Thursday, October 2, 2008

Ranch Day, For Preschoolers

Every fall, our delightful ranching neighbors, the Browns, invite the preschool to come over and press apple juice, feed the cows, and generally muck around and have fun at their place. Josie always invites other little kids, like Ella, even though she's not old enough for preschool yet.

Immediately after arrival, we trekked off to an apple tree with buckets to collect fruit for pressing. On the way back, we got sidelined at the chicken coop, where the kids were all fascinated by the fluffy birds (even though many of them have chickens at home!). John and his son ground up the apples and pressed the juice. While they were tightening the press, he sang an old sailor song in his infalliable and beautiful baritone. All children, large and small, enjoyed some fresh-pressed juice.

Next, Josie invited us to view her giant pumpkin, which will be entered in the pumpkin contest, hosted annually by Ian, the prize being a truckload of composted horse manure. Ian has won half the years, I think, but Josie won last year. Personally, I think she's gonna win it again this year. The kids all took turns climbing onto the gigantic orange behemoth, and fought for rights to stand on top. Afterward, we took an expedition through the cornstalks, which were waving wildly in the arriving storm winds. There was a lot of screaming and laughter here.

Next, we congregated for preschool lunch, which amounted to about 7 minutes of the kids sitting still to fill up their reserves, and then we headed out on a hay wagon ride to feed the cows. Talk about exciting, riding in a flat-bed trailer with approximately 15 children under the age of 5! We threw the cows spent corn cobs and flakes of home grown hay. The kids loved it, especially the part where they are requested to call the cows, like John does: "COME ON, cows!!" Well, it's kind of hard to write it, but it's a loud bellow with COME ON, followed by a quieter "cows". They really do come a running, too, including their large, black bull.

Finally, it was time to walk back to the house and prepare for departure. I took a lot of pictures, mainly to send to the preschool, but I've included a few of my favorites. Ella passed out in about two minutes into our car ride home...full morning!

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