Before we had children we had a mental picture of how we would raise our future children. They would be inquisitive, and be shown the world. They would know nature, and be wild. They would eat well, and know their food. They would calmly and quietly fit into our life, and we would live with our children by our side. They would be loved, and feel happy.
It isn't quite as simple as this. Maybe someone tried to tell us, but we didn't hear. Parenting is difficult and it's full-time. So is farming. In many ways the work we do with our children is mirrored on our farm (though we never, ever have let a piglet who's having a nightmare climb into bed with us in the middle of the night, and I very much doubt that we ever will).
As a farming mother (who is pretty tied to this particular piece of the planet that we call our farm) I often wish I could show my kids more of the world- the part that isn't on our farm (or within a couple hour's drive). I wish they were slightly less wild- especially when I'm trying to make phone calls. These kids really know where food comes from, but I wish they were as excited about the first green beans of the season as they are about cookies. I wish they were quieter and calmer- so that I could (once in a while) complete a thought without interruption. I wish a lot of things (loving them all the while- while I slowly go insane).
Sometimes it feels like all we do is take care of animals, and soil microbes, and little people. It's overwhelming and exhausting. Recently we were trying to come up with metaphors for our life. I described the incessant noise, and motion, and care taking, and deal-making as feeling like I'm inside a rock tumbler. My mother thought it seemed like we live in a discotheque, with lots of strobe lights. From inside the discotheque- rock tumbler it feels as though we're doing everything wrong.
BUT...then miracle of miracles: I look back at the pictures I've taken in the last couple of weeks. It happens every time I upload pictures from my camera- I see that our life is exactly how it should be (though VERY loud). Our kids have found an entire universe to explore on our hillside. Our two year old can find and identify a Black Trumpet Mushroom, our seven year old literally swings on vines like Tarzan. They are perfectly wild and know nature like few adults do. They squeal and chant "yummy, yummy, yummy" when we pick up a whole, dead pig from the slaughterhouse (for delivery)- they know where food comes from in a way many adults do not. We are living with our rambunctious, LOUD children by our sides. The calm and quiet part- that's never going to happen, but (as long as we don't have a stroke from over stimulation) they have a lot of interesting things to say. They are loved, and my greatest wish (more than for quiet or calm) is that they know it.
Here are some pictures of our wild children. You can't hear the shrieking and bickering so you'll probably think we're living a quaint, simple life.