Wednesday, 19 March 2008

See the little lambs

I went to a farm. I hate farms. It's never got any better, even though I have tried. And believe me, I have tried. For the last seven years I have endured grooming the donkey, petting the rabbit, milking the cow, feeding the goats, bottling the lambs (lambs? who are they kidding? Those monsters could take on Godzilla), and stroking the horse nose.

It has all been in the line of duty. Not motherly, of course. That's ridiculous. All this farm pursuit has been for the education of Shark, Squirrel and Tiger, and the better understanding of Where dinners come from and Why we are vegetarian and, on good days, vegan.

Of course to Shark, Squirrel and Tiger, farms mean cute and furry. They get the moral superiority of telling the rabbit whose ears they are holding that they will never chew on his sweet little leg, and they can feed the goats safe in the knowledge that the mashed innards of the one called Barbara are not going to be presented on a plate for dinner.

In 2003, the Dig family pushed the pursuit of all things cute too far. They dragged me to the Northumberland County Show. It's held at Corbridge, which is posh. Some of the people who go to the show are posh too, and go to show off posh pink pigs. Well to me pig shit looks all the same, posh or not, and I hated every second of it. Not content with making me look at posh pigs the Dig family forced me to look at fancy chickens and hairy rabbits. In front of the children I had to pretend to find it all great fun. I had to endure hours, possibly days, of horses pulling carriages. How interesting can it get? By three o'clock in the afternoon I wanted to kill myself.

The problem, I now realise, is that farm visits do not stop as the children get older. I thought they would. I thought that once we had gone to a farm to see what a chicken looked like, we could say, 'Right, that's sorted. Let's now just pretend we're the sort of people who might keep chickens'. In fact we could even say things like 'Let's keep chickens' when really everyone knows that I would much rather go to town and buy a new pair of shoes than go out into the garden in the pouring rain hoping the chickens have been eaten by a fox so I would never have to feed chickens again.

But of course the dreaded day comes round when we all have to go to the farm because it is spring and we must see the cute baby lambs and learn about the bloody chickens. I have to pretend to be interested in chicken development all over again, and smile politely when the hairy rabbit is brought out.

On the way home I crack. I tell Shark, Squirrel and Tiger that I am a townie born and bred and, not only that, but I am ideologically opposed to the farming of animals for the meat industry and if I have to look at one more chicken in my life time I may well go beserk and wring its neck, thus demonstrating exactly what farms are for.

And Shark says 'Did you get the picture of the baby lamb?'

And I say 'Yes Shark, of course, here it is'.


Mean Mom said...

Well done, for doing your duty! It must be agonising for you.

Michelle said...

I think you've missed the point somewhere. Farms have decent play equipment in them. Play equipment that isn't covered in graffiti or exhibiting evidence of frequent attempts to set it all alight. And no piles of unmentionables left by dogs in the long grass at the side, or broken glass or those interesting blackened cola cans with the holes in.

And they generally have somewhere selling tea and cakes.

Brad said...

We only raise our chickens for the eggs, really.

Well, they do come to a bit of a tragic end when they stop laying.

I don't eat my friends. I'd love to read your thoughts if you ever wanted to make a post of it. Very interested to hear your thoughts.

Kelly Jene said...

Seriously cute little lamb. But oh do I agree with you. Can't stand farm life... ugh. That's why I live in the city. If I wanted to be near country animals, I'd move to the country.

Grit said...

hello mean mom, perhaps agony is part of the script i now know...!

michelle! of course you are right! you see! you are a 'glass is half-full' person!

hi brad, no doubt grit will spill all in time.

kelly jean, that is very logical, and i couldn't have put it better myself.