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Guest Post: Our Kids with Your Kids

By Rosana Thompson, parent

Owner of Chai Town Tea

Tears streamed down her face as she grieved that “Banana”, the baby goat she helped name, would not be little when they would return the following year to goat camp. Never in my wildest parenting dreams did I see this coming. Both of my little girls had fallen in love with farm animals, an attachment almost as strong as the one I feel for them. During the three days, the girls collected chicken eggs, made deviled eggs and corn bread from fresh ingredients, cooperated with other children from Chicagoland and the Greater Rockford Region, collected data on the nursing mothers and kid goats and scooped up hay and poop willingly!

 

After five seriously urban years living in Chicago, my husband’s job took us out to Rockford. I had already heard about Angelic Organics from neighbors in the city, but now we were going to be living a quick drive up 90 from this place whose work and vision I already admired.  April 2012 “Kids with Kids” spring camp was our first chance to dig in. On the first day, after spot-removing grass, mud, and essence of goat off my children’s clothing, I faced the fact that our car and laundry room would never be the same. But the girls chattered endlessly about sloshing through a stream while on a trail hike, helping the baby goats nurse, and climbing over farm fences to do their chores. Every afternoon, pick-up was absolutely impossible. My 9 and 7 year old daughters were at home in a pile of hay under a heat lamp, with goat droppings on their pants, and a soft, new-to-the-world kid snuggled on their laps....

Their farm experiences at Angelic Organics have translated into something more universal than I expected. Vacations take on new meaning as we find ourselves looking for opportunities to frequent farmer’s markets, visit farms and even stay at a farmhouse B & B.

 

Indelibly memorable, during our pilgrimage to the Holy Land more than anything, the girls wanted to see shepherds and their flocks. Near the ancient city of Jericho, famed as the oldest city in the world, we visited a farm. Birthing season wasn’t far behind them either, and the girls knew exactly how to handle the sweet Middle Eastern kid goats, much to the delight of the Palestinian farmer.

 

I was so proud as the girls confidently handled the animals at a place in the world where water and resources are severely limited and each animal is a treasured possession. Because we were not foreigners to the sights, sounds and smells of the farm, our rural ease served to connect us with the farmer. He explained his hardships, showing us his well which used to provide 40 cubic meters each day but is now down to 5, forcing him to transition his crops from tropical fruit to wheat. The girls were concerned about the condition of the animals and asked questions about why the adult goats were thin and dirty. Since our return, the girls have been looking for ways to help increase access to water in this area of the world, our eldest even writing organizations that do work in their region.

 

As homeschoolers, we have scheduling flexibility, so this past spring, the girls did both weeks of camp and they are already counting down the months to next year’s birthing season. As they get older, we see a passion for the agricultural lifestyle building and we’re so grateful to Angelic Organics Learning Center for providing a safe, fun place where they can develop their interests and skills.