It takes planning to get our grandsons, Ethan (11) and Seth (8) to the farm for a visit. They are so busy, even in the summer.
Last week we had everything scheduled. First we had to wind all our calendars around soccer practice and tournaments. Of course, soccer isn't their whole summer. The boys also have summer school and camp and vacation, so dates with Grandma and Grandpa have to be woven in between.
Finally, they had a date with me at Grandparent's University. The boys and I joined other generational family groups at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Our major was Natural History and Ecology: Animals on the Wild Side.
The class was perfect for us, both educational and entertaining. One of the highlights of the class was that each of us held an Eastern Hognose snake. She (Boss) was gentle, beautiful, and patient with all the handling she received.
Later, Aunt Rebecca asked her nephews what they liked most at the university. Seth had his answer first. "We had lunch and dinner and we could choose what we wanted to eat, even ice cream."
Seth did come up with more ideas of things he liked. The odd thing is this kid isn't a big eater. His mother is always begging him to finish his food - okay, she never has to ask him to finish his ice cream.
The boys did spend some time with Grandma and Grandpa on the farm, too.
While I was washing up after breakfast, Grandpa Bob got out the cart and took the boys for a ride. They headed toward our woods where in the evening we usually see deer, turkey, and sandhill cranes. At this time of day, the area is usually pretty quiet.
It took a good 45 minutes before they returned. Bob had taken it slow in hopes of not frightening any possible animals. He said our noisy grandsons were almost quiet for once.
They had binoculars out to enhance their view and saw one deer, a couple sandhills, a hawk, butterflies, grasshoppers, and other assorted wildlife.
After the ride, the air rifle came out of the closet. The boys set up target cans, and proceeded to put little holes in them.
When I joined the crew, Seth was ready for another project. I handed him the hose and showed him where to water - I shouldn't have shown him how to hold his thumb over the end of the hose so he could spray farther. As I was taken care of a little weeding, Seth had some issues with the hose and I got sprayed. Lucky for me I only got a glancing shower.
After watering the flowers and vegetables, Seth had another question. "Grandma, can we let the chickens out?"
I usually wait until the hens are finished laying, but for Seth I said, "Sure. Go open the door."
Seth isn't shy when it comes to chickens, not even when they are in a rush to get free. This time the chickens weren't in a hurry, which disappointed Seth. He likes the action.
Three hens were still setting, so Seth couldn't gather eggs yet. To kill time we went to see what Grandpa and Ethan were up to - nothing much, as it turned out.
Later, we heard cackling and Seth went running back to the chicken coop. I swear he grabbed those freshly laid eggs seconds after the hens were finished laying them. One was odd shaped and he had to go show Grandpa.
Our grandson wanted to take the four eggs he harvested and wash them, so I took him into the kitchen. "You can put them into the sink," I began to explain how I cleaned the eggs.
"Oops," said Seth and one of the eggs hit the sink and cracked. "It's got a dent in it, Grandma."
"That's okay. We can give it to the dogs for an extra treat today."
A moment later, "Oops." This time he had knocked two eggs together, but only one cracked.
Grandpa Bob was amazed. "He cracked two of the four eggs he brought in? Good thing he doesn't live next door or we'd never have enough eggs for breakfast."
No use getting upset over cracked eggs is my motto. I had a dozen packed up and ready to go home with Seth and Ethan. When they are helping their mother cook they can crack a few more eggs, too, hopefully into bowls where they belong.
Both boys sure have enthusiasm. When it got too hot to play outside, we came into the kitchen and I brought out my tablet computer. My idea was to play Angry Birds, instead the boys played Chess, and they did that with enthusiasm, too.
Just like brothers they argued some and challenged each other and laughed a lot. Reminded me when Rob and Russ were kids, poke, poke, POKING each other.
I'm writing this the day before Farm Technology Days opens. It's an exciting time and I can't wait to see everyone. My fingers are crossed for great weather.
Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; Sunnybook@aol.com; www.susanmanzke.net;