No one appreciates summer on the farm as much as children


“Summertime and the living is easy” seems to only apply to the kids in the family.

For kids, it is the best time of all, though the realization of this will not dawn in time to appreciate it fully in the moment.

My sister recently shared stories of her grandkids; Oliver, Johnny and Autumn have a hard time going in the house when spring warms toward summer.

Wanted to stay

When my nephew, Todd, brought the kids for a quick visit recently, Oliver wanted to get the farm toys out and stay awhile.

“No, not today, Oliver. We don’t have time,” his dad said.

Oliver looked out over our farm and said, “Well, I could stay here and help with the farmin’ and you could take these two home.”

One thing 5-year-old Oliver felt definitely needed doing was some work on the brand new barn.

“I’m mad. Those darn birds are poopin’ on your new roof! I gotta get a hose up there and get that,” the little boy said with great sincerity.

The slick new concrete inside makes a perfect playground for trikes, bikes and pedal tractors. It would be great to be a kid for a day.

Looking back

Just like these three little ones, the great outdoors offered much more fun than the indoors when we were kids. We could spend hours at the farm pond, swimming until we were blissfully exhausted in the summer.

That pond was the greatest gift our parents ever gave us. I learned to swim and fell in love with the pure freedom that swimming and diving provides.

There were strict rules against swimming without an adult, and I remember bugging my sisters to go every single day.

The chill of the spring-fed pond didn’t stop us. The best way to acclimate to the cold water was to jump off the diving board.

Long before the pond was dug, my favorite book was about a girl taking swim lessons.

Getting excited

As a preschooler, I once jumped in to my uncle’s pond before waiting to get a life jacket on, and nearly drowned.

Even that didn’t scare me from a lifetime of loving the water.

A year or two later, just like the girl in the Golden book, I was officially a guppy at the YMCA. I still recall that enormous indoor pool, the sharp scent of chlorine, and it felt other-worldly to me, like I’d gone straight to heaven.

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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, and three grandchildren.



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