There were seven kids here yesterday, aged almost 12 to 2, running about like little feral children raised by wolves. Some of them amused themselves by chasing the sheep until I told them that from now on, all sheep chasers would be required to don heavy winter jackets, hats, and gloves so that they would know how the sheep felt having to run around in their wool jackets in the summer heat. Surprisingly, there were no takers.
I know, I’m a party pooper.
They watched a duck egg hatch right in front of them. They threw some old eggs against trees that I gave them for that purpose.
Then the kids discovered the (currently) unused rusty hay ring and noted its resemblance to a hamster wheel. For those of you who do not know what a hay ring is, it looks similar to this one here, only ours is not all pretty and shiny and painted. They turned it on end, and with kids pushing on one side and pulling on the other, kid or kids took turns riding up one side, hanging from the middle, and climbing down the other as it rolled. Six-year-old Dylan was especially athletic, pulling himself from bar to bar 8 feet in the air while the ring was rolling as calmly as if he were traversing the monkey bars on the playground.
Naturally, my thoughts immediately turned to broken legs and arms. I was tempted to put a stop to this at once before somebody got killed, but they were having so much fun. “Maybe that’s what’s wrong with us today”, I thought. “Maybe we, as adults, are obsessed with taking the risks and danger out of too many things for children, which, after all, is part of the fun.” I remembered my childhood of climbing high in trees and swinging from vines while doing the Tarzan yell. The vines usually held almost long enough for us to safely reach the ground. We counted that as a success.
Well, the kids were all strong and compassionate (in the sense that they wouldn’t purposely do anything mean to cause somebody to fall and get hurt) so I just bit my tongue really, really hard and watched. My son, who used to rappel off the barn roof, went over to help them roll it and kept a close eye on them. His daughter, granddaughter #1, was on there, of course.
Nobody fell off and all the kids did something that was dangerous quite successfully. They had fun, gained new skills, and I have some new gray hair and a sore jaw from clenching my mouth shut.