Tuesday morning, around 10:00am, our rooster announced that a very large vehicle had pulled in and about 25 people were lining up along our driveway. It is not often that we have so many visitors at one time, but this week was special. All year, we have been writing to two fourth grade classrooms from a neighboring town through the NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association) Penpal Program, and this was the week that we finally met one another. One class visited on Tuesday and the other came on Thursday.
In our letters to the students, we have taught them about the animals we raise here on our farm and the different activities we are involved in. They, in turn, would write back to us with many questions and stories about their own lives. Sometimes they would include drawings of our farm in their letters. Our exchange of information dove tailed their studies of early Vermont history and the “sheep fever” that swept the state in the 1800’s.
Though it was a rainy day, enthusiasm remained high as we visited with all of our animals. The children knew many of them by name and wanted to meet each of them. The sheep seemed to know who the children were as they readily came to the fence line to greet them. After a tour of the farm, we headed into the barn to learn about wool and how we process it into yarn. Each student enjoyed trying out the hand cards and drum carder. Before loading back onto the bus, my daughter, Emily, taught them how to spin their own yarn using a CD drop spindle.
The children waved good-bye and called out to the animals as the bus rolled out of our driveway to take them back to school. What a great experience to share with these young children… a connection was made, information exchanged, and a new perspective gained.