We’ve just come in from watching the fields around my home/childcare being cut/mowed/harvested by the dairy farmer that lives up the street. This is an event that the children love to watch year in and year out. As they age it’s interesting how the questions change and what they remember from year to year.
Sitting in our yard and watching the tractors cut, collect and then dump the green feed (fodder) into the waiting farm dump truck, I’m thinking how lucky are we. How many children get the chance to watch something like this and learn about dairy farming first hand? We are developing an understanding of where the milk we drink for our health comes from. The children here know that there’s grass, cows, farmers, and then the grocery store.
Just as much fun are the big red tractors and when the farmer blows the dump truck horn when we wave hi.
(8/24/2010) Finally the Tractors………..
We are surrounded by dairy fields that get hayed multiple times each summer, which the kids here really enjoy watching. This summer we have missed each haying – weekends and vacation week, until today. Now all the kids enjoy watching, but for C it seems more important. He has always shown a strong interest in the tractors and the work they are doing. When C heard the tractor in the side field this afternoon, out the door he went. Now he wasn’t alone, but he was the leader on this. They watched until the field was done.
I love the fact that our home is surrounded by dairy fields for many reasons. I love my job because it allows me to be flexible and creative, while using my education. Yesterday was one of those days when both of these loves combined. It was sunny and the TRACTORS arrived! Now we often have really great days where we spend the full day outside, but the tractors only cut the fields twice a season and each time they come it’s total excitement.
For the majority of the children here now this is a new experience, so the excitement was increased. Think how neat it would be to be young and be able to get really up close to check out all the parts, and the size of those tires! One of the treats is the farmers waving back to us. Throw in a change of lunch plans and you get to have a picnic, another favorite of children.
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(In labeling the machines I am not always sure of the correct term – but realize at this point that is not the most important thing. What is important is a machine works. That is what these young children remember – the job and how it works. We can learn the correct terms later.)
To help answer the question about what else a tractor does I read Farming by Gail Gibbons. I was able to point out that tractors have only one job and that is to pull the tools or machines the farmer needs to work in the field. The tractor doesn’t mow the grass, or plow up the dirt – the tool is pulls does that. The tractor just pulls.
Another question arose around a comment that the milk comes out of a cows butt. We were talking about how the grass grows, gets cut and chopped up into little pieces for the cows to be able to chew it up and turn it into milk. So that meant grass became milk and comes out the butt. No. It comes from udders. Udders? Farming also has a great illustration of a cow being milked and information that cows need to be milked morning and night every day.
The tractors will be around for a couple of days, so we’ll continue to do some simple lessons about farms and farm animals now. The really fun lesson will be when the poop truck comes and spreads fresh manure over the fields 🙂