The Little Red Hen: Week #3- June 24, 2020
Our farm is made up of two parcels of land. We commute ( a rough 4 minutes) between these two parcels. On the weekends, it means I drag our 3 children to the main farm operation to do all the watering chores and to feed the pigs.
Usually they complain about this. Well, at the least the 10 year old does. But there’s one time of year that they don’t complain – strawberry season.
Suddenly, coming to the farm with mom to water is not boring, rather an excuse to bring along a bucket and gorge oneself on berries.
We eat seasonally at our home, so having fruit available on the farm is a big, big deal for them. They often eat so many berries they get tummy aches.
Or they get bored of the berries and go pecking for sugar snap peas. When they get bored of the peas, they go hunting the tomato plants in the hoop house for the first sungolds.
Seeing full bellies and berry juice stained faces brings me great joy. While I don’t expect that any of them will want to farm, I do want growing up on the farm to be full of positive memories for our children. So their joy in the seasonal brings me incredible satisfaction as a parent.
Plus, it gets them out of complaining mode while I have to do weekend work… AND they do the work of picking berries for the household for the weekend. So many wins here.
Anyway, the other day the girls loaded back up in the car with their buckets of berries and I asked if I could have one. They all simultaneously said, “No, these are mine!”
I understand that they picked them, but were they really theirs?
I immediately reminded them of the story of the Little Red Hen. All season long she does the work of planting, weeding, harvesting, threshing, and grinding wheat in order to have flour for bread. She asks for help all along the way, but no one ever helps her. But of course, when it comes time to eating the bread, everyone wants a slice.
Can you see the eyes of my 10 year old rolling?
I didn’t stop with a book summary, oh no.
“Wait a minute,” I said.
“Did you fertilize and prep the field for the strawberries?”
No. They simultaneously chimed.
And here’s where you see my ten year old try to roll her eyes even further. She knows what’s coming.
“Did you transplant the strawberry leaders?”
“Did you cultivate the strawberries?”
“Did you weed the strawberries? Did you mulch them in the fall to protect them over the winter? Did you un-mulch them in the spring? Did you weed them again? Did you weed them another time?”
I proved my point. Each child handed their bucket to me and let me take a few of those precious bursts of sugar.
When we got home, I let them label their buckets and keep ownership, with the condition that they share some.
Soon they realized there was no way they could eat all they’d picked before the berries would go bad. Sharing ensued with no more need for red hen reminders. Strawberry mousse made by my 10 year old also ensued.
Who doesn’t love strawberry season?
Cheers and enjoy your veggies!