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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Everybody shovels poop down on the farm

When city kids spend time on a farm, they learn that "cuts, scrapes and stings aren't really a big deal," writes Larissa Phillips on The Free Press. Using real tools to do real work is fun. "And there will always be poop."

Phillips runs an education program she calls  farm camp at her family's 15-acre hobby farm, Honey Hollow Farm, in the Upper Hudson Valley.

Most families come for a week. Children as young as three get a "hands-on class on animal care, life, death, poop," she writes.

"Children like being useful," Phillips writes.

 I teach them how to scrub a water trough, haul hay, muck a stall. They discover that manual labor is enjoyable, especially when you’re taking care of something other than yourself. Parents often tell me later that their children boast about the work they’ve accomplished.

They're not all that fragile. "Countless kids have been stung, bitten, butted or rammed, shocked, pecked, tripped, stepped on, or tossed to the ground by a naughty pony," Some, especially boys, like it. They want to go in the pasture with the aggressive ram and touch the electrified fence.

Competence is very satisfying.

I can understand why parents pay $35 for their child to go to Chik-Fil-A "camp," learning how employees take orders and cook food. It must be fun to see behind the scenes of a favorite restaurant. Franchisees in Houston, Louisiana and a few other locations say slots in the program sell out very quickly.

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Jun 16

"And there will always be poop." A lesson that far transcends the farm; too bad it's not taught in public schools.


Jun 16

We went up to a friend's hobby farm up in the BC interior when I was 15 or 16. Our job was to do the annual goat barn shovel out. Fill a wheelbarrow with manure, wheel it out and dump it. I have never smelled anything so bad. We were holding our breath and running in and out to shovel a few shovelfuls while the friends just stayed in there shoveling and laughing at us.

Also if you dare younger kids to put their bare foot in a cow pattie, encouraging them by putting yours in first, you can usually fool them. You put your heel in, they'll usually shove their whole foot in, getting cow dung all in thei…

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