Her smile widened as she shoved weeds through the holes in the chain link. Little giggles filled the air as the goats took the greens from her and chomped appreciatively.
Our neighbor is getting married this weekend and some of her guests came over last night after arriving from southern California. The smallest guest is probably seven years old, her long red hair perfectly in place with a headband, smartly dressed, with little freckles on her smiling face. She stood mesmerized by the farm animals wandering our back yard.
We had just come home from a long farmers market and were lounging on the lawn chairs slightly hidden by the lilac bush. Anti-social at the moment as we were so very exhausted. After a bit though, my passion for sharing this lifestyle with others, especially children, got the better of me and I wandered over to her with a baby chicken.
“Would you like to see one of our chicks?” I asked her. Her eyes lit up as she ran her petite hands over the soft plume of feathers. I introduced her to the goats and called them by name. She laughed at Isabelle standing off by herself yelling towards the back door. She was summoning Doug to come milk her.
The little girl’s parents each took a turn coming over and talking to me, ever watchful of their young charge. Doug came out with the milk bucket and the little girl got excited. We invited her over to watch Doug milk. We had the dad just lift her over the fence. She followed me, practically dancing, petting chickens along the way. As we approached the garage, the dad looked worried and in about twenty seconds appeared at the garage door. We taught the little girl how to milk and we all laughed out loud each time the milk went flying in a different direction from her tiny fingers. I then offered her a glass of chocolate milk from the kitchen.
“We’ll wait out here,” declared her dad.
“Suit yourself, but we have eight cats in here!” I could tell the little girl wanted to come in but was content watching the ducklings until I returned. She gulped down the chocolate milk, tried to pet the ducks, and decided she might become a farmer.
The two went back to their party. When I went out to close up the chickens at dusk, she was still at the fence feeding the goats strands of weeds through the chain link, a million miles from home.