Farm boys will be farm boys

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“Childhood friendship is the most beautiful memory that can never be replaced.”

— Anonymous

This summer, the most confining of our lifetime, I have had fun traveling about 10,000 miles with a 3-year-old without ever leaving the property.

“Look, Gigi,” he said to me last night with great excitement when he got to stay up late. “There is Orion’s belt!”

The sky was a perfect stargazing sight overhead as we enjoyed a campfire with just a few of our favorite people. In this lovely season, I have had such fun watching my favorite 3-year-old plant far too many cornfields to count, working soybean fields that go on forever and gather hay with his tiny front-end loader for a wide variety of animals after the grass has been mowed.

One day, Brooks seemed deep in thought after lining up all of his farm toys at the end of a busy day.

“Did you get all your farming done today, buddy?” I asked.

He sighed deeply. “I think I lost all my energy right now,” he said. “I think I worked too hard. There’s something I need really bad.” I raised my eyebrows and bravely inquired what that might be.

“Well, what I really need is some hay wagons. And a baler that would help me with the hay. I’ve been needing that for a realllllllly long time,” Brooks said as his eyes met mine, speaking with the sincerity of a sage old farmer.

This is a boy who knows how to make the most of a big lawn, and has found a great sidekick in my nephew’s little boy, Case, who will be 3 soon.

One day after riding our pony, then swimming in the backyard, the two energetic little boys got busy moving dirt and sand with every old tractor available.

“This is our job site. And we need to move this dirt and get it really flat,” I heard in the initial plan. Their construction project gave the adults some time to catch up, and the sun seemed to be shining just for us on that perfect summer afternoon.

Horse play

Even the old Breyer horses from my daughter’s childhood came out to play, after Brooks said he needed some animals to clean up the hay. “Case, after the horses eat, we can plant soybeans!” Brooks said, and his sidekick cousin shouted his agreement with happy enthusiasm.

The adults insisted on apple juice and water breaks from time to time, and it appeared we were dramatically setting the big project back. “We are gonna have to build some fence, then. We can’t just leave the horses out here in the field!” Brooks said with conviction.

When cookies were mentioned, it turned out those horses could come up to the porch corral and everything was just as they had planned it.

An old bowl served as a stock tank for the horses, and two little boys leaned against the porch railing for their break, cookies and juice in hand, talking about all they had accomplished in one day.

Days like this one, for me, are better than a vacation. No delays, no detours, just smooth sailing filled with lots of laughter, making memories that will last a lifetime.

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.

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