All this activity that we take for granted is a natural wonder to our city relatives, especially the children. My husband's niece reminded me about when she and her cousins were small they each used to spend a week with us in the summer. Our son had a different playmate each week for most of the summer, and his cousins got a taste of country life, because I put them to work doing chores. That's what made the wonderful memories for this niece. She wanted her children to experience a taste of that. So one day this week four generations, my husband's mother, his sister, her daughter and two children came for the day. My husband grilled brats and hot dogs to go along with the dessert which cuts like cake and reminds me of ice cream with a crumb topping.
We ate lunch right away so the tour began as soon as possible. My husband is in charge of tours. I take pictures. We're raising six turkeys this year so they were a new sight. also new was the birth of eight chicks in the hay loft which was a total surprise, but one that we have learned to expect each summer. There is always a hen or two that outsmarts my husband with a well concealed hiding place. We set 3 hens in the spring and they hatched 20 chicks which we thought was enough for the season. My husband gave all the chicks to one hen. At the time the temperature was cool day and night. Most days were rainy. Mother hen had to worry about fluffing her feathers out enough to cover so many babies. As the offspring grew covering them became impossible so some of the babies roosted on the hen's back for warmth. What was more vexing to the hen was the chicks began to wander away from her to explore on their own. She clucked sharply, but that didn't work. They ignored her so she'd wind up running after them to gather the chicks back into her brood, forcing the remaining chicks to keep up. Since the chicken room is in the barn loft, we hear the loud tromping overhead and all those tiny fee sound like a heard of elephants.
The children and their mother made a quick trip to the rabbit room. Nothing very exciting there. A black and white buck and doe sat at the back of the cages. One white doe hid in her nesting box, and no babies yet to report this summer. Since the rabbits are my husband's project I don't ask for an explanation. You see all of the above had been my domain for many years while my husband worked. He took over what we call chores several years ago. Though I still do the vet work, the rest of the time I stay away from the barn as much as possible. I tell him I'm retired.
The doe goats are very friendly this year as long as the kids stayed on the outside of the pen. They came to smell hands extended through the gate in case the children had something good to eat and remained long enough to be petted. Once in awhile, they took a nibble of a shirt sleeve. In another pen, the smaller buck goats circled around out of reach except for one. When he's called he still holds out hopes of getting a bottle. Most of the time I consider him a pest when he's under foot like a dog or pressing his head against my leg to get my attention but this once, I was glad he came for the children.
Last was the tour of the garden and flowers which was given for Harold's 92 years old mother's benefit. She has always been a lover of all plants. She still has a large garden and appreciates the efforts that goes into a well weeded and productive garden. Now our fall crop of veggies, radishes, lettuce spinach and peas can be seen in the rows hidden among the spring crops that are producing so well. Harold's mother has made it her goal through life to try to get as many different varieties of flowers as she can, and from my inexperienced viewpoint, I'd say she succeeded. I know I can always go to her for advice on flower plant care so it always fun for me to show her my efforts.
That was the last of the tour as far as the grownups were concerned. We were ready for a break, but the children kept exploring. They knew where everything was at by now.