Editor’s Note: Today, Lancaster Farming is launching its latest blog category, Life in the Farm Lane, written from the perspective of a farm wife. special sections editor Charlene Shupp Espenshade and markets editor Jessica Rose Spangler will write the blog.
I enjoy that my two sons, ages 7 and 4, are able to experience farm life like my husband and I did as children. They “help” my husband around the farm, especially my oldest, who was promoted to the afternoon calf feeding crew this year. My husband and I are also learning how to manage the hurdles of recognizing the value of their work around the farm.
Late last fall, our eldest son started complaining about having to go to the barn. Our solution was to change the chore into a “job.” My husband told him if he helps feed calves for five days, he could earn an allowance. What a difference it made.
Suddenly, the next time he missed afternoon calf feeding, my son is begging to get to the farm. Why? “My daddy needs me,” he said. It reminded us that like adults, children want to be valued for their contribution to the farm.
Additionally, it’s been interesting to watch him carefully collect his dollars in his piggy bank. He has his eye on a special toy. His allowance is providing a handy lesson in learning how to save and patience.
Our son has also discovered other perks to spending afternoons at the farm. The first is a set of kittens. Right now, he has been pondering names for the three cats.
On the days my son makes the walk down the farm lane from the bus, it’s a red-letter moment of the day for our cows and heifers on pasture. They “meet” him at the corner of the pasture and will follow him the whole way to the house. Unfortunately, the other week, the herd discovered an open gate and decided it would be fun to walk down the lane. My son thought it was fun. My husband … not so much.
-- Charlene Shupp Espenshade, special sections editor