An Afternoon On the Farm!

15 Oct

It wasn’t hard to say, “Of course!” when my husband’s cousin asked if I’d be able to arrange a visit to some animals when she and her husband and two boys were coming to town the next weekend.

“Cows or pigs or chickens,” she said. “The boys would love to see any of them.”

The farm girl with her kitty...and the city boy plugging his nose at the smell.  By the time we were done he had long since ceased to notice the smell - which, I must add, was NOT AT ALL bad!

The farm girl with her kitty…and the city boy plugging his nose at the smell. By the time we were done he had long since ceased to notice the smell – which, I must add, was NOT AT ALL bad!

Well, when visiting in Southwest Minnesota, any of those are pretty easy to arrange. Without a moment’s hesitation, the first person I thought of was my friend, Rita.

Rita did not grow up in SW MN, but her husband, Joe, did and, in fact, I taught his younger sister way back when she was in high school. I didn’t teach him – I’m not THAT old. :-)

I got to know Rita when I joined the local MOPS group – Mothers of Preschoolers. Sadly, I don’t have a preschooler any longer, but thankfully I’m still in touch with Rita. My life would definitely be a lonelier place without her in it.

I love the tongue!

I love the tongue!

Rita began blogging in February of this past year. Her blog, So She Married a Farmer, is a great picture of rural farming life in this day and age. Rita knew what she was getting into when she married her farmer – she grew up on a farm and majored in something cow-related at the University of Minnesota – in fact, that’s how she met Joe.

Rita loves the heifers that they keep on their farm. And when I say “loves them”, I mean really, really cares about them. She cares about them as animals, and she cares about their product – both their babies and their milk. She is a great advocate for the dairy industry.

The neighbor's sheep.

The neighbor’s sheep.

Rita and Joe get the heifers when they’re first-time pregnant moms. They keep them at their farm until they’re almost ready to give birth. (They receive them just shortly after they are identified as pregnant.) Then when they’re ready to give birth they go elsewhere and then when they’re ready to be regular dairy cows they go over to Joe and his dad’s dairy farm. It’s a complicated business, but Rita and Joe know it inside and out.

We spent a wonderful couple of hours at Rita and Joe’s farm, accompanied by their smiley daughter. THANK YOU, Rita, for our lovely afternoon on the farm!!

I asked Rita if I could include this photo - this is Joe on the farm visiting the cows in the rain.  It's too wet to combine today, so the cows get a little more attention.

I asked Rita if I could include this photo – this is Joe on the farm visiting the cows in the rain. It’s too wet to combine today, so the cows get a little more attention.

The pink stripes indicate that she's newly pregnant.  Glad I didn't have to go through that when I was expecting!

The pink stripes indicate that she’s newly pregnant. Glad I didn’t have to go through that when I was expecting!

These chickens actually reside at the farm across the road.  We visited over there, too!

These chickens actually reside at the farm across the road. We visited over there, too!

He so badly wanted to gather the eggs.

He so badly wanted to gather the eggs.

I had forgotten that a stump can be so much fun.

I had forgotten that a stump can be so much fun.

As a youngest child, I can relate to wanting to do what my older sibling is doing!

As a youngest child, I can relate to wanting to do what my older sibling is doing!

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We ended our day out at a local pumpkin patch.

We ended our day out at a local pumpkin patch.

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"The Swan."

“The Swan.”

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20 Responses to “An Afternoon On the Farm!”

  1. Gwen Stephens October 15, 2013 at 7:11 am #

    I love this! I think you’ve just inspired a post for me to write. We visited my brother and his family in southern Ohio over the summer, and they took us to a county fair with animals and such. We are hard core Chicagoans, city slickers through and through, so it was wild watching my kids interact with nature to this degree (they found it revolting, just as their mom was). We’d never had more appreciation for our beloved concrete jungle. *sigh*

    • Gretchen O'Donnell October 15, 2013 at 10:33 am #

      Yay! Inspiration is always good! I am constantly intrigued by how our childhood truly affects the rest of our lives. I don’t think you can ever get away from it.

