23 May 2011

The Bossy Farmer

While visiting family in Ohio, I took the girls to my favorite local haunt - Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm.  As a child, I had taken summer nature classes there each year with my cousins.  We tromped around in marshes and ponds and in pine forests and prairies, and spent time on the working farm there, making egg salad and butter.  It was wonderful and memorable, and each time I go home, I try to stop by and let the girls run around!

During this visit, we saw, among other things, a new litter of piglets.  Well, not brand new, but new enough to not be full-grown yet.  I love piglets, mostly because I love bacon, but I don't tell that to my children.  What is mutually apparent is that piglets are cute (being small), and generally cleaner than full-grown pigs, and they have long eyelashes.  What's not to love?

Our pigletty friends, from left to right: normal kid, normal kid, bottom of the bully, runt, normal kid, face of the bully
(P.S.  That's not a fire - it's a heat lamp)

Among this group of piglets there were some clear-cut characters:  the overachiever (being the biggest and a bully), the regular kids (medium-sized ones), and the runt.  I have always loved the runt - I think he must be an American icon, as we love to root for the underdogs - and I could identify with this straggly little thing, having once been a straggly little thing myself.  He was the cutest and the wiggliest.  It was feeding time, and there was a mad dash for lunch, and the bully decided that he needed to not only eat, but exclude everyone else - particularly the runt - from eating.

My mother bear instincts immediately flared up.  I didn't object to the bully eating, but when he specifically bothered the little one is when the umbrella came out.  My umbrella.  I gave that bully a firm poke and hollered at him to leave the little one alone.  Twice.

I later remarked to a friend that I would make a bossy farmer.  She replied that most of the farmers she knows are pretty bossy. 

I suppose they stand in their fields and say, "Grow!  I command you!"  Maybe not, but I think that there is some level of bossiness when growing things.

Even children.