Our favorite part of owning our farm is welcoming guests. While most spend the night, many either add on an hour-long private farm tour or come specifically for that experience. It’s always fun introducing others to our growing methods and our sweet animals, but we especially enjoy it when we get to host young children.
These days my husband Houston is the one giving tours. He loves sharing what we’re doing and the kids love him. Since children are usually more interested in the livestock than what we’re growing, Houston usually begins the tour at the front of our property with the peach and fig trees. He gauges the length of time he spends and how in depth he goes depending on the interest level of the youngest child.
On the way to see the animals, he leads them (and their families) past two ponds, explaining that they are in fact called “tanks,” since they’re used for agricultural purposes.
As he walks, Houston talks about our livestock guardians. If the children stayed in one of our glamping tents, chances are they’ve already met Daphne, Ollie and Effie, our donkeys, and Samson, our Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD). He tells how the donkeys protect all the animals on the farm, not because they like them so much, but because donkeys intuitively stand their ground and don’t run from trouble. Samson, our Great Pyrenees, who is nocturnal, barks to let coyotes know that he’s on the property. For those kids who glamped the previous night, they will often say that he barked a few times during the night and that he stayed close by their tent. They really like that.
Then Houston moves on to talk about our KuneKune pigs. This is usually the favorite part of the tour for kids, probably because Houston lets them help with the feeding. Kids like carrying the feed bucket and following Mr. Houston to the grazing area with the pigs squealing in anticipation. Houston also shares a bit about the fowl on our farm - geese, ducks and chickens. There have even been instances of children who’ve carried a chicken around during the whole tour.
As Houston wraps up the tour in the outdoor venue, he talks with the adults about our farm to table dinners and other events. Meanwhile, the children often run ahead to the large tree swing attached to one of the ancient oaks.
Parents frequently share their photos from the tour with us. One mom captured her six year old daughter in overalls and pink rubber boots, with a very serious expression, carrying the feed bucket to the pigs’ pen. A mom of a toddler mailed a card to “Farmer Houston” with photos of her daughter and a thank you note, written in her daughter’s voice. Today, as we look at those pictures, I realize the reminiscing is almost as much fun as the tour itself.
This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, in the March 4, 2023 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.