For Cabot family kids, summers generally brings the opportunity for both more work and more fun on the farm. And, for many—like 17-year-old Caleb Peckham of Elm Farm in Woodstock, Connecticut—the work is part of the fun.Summertime on the farm for Cabot kids means two kinds of work: work fun and play fun #cabotfarmers #cabotcheese Click To Tweet
“Summer is my most favorite season because of haying and being able to help my dad with morning milking and stuff like that,” Caleb says. Along with his 14-year-old sister, Grace, Caleb also handles calf feeding and he runs his own square bale hay business with the assistance of fellow 4-H’ers. The two youngest in the family, Graham, 9, and Tucker, 8, help their big brother with his new flock of chickens as well as care for their pair of goats.
Many farm kids and 4-H club members like the Peckhams work hard in the summer training their show calves to bring them to the local county fairs held all over during the summer season, another seasonal highlight for many.
As much satisfaction as they all take from making meaningful contributions to the daily workload, Caleb and his siblings also know how to kick back. After a hot day of haying, you can be sure that the whole crew will head down the stream that cuts through their farm to the neighbors’ swimming hole. “We jump right in with our clothes on,” Caleb says, although they do pause long enough to take their shoes off, he notes with a grin.
Another special summertime treat is eating supper outdoors at the picnic table looking over the cornfields, Caleb explains. “We eat together year-round,” he says, “but it’s more special to do it outside. It’s so peaceful and there are so many fireflies.”
In Barton, Vermont at the Farm at Wheeler Mountain, 10-month-old Audrey Lidback is enjoying her first summer on the farm. Her mom, Joanna, gives her kudos for being super-flexible: able to nap in the front pack, backpack or her stroller in the barn or wherever she’s taken.
At seven years of age, Audrey’s older brother, Thomas, echoes Caleb Peckham when he answers that “working” is his favorite part of summer. Thomas loves to help feed the calves and milk as well as shift levers on the tractor that runs feed into the barn (under the watchful eye of his parents). Riding along with his dad out in the hayfields is another highlight.
Eli, 5, and Thomas have both mastered bike-riding this summer with the help of their uncle, Joanna’s brother, Andrew Samuelson, a teacher who gets his farm fix every summer by coming to help out. All three kids love to go on gator rides with their dad when he fetches the cows in from pasture and long summer evenings allow for relaxing family walks after supper with their dog, Buzzman.
The Gendebien family from Ogdensburg NY sure knows how to enjoy the outdoors in the summer, whether it’s a zipline into the water, playing on hay bales, or hanging out with the farm animals, there’s no shortage of fun to be had on the farm.