There is never a place on the bus for a parent to ride and so I have to drive myself. I'm OK with this, because honestly, I would go nuts sitting on a noisy, bumpy bus for an hour long ride. It was actually really blissful to be in my car ALONE, listening to NPR or even riding in silence if I so chose.
I arrived at the orchard and I was told that our bus wasn't there yet and we couldn't enter the grounds until our kids arrived, because our teachers had our entrance passes. We hung out waiting for the buses. Finally, the buses pulled in and. . .sat. . .and. . .sat. The farmers told us that they had overbooked and so our kids needed to wait on the buses until the other groups got going.
When the kids were finally allowed off the bus, they were told to line up in rows by class. They did, no problem. There were several moms there who were chaperoning and all of our kids wanted a quick hug, hello, etc. We walked over to our kids and all hugged, them, etc. and that's when the yelling and the insane amount of rules started.
A farmer got on her bullhorn and announced, "Mothers, chaperones! I need you all to step back and get out of the lines, please. I need all the kids to be able to see me so they can hear the rules of the farm."
Okaaaayyy. We scurried to the backs of the lines so we wouldn't be publicly shunned again.
"Today we're going to have a lot of fun, but we have rules to follow. NO running. NO food - not even chewing gum [I swallowed mine out of fear right then and there]. NO drinks. Oh and, by the way, have fun."
Every group was assigned to a farmer to take us on a tour. We got the luck of the draw and got Farmer Jeanne. This bitch was delightful.
We started our tour in the chicken coop. She asked all the kids to enter the coop and line up along the fence so they could see the chickens. But. . ."DON'T touch anything, because the chicken coop is dirty and you could all get sick," order Farmer Jeanne. I asked my child to take two giant steps back.
The kids filed in and stood along the fence line. "Do you see chickens down there?" she asked the group at the far end of the coop. "I'm going to talk about these chickens first, you'll want to be down here." Seriously, woman? "I'm not going to start my talk until I have all eyes on me. Move down and bunch up." Are you for real, Farmer Jeanne? Everyone has seen a chicken before.
Finally, the kids got where she wanted them and she began her presentation. I was so bored at that point that I stepped out of the coop.
We continued our tour around the farm and took a hayride. We ended up at the giant haystack. This is where the kids were allowed to get their "wiggles" out. Farmer Jeanne told the kids they could jump on the haystack and mess around. Finally!
One of the moms is our official yearbook photographer and she told the kids she wanted a picture of the whole class on and around the haystack. Farmer Jeanne bellowed at the kids, "Just stay where you are, so you can get your picture taken."
The photog mom takes her job very seriously (and rightly so) and she wanted every kid's face showing. "This is for the yearbook," she said. "I want to see every kid. No one is going to want to see their kid's face blocked. That's not right." So, she started to strategically place the Kindergarteners.
True, it looked a lot like someone herding cats, but this mom was bound and determined to make the picture work. Farmer Jeanne wasn't having any of this nonsense.
"We need to keep moving," she complained. "We're getting behind schedule. We won't have time for the horses."
I wanted to turn on her at that point and say, "Listen, lady. I paid 12 bucks for me and my kid to get in your shitty farm. All I want out of today is a cute picture of my kid and her class on a haystack that we can put in the fucking yearbook. You can shove your horses." Instead, I passively aggressively tweeted her.
Photog mom got a great picture and we were ready to move on.
We went to see the horses. There were big work horses that pulled wagons and plows (I guess??) around the farm. They were not meant for riding. They were huge. Farmer Jeanne asked the kids, "Do you see how big their hooves are? Do you see how big their heads are?"
"What's that huge thing?" a sweet innocent little girl asked pointing at the horses' enormous penis.
"Uhhh. . .that's where he goes to the bathroom." Farmer Jeanne replied stoically while the moms around her tittered. "Let's go!" she scowled at us. Yes, we think enormous horse penis' are funny. I'm sure it's a way of life on the farm, but for us suburb-slickers we don't see those every day.
Our last stop before lunch was the apple orchard. It's too late in the year to actually pick apples so instead the kids "pick" them out of a basket (bushel?) and take them home. The instructions were very clear: "Every paying child gets 3 apples, every paying adult gets 3 apples. If you have an underage child that came today who was free, they do NOT get apples. Teachers do NOT get apples." (The teachers didn't pay to come.)
|$6 entrance fee to get yelled and I get 3 apples to take home? That's sounds fair.|
"Yes, I know. I'm here with my wife. I took both of our three and put them in one bag."
"Your wife is here?" Farmer Jeanne asked, looking around. His wife was the photog mom and she was over shooting pics of the kids and their apples.
"Yes, that's my wife over there with the camera. Wave, honey!" His wife was intent on her job and didn't hear him.
Farmer Jeanne continued to eye him suspiciously. "Honey!" he called again.
"What?!" she yelled back.
"See? My wife."
Farmer Jeanne let him slide, but she kept on eye on him for the rest of our trip.
Our trip ended with a picnic lunch al fresco with all the farmers watching over us making sure that we composted our left over food for the animals to eat (YES to sandwich crusts. NO to orange peels.) and yelled at us to hang onto our blowing trash.
Adolpha was oblivious to all the bellowing (she hears enough of it at home, I think) and she had a fun time and made herself sick eating too many apples. I never have to go back again, so that's a plus. I just don't understand people who work with children and market their business to children, but then don't like children. Children are loud and messy and they like to touch things, especially on a farm. They have lots of questions and really can't be bothered to listen about why a chicken has a wattle. They love baby animals and jumping in the hay and eating apples. Just let them have some fun, would ya?