great care, which is the equivalence to how people would treat their pets. Here were just a few personal examples to how farmers view their animals. In the below picture, one can see how much this man cares about his calf, carrying it in during a blizzard.

blizzard calf

cattle, show, fair, illinois farm girlNaomi Cooper
University of Illinois Student