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Of Cows, Birthday Cup Cakes, and Pets


One long day a week, Miss 17 works at a dairy farm, milking, preparing feed, feeding cows, feeding calves, cleaning up the barn (with all that entails!), and doing any necessary odd jobs.  She loves every moment of it. 


Recently she invited Miss 9 to accompany her for a morning.  What excitement!  It started with leaving the house in the dark, well before 6AM.  Miss 9 helped with the milking, helped wash the milking machines, climbed mounds of hay, admired the new twin calves, swept the barn, helped feed the older calves, learned the workings of a tractor, and watched a calf being born.


We arranged to pick her up after four hours of work, but this was just an excuse, and Miss 9 knew that.  She kept the secret well.  At the right time we showed up with birthday cup cakes, hot chocolate, and two friends to celebrate Miss 17’s birthday!  Was she ever surprised! 


Of course, we couldn’t stay, so Miss 9 changed into clean clothing and we went grocery shopping in an unfamiliar plaza on the way home.  Right beside the bulk food store, there was a pet store.  Now, in the past I used to take the children on lots of outings.  The last few years I’ve not been up to that, but here was a golden opportunity.


While I shopped, Master 14 took his three younger sisters to see the pets.  What a treat!  They watched fish, a crab, a skink, chameleons, wee dragons, parakeets, budgies, finches, doves, and all sorts of furry rodents.  When I arrived in the store, they eagerly showed me all these wonders.  What an amazing variety of creatures God has made!


On the way home, I reflected on the learning that had taken place.  This is how we used to do school, and I loved it.  What I appreciated even more, though, was how the older children were willing to contribute.  Miss 17 invited her little sister along to work.  Master 14 cheerfully supervised three sisters in the pet store.  Miss 12 made beautiful and scrumptious gluten-free cupcakes, skilfully substituting for a major missing ingredient.  On top of that, we are blessed with friends who wanted to help us surprise our birthday girl.


And I’m a grateful, contented, happy Mama.


Blessings to you all as you raise your blessings!


Annie Kate


You can find more stories about learning and about teens at Thirsty Thursdays and Talkin’ About Teenagers.



  1. IllinoisLoriH says:

    That's a terrific birthday. I "get" your daughter who works long and hard on the farm and loves every minute of it…my Bryan is the same way. I pray that someday he'll have his own farm…it would be his heart's desire come true!

    I love how your kids just easily come alongside one another to make this day happen. I think that is one of the bestest "byproducts" of homeschooling–siblings who truly enjoy one another! Boy, you don't see that out in the "world" do you?

    Happy birthday to your daughter!


    Lori (aka Plans4You)

  2. jenn4him says:

    Oh, what a joy it is to read about your happy teens. Gives me hope. Miss 17's job sounds very interesting, as well. Is she wanting to be a farmer?


  3. LarabaK says:

    It is wonderful that your children are working together to enhance their educational experience. The weekly work with cows sounds phenomenal. I pray our children will have similar opportunities if they have a "bent" towards that kind of work.

    For now, we have our chickens!

    And speaking of chickens, we have another feeder hanging above the water can for the purpose of discouraging the chickens from standing on the water can and doing their business into their water. It has helped a lot keeping the water clean, though it does look odd :-).

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