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Children on the Farm

Every year we correspond with two fourth grade classrooms at a local school. Throughout the year, we exchange letters, teaching the children about the animals and activities on our farm. The children write letters back to us, sharing stories of their lives, pets, and dreams.
Dear Goodling Family,
I am 10 years old. I have a barn with cows one cat in the hay shed, seven chickens in a coop at the back of the barn and one chicken outside the coop. It is my brothers and my job to take care of the animals. I like taking care of the animals but I don’t like the smell of the pen in the barn.

School Bus Arrives
Dear Goodling Family,
I am 10 years old. I live in Vermont. I have a sister that lives with me. I have a dog named Dawn. I can’t wait until we go on the field trip to your farm.

Dear Goodling Family,
Learning About the Sheep
My favorite baseball team is the Redsox. My favorite color is green. This is what I like about your farm. I think it is cool that you have an angora rabbit. I think it is weird that a group of sheep is called a flock because a group of birds is called a flock. It is cool that a girl sheep is called a ewe. …. That is what is cool about your farm.

A couple of weeks ago, the children rode the school bus out to the farm. Thirty-seven fourth graders unloaded from the bus, along with about 6 adults. The children divided into three different groups that all went in different directions, exploring the farm. One group went into the barn where our son, Luke, talked with them about animal husbandry. We had brought two of our ewes and one lamb into the barn so the children could get up close to them while Luke talked about shearing, parasite control, and basic care. The second group learned about the properties of wool as they made pieces of felt in the fiber studio. They laid out wisps of colorful wool filling the inside of a zip lock baggie. After adding some soap and warm water, they worked the wool between their hands, creating a piece of felt for them to take home. 

Felting Projects

Felt Drying on the Stone Wall

The last group of children went on a tour of the farm, visiting the pigs, learning about how they are used to help clear new pasture areas. They saw our meat birds and learned about the importance of using a “chicken tractor” so the chickens can rotate through the pasture, adding important nutrients to the soil. Lastly, they hiked through the woods on the hill behind the house, learning about the resident fox and maple sugaring. Their hike ended at our “grand view” overlooking the Green Mountains, and had the thrill of running down the hill through the tall grass back to the barn. 

Lunch was enjoyed under the shade of a maple tree behind the house. After eating, the children enjoyed rolling down the bank. Before loading back onto the school bus, the children all gathered to ask final questions about our farm and say farewell. 

Eating Lunch
Rolling Down the Hill