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The Manure Spreader: Farm day care

Tim Moffett for Progressive Dairyman Published on 24 February 2017

Let’s face it, farmers need money – more money – and more time. Seems like I can never get enough done in the day, and I’m always trying to cut some milk production costs too, so I had the bright idea to start a day care on the farm.

I named it, “Organic Chores Day Care.” For those of us that grew up on farms, we never had a hired babysitter or even heard of a day care for kids. We had older siblings, cousins or the family dog to keep an eye on us. We all turned out OK. So why not? If I can deal with foot rot – then I can deal with a few runny noses.

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With the word “organic,” the city moms made this thing an overnight sensation. I put a sign up at the front gate that says, “For your child’s safety, we ask they not dress in the colors red or green. Red – the bull will find them. Green – I won’t.”

For starters, the kids all have to arrive by 4:45 a.m. – unless your child is in the “dairy-free” program, then they don’t have to be here until sunrise. No need to pack extra diapers or clean clothes; this day care experience is completely outdoors. Some of our younger clients prefer not to wear pants.

If your child is just starting to walk, I have plenty of things they can push for stability. Lawnmowers, wheelbarrows, manure scrapers, just to name a few.

For the kids whose parents are constantly telling them, “Don’t touch that!” I have started an advanced learning class called Hotwire 101. I have yet for any of them to sign up for the next class, 110v versus 220v.

Here on the farm, not all children are sure “what a cow says” or any animal for that matter. I couldn’t find my nephew’s Fisher-Price “See ’n Say” game, so I tied a string to all the animals’ tails for the kids to pull on. The goat was particularly entertaining.

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We do offer an extensive art program here at our facility. If painting is your child’s passion, we have fences, barns, sheds and even equipment that would make the perfect canvas.

There is no “nap time.” We pride ourselves in the ability to send your child home with no energy left whatsoever. No more arguing about what they want for dinner. Heck, most of the time they skip dinner and go straight to bed. This leaves more time for you.

As far as special days, Monday is Learning Your Pet Day and Friday is Jerky Day. We keep them separate for a reason.

Certain times of the year we do offer field trips to pick blueberries, blackberries and okra. We have found that smaller hands make this a much more thorn- and briar-free experience. After this field trip, all participants are able to purchase the freshly picked produce at the current market price. This is just one of the many perks we have for our participants.

Lunch will be provided daily with whatever leftovers we have from dinner the night before. If that’s not good enough for your child, I will be forced to call one of my parents to explain all the harm that is done in this world when someone does not clean their plate.

We do have organic well water available at all times from many of our green hose drinking stations. Don’t mind the funny smell, that’s the organic.  end mark

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To have Tim at your next event visit Tim the Dairy Farmer.

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