Farmer Jeanne and the Apple Orchard

Adolpha has gone on some crappy field trips before and I've always wanted her to go on a fun field trip like Gomer.  Today she had a chance to go to the apple orchard just like Gomer did when he was in Kindergarten.  We went to the same exact orchard, but this time it was a totally different experience than Gomer's.

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.

$6 entrance fee to get yelled and I get 3 apples to take home?  That's sounds fair.

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.)

One child had both her parents there and so her dad got six apples for him and his wife.  He did not separate them into two bags, instead, he joined them in (gasp!) one bag.  As we left this station, he was stopped abruptly by Farmer Jeanne.  "Sir.  You are only allowed three apples!"

"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?

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Jennifer Marcotte said...

So what does one call a farmer douche canoe... Douche Tractor? A douche plow? Put em' all together and you have a bale au douche?
Bah! Field trip wreckers!

Unknown said...

There's a difference between child friendly, and money wanting.

EFC Chrissy said...

great post...gave me a good laugh, especially since I'll be taking my son to an orchard next weekend for his preschool field trip. hopefully it will be better than his trip to the dairy farm. ;)

zeebling said...

I live on a farm. When I was in preschool in like, I don't know, 1984, maybe, we had my class out to the farm to see the cows. That was the last time there was ever a group of children on the farm. I think we all learned a valuable lesson that day.

Anonymous said...

If I didn't know better, I'd swear you lived in Mobile. We took the same field trip last year.

emily @morefromthemoorefamily said...

Wow. That is way out of line. We have been on lots and lots of field trips with my students and never had anything like this! I think your school should find a new apple orchard to visit!

re said...

That is freaking awful. Sounds like a damn carnival attraction instead of a farm.

Karen said...

Unless this is happening at farms/orchards all over the KC metro area, I know exactly the farm you're talking about, because the exact same thing has happened to me there!

Sue said...

So there are a lot of sad things about this post, but are you kidding me that the teachers didn't get any friggen apples b/c they didn't pay???? Unreal. It's an apple. Teachers, apples, they kinda go together, right? Sheesh.

Sabienie said...

At least Adolpha didn't seemed phased by the barking and general discourse of this Jeanne tyrant. I wonder how many children her behavior did affect. BTW, $12 for a crappy tour and 3 freaking apples like a ass rape without vaseline. Just saying.

spymay said...

Old McDouche of course!!

spymay said...

I imagined her saying it in the Soup Nazi's voice-"No apple for you!"
Any teacher that had to ride with a bus full of kindergarteners and then wait forever to get off paid for that trip in a different way.Oh,they certainly paid.Talk about a migraine.

Jennifer Marcotte said...

bahhahahahaaaa I love that! Old McDouchey had a farm... E I E I Ho!

Tara (Nerdgirlmom) said...

We had a children's dentist like that...she was like a grouchy old grandma who hates kids. I was waiting for her to yell "Get off my lawn" in the middle of the office. The only person who gets to yell at my kids is me!

Linda in TX said...

This was funny. Those kids should have run amuck, rolled in the chicken poop, heard a graphic description of the horse's equipment, thrown apples at each other (and that Jeanne person), and gotten generally all dirty and farmy. I grew up in the country and our best game was punching a cow pie with a stick in order to shoot the poop all over the other person. I was insanely good at it.

christine m. said...

oooooooh! as a long time elementary school teacher, i am just crying from laughing so hard over this post. i have had most of those experiences, just maybe not all at once on the same trip.

Unknown said...

Giant horse penis. How can you NOT snicker about that?

Unknown said...

Great post! I finally understand why my son called it the "apple tortured" when he was in kindergarten.

Delfin Joaquin Paris III said...

Controlling moms had controlling moms. Therapy can fix this.

It's a nice reminder I get to choose what kind of woman I want to marry. :)

BreeBree said...

How did you NOT throw the apples at her?

Mama Moo said...

Does it really affect the bottom line THAT much to let each teacher take an apple? Goodness! It's kind of sad as a parent to take the time off to go to these events to hear them be yelled at by a cranky adult that doesn't know them.

Kristin said...

As a teacher, I can say that field trips are a nightmare. The only people who actually enjoy the trip is the child. I wrote this last spring about the overnight field trip I get to take 50-some 4th graders on every year.
It is an organizational nightmare.

La Vosgienne said...

May I suggest "douche trough?" :)

Unknown said...

Children can be "loud and messy and like to touch things" in your own home. However, they should be taught manners and to how behave themselves in public. The orchard farm has rules and they should be followed. It's no surprise that many children today have a sense of entitlement. Just at look at how some parents feel everyone else should accept their child's unruly behavior, because they are, after all, "kids having fun."

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