Around the Farm – Well, Well, Here We Are

Posted: April 21, 2020

I’ve gotta say, the last time I thought about Corona was back in my college bars when we thought we were drinking “fancy” beer.

And now, here we are with everyone, and I mean everyone feeling the disruptive and life changing effects the pandemic COVID-19 has brought to our lives.

As I write this we are on day 16 (I think!) of rooting down on the farm.

Let’s just say I’ve had to be pretty darn creative to embrace the changes over the last 16 days, with at least a few more weeks to go!

For starters, our kids are now e-learning from home. For our high school aged kids it’s not a huge burden for me. They can pretty much handle the lessons themselves and they like to hole up in their rooms anyway.

But for our kindergarten and preschool kiddos, that’s another story all together. To give you a little background – which may explain it ALL, in college I declared myself an elementary education major. It took less than six weeks into my coursework for me to realize how much I didn’t want to be a school teacher.

And here I am, teaching at home until April 30th – or longer. At the rate we’re going I think we should wrap up kindergarten lessons by harvest.

I know I’m not the only mama in this boat. So many of us are working to juggle our careers while stepping over a household of kids who seem to be hungry and wanting snacks all the time.

Zoom, the video teleconference service has become a mainstay for me and millions of other working parents. I led a national conference breakout session this week from my dining room.

I joked with the participants that I had never had that many people at my dining room table at one time. And someone needed a snack midway through. But you know, everyone in attendance understood because we’re all in the same place, figuratively.

But with all these things that are going wrong, we’ve gotta find something that’s going right!

Here’s what’s been working for our family. I’m no homeschool expert (see explanation above) but I know we can’t sit in a classroom setting all day at home.

We’ve been doing TONS of scavenger hunts, both indoors and outdoors. They’ve been a great way to talk about shapes, colors, math, and even spelling. I’m pretty proud of my (I mean their) progress on this activity.

If my kids had their pick, they’d sit and watch YouTube videos all day. What is it, exactly, about watching other kids play with their toys while my own children sit in our living room and watch? I just don’t get it.

Hands-on activities seem like the way to go, and we’ve mostly removed ourselves from the television.

Instead, we’ve been doing a ton of baking, playing with playdough and lots of puppet shows. We even video called my mom as she walked us through how to bake bread from scratch.

The kids have been helping Ryan with extra farm chores, too. Our calves came today and they helped prep the barn for our slightly larger herd. As we head into planting I’m sure they’ll have a bigger role and participate more than in previous years.

As for me, I have to say what I’m learning through this experience is that I have to carve out a little time for myself to energize and recharge. Everyone has told me that you can’t pour from an empty cup but I have felt that in the past weeks more than ever!

Both good and bad, these are memories we won’t likely forget.

At least, with the sun shining today, I feel a little more certain that everything will be okay, eventually. It’s just going to take some time. For all of you, I’m thinking of you from here on our farm. I hope the next time I check in will be from the other side of this. Stay safe and healthy!

DEANNE FRIEDERS – WATERMAN FARM WOMAN, MOM, AND COOK


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