  2. Minnesota Prairie Roots October 15, 2013 at 7:27 am #

    Gretchen, you are making me lonesome for the farm with this post. Even though Faribault is surrounded by farms, I can’t think of a single friend who lives on an actual working farm. Yes, country acreages, but not farms.

    Looks like you all had a fun afternoon.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell October 15, 2013 at 10:35 am #

      Oh, my, do I know farmers around here! But we, of course, fit into the “country acreages” category. When we first moved out to the country a lot of friends asked us if we’d have horses or whatever. But no. I’m not cut out for that. Cats are enough! We’ll content ourselves with visiting friends!

  3. gardenfreshtomatoes October 15, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    Can’t think of a better way for kids (or grownups!) to spend the day! Looks like you guys had a better pumpkin season than we did this year – our Pick Your Own fields are pretty sparse…

    • Gretchen O'Donnell October 15, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

      That’s too bad about the pumpkins! Yes, we seem to have had a fine year. I LOVE pumpkin fields. I can never pick the best one; I want to take them all. I need to grow my own again. But yes, visiting a farm is a wonderful way to spend a day. Now everyone is in the middle of harvest – or they will if and when the rain stops!

  4. cravesadventure October 15, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    Great Captures of the Farm – loved the tour and that Swan squash is pretty cool too!!!

  5. Jackie October 15, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    I think all kids ought to have a farm experience, looks like you had a fun day! We grew up going to grandma’s farm, so many good memories!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell October 15, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

      Yes, the quintessential farm experience is a must! We’re lucky around here – the kids understand where their food comes from! There are times that we understand it a little TOO well – like when the fields are sprayed with manure – but it’s all part of country living in SW MN!!

  6. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen October 16, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    I can’t think of a more entertaining day than one spent on the farm.. kids love a farm and all the animals! You’re so fortunate to still have a connection with Rita, those relationships we make when are kids are young are so special!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell October 16, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

      Yes, the connection to the farm is so valuable. And those animals are wonderful! :-) I think that the boys had a great time – now they can return to the city and tell their friends about the stinky cows!

  7. Hotly Spiced October 17, 2013 at 1:01 am #

    I love the look of this farm and the land is so flat! Don’t children just love being on a farm! Their system of moving the cows around sure does sound like a lot of work. I’ve never seen a pumpkin patch like that – we don’t grow that variety of pumpkin here in Oz so we’ve never done that Halloween thing of turning them into lanterns! xx

    • Gretchen O'Donnell October 17, 2013 at 9:10 am #

      Yes, we’re pretty flat around here. The high-point of Iowa is about four miles from our house. We do have some hills right where we live in Minnesota but not huge ones. And yes, I’m sure that it is a huge job to move those cows around – but it must make the most sense for them to do it that way. I can’t imagine not having pumpkins!! And not carving jack-o-lanterns! I will have to post photos of ours this year!

  8. whatimeant2say October 17, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

    Your pictures are always so amazing! I wonder how long a “newly pregnant” cow must wear the pink stripes. When is one considered “oldly pregnant”?

    • Gretchen O'Donnell October 17, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

      LOL! I do know that Rita said that the pinkness wears off pretty quickly. It’s just on there long enough for them over at the inseminating place to keep the newly preggers cows identified so they can be shipped out quickly. That was a very poorly constructed sentence, but hopefully it made sense! Personally I would call being “oldly pregnant” at about 5 months – when I looked merely fat and not necessarily pregnant. That got old quickly. Of course, with my 2nd and 3rd children that wasn’t an issue so much. Then I looked fat at about week two.

      • whatimeant2say October 17, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

        That’s funny! I agree that 5 months is definitely the cutoff date!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. On Caring – Its up to US | Lessons and Moments of Life - Don Carnagey~Lanier - October 15, 2013

    […] An Afternoon On the Farm! (afinedayforanepiphany.wordpress.com) […]

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