When I was a kid, I always wanted to live in a big city, like Harriet the Spy, or Eloise. Never mind that I would have made the single worst city dweller in the world at the time, as I was terrified of buses and unable to function in large crowds, but I just assumed that I would naturally adapt, navigating the subways with ease and learning the difference between puddles of rain and human urine.
Instead, I lived in the suburbs with parents who had a secret love of all things farm. Every fall, we would go on farm tours, visiting everywhere from dairy farms (awesome) to chicken farms (deeply gross). Most of these tours involved me doing only two things, over and over again– happily inserting my arm up to the elbow into the mouth of a baby cow, and desperately searching for feral farm cats that I could attempt to persuade my parents to let me smuggle home in my gigantic denim purse.
Farm tours don’t seem to really be a thing anymore– maybe too many baby cows ended up gagging to death on the arms of overeager preteens– but luckily for me, I can still take my girls to the Lake County Farm Park, a working farm about ten minutes from my house.
We went today, and I can tell you, there is almost nothing better in this world than a working farm on a cold Saturday morning in April, for a number of reasons:
- Almost no one was there, allowing me to indulge in my favorite pastime– pretending that I am a celebrity and that venues have been closed to the public for my own amusement
- With little to no crowd, the staff becomes very lax, so you can basically do everything but ride the animals around the farm while screaming “I’M A COWGIRL!”
- All the animals are having babies right now, offering me a plethora of tiny, fluffy animals to manhandle and fantasize about taking home (I nearly lamb-napped this one guy, who kept closing his eyes and lamb-smiling every time I pet him under his chin, until I remembered that eventually he would grow into a gross giant sheep)
The girls are mostly into it because of the free tractor rides and the indoor playground that pops up around this time each year. Addie, in particular, has also developed an intense interest in what is probably the single most boring room on the farm, if not in the entire world– the Grain Room, which tells the harrowing story of the evolution of different grains over time, and also appears to be the employee break room, as it contains a coffee pot and mini-fridge that are decidedly un-grain-related.
But for me, it’s all about the animals. It’s all the best parts of every farm tour I’ve ever taken, only with way fewer chickens. Trust me, there is nothing you want to see at a chicken farm.