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The kids get to try making butter in Ellie’s great grandma’s butter churn. Fa ntast ic Fa r m Day Ellie’s mom shows one of the kids how to milk Florence the dairy cow. This station is a big hit! calmer when squeezed. Mom also explains that we brand and ear tag cattle so they don’t get lost. Then she talks about the vaccines that help to keep them healthy. Once that is over, we take the classes around to the scale; there they load into the big blue box with their teacher, and the metal door slams loudly shut. One of our “behind the scene” helpers slips into the scale shack and prints the weight ticket. Then the kids are unloaded and the next class and teacher march into the scale. We print the ticket for them as well and then the guessing begins. Each class gets three guesses to see who can get the closest to their class weight. Last year we had a few changes and different scenarios. For one, we had just fi nished shipping cattle when the busload of kids drove in. In fact, not all the semi-trucks had left yet. Needless to say, there was still a group of men standing around jawboning and drinking coffee in the barn when the bus arrived. When the kids were off the bus the questions and answers began. It was cool because the kids got to talk to “real cowboys”. Mom explained what we had been doing that morning which was an unexpected way to teach more about agriculture. Also, last year, we had a calf that had really bad warts. We had been treating her for at least two months at that point. She had her own pen at the barn and her name was Warty. She was the friendliest calf there ever was by the time she had healed. Well, Dad had been taking off some of the warts, so there was some blood on her, and we had sprayed blue colored antiseptic spray and dumped fl y powder on the warts so she was a multi-colored heifer! We tried not to draw attention to her, but you can’t really keep kids from looking around. Mom explained what we were doing and hurried on. By the way, Warty healed completely and was turned out in late summer. Then the kids went through and collected eggs from the hay and manger in the barn. After that, we drove the 4 x 4 ATV while the kids ran down the long driveway from the barn to our house. At the house we regrouped and all headed to our separate stations. It varies from year to year what animals we have besides cattle. These past two years we have had market lambs, which is my station. There I explain what the lambs are for and try to encourage the kids to raise a lamb when they are older if they have the opportunity. This year we also had honeybees in the base of a big old oak tree and that was my station as well. Some of our friends even brought their 4-H hogs. Every year we have Nancy, the chicken lady, at a station, where she teaches strange and unusual chicken facts. The kids also get to see the chicks they raised all grown up. In the past, we have had a puppy station, a miniature horse station, dairy goats, and a bunny station. The kids, and any parents who tag along, love it and remember it. I get excited just thinking about this year’s Farm Day! It is such a great opportunity to show the side of agriculture that we all know and love. Even though we only have the kids for a few hours, I hope that the impact we have on them plants the positive seeds for the future of agriculture. 16 I WORKING RANCH JUNIOR I SUMMER 2016


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