For the past five years or so, the Medicine Lodge preschool and kindergarten classes have visited our little farm as a field trip.  We schedule all three classes on the same day and this year’s day fell on Thursday.  Fun as it is, it is not something I exactly look forward to.  It brings a lot of extra work and I was tempted to tell the school I didn’t want to do it anymore, but Mark talked me into hanging in there.  On the day leading up to it we clean things up, making sure there are no hidden dangers lying around, nothing running little feet could trip on or run into.  We scrape the lots, rake a clean path and scatter clean straw where the groups will gather in order to keep little shoes as clean as possible.  We sort the animals in a way that will let the kids see everything as up close and personal as possible.
Promptly at 9:50, the first group arrives, the 3-year old preschoolers.  A quick glance tells me this group is made up of mostly girls so I imagine it will be a fairly calm walk-through.  I give my usual speech about staying with their teachers and parents and don’t run ahead me.  I tell them there are three reasons for this, #1, so no one gets hurt, #2 so they stay on the clean path and don’t get poop on their feet (this is always followed by lots of  squeals and giggles) and #3, if they chase the animals, they will scare them and they will run off into a corner and they won’t be able to see them as well.  I hear lots of “We will’s” and off we go!  Our first stop is Annabelle, our Black Angus heifer.  We feed her pieces of “cow cake” through the fence but only a few kids get to before Annabelle decides she is leery of all these little fingers pushing through the fence and she walks off.  We move on to a pen full of baby lambs to pet and twin week-old baby goats.  Next they gather around one of our stock tanks to watch the gold-fish.
Mark then takes half of the group to the pigs and I take the other half to the miniature donkey’s and horse.  The donkey’s and horse thought this was a wonderful day, they ate their way through a whole tub of treats. We then went to see and hold baby chicks.  Next we asked who would like to try to milk a goat.  We put one of our goats in a stanchion, the parents and teachers got everyone in line and one by one, with my help, they would milk a little stream into a jar.  That was the end and it was time for them to head back to the bus.  Group two, the kindergartners, came at 11:50, and after a quick lunch, group three, the 4-year old preschoolers came at 1:50. Seemed like each group was a little more rambunctious than the one before (Or maybe I was just getting more tired!) 
When the last group left, I was very glad the day was over, but also glad we did it.  It feels good to share our blessings with others, so at this time next year we will do it again.  I even enthusiastically told Mark we need to time when we breed Annabelle and our pigs so we have a baby calf and a litter of pigs for them to see next year, but I also know I will still be very glad when the day is over!