Saturday, September 25, 2010

Free-range Kids

Before I even knew it was cool to let your kids go barefoot and rub a little dirt on their bodies, we let our son be "country", as we called it.  Little did I know that it actually has a name, and it's called "free-range kids".

When I was a kid, we didn't worry about germs, nor do I remember my brothers and I even being sick that often.  I can count on one hand the number of times I saw our family doctor (we didn't have anything as fancy as a pediatrician where I lived.). We ran barefoot all summer, drank out of the same glass, swam in some very questionable public pools (not to mention lakes, ponds, and creeks).  We ate a lot of questionable stuff too --things like mushrooms, rabbit, squirrel, frog legs and loads of fish: all caught ourselves.  We were never admonished by parents or teachers to "wash your hands" or to sneeze into your sleeve, or walk around with Purell hand sanitizer in our backpacks (not that we even had backpacks in those days, we carried it all in our arms, up hill and down hill the three miles to home).

Today, kids are getting sick at the drop of the hat.  It only takes one ride in a shopping cart at Wal-mart to come home with some virus that will keep you or your kids sick in bed for days. I detest going to the doctor's office where I know I'll find germs dripping from the ceiling from all the sick people there. Oh and yuck --touching those pens hooked to the card sliding machines, the cooties those must have!

Some interesting studies suggest that we are keeping our kids --and ourselves-- a little too clean. I cringe when I see the littlest one out in the yard,digging in the dirt where I know the chickens have been, but instead of yelling at him to get up off the ground and clean up, I just look the other way now, knowing that it may make him just the bit healthier for it. He's big, robust, strong and healthy, outside of the occassional foray to Wal-mart when we can count down the hours to when he will start hacking something up that he caught on the handles of the shopping cart.

Getting kids outdoors and in to the sunshine, letting them get a little dirty, sweat a little, work off a pound or two - what a concept!

HUGE summer!

Summer has ended, and it has only just been now that I can finally find some time to write about it.

This is the time of year that beekeepers (and their families) take a little rest. Our season actually starts around December, selling hives and equipment, picks up tremendous steam in January and February, goes into a swirly cloud of mind-blowing numbness through April and May and hits critical overload mass in June. Then the queen rearing season starts!

This summer found us in Georgia for bee package season, North Carolina for the Eastern Apicultural Society Meeting, and Lake Shelbyville in Illinois for our annual church retreat. We celebrated our 3 year old's and my mom's birthday with a big bounce house and tons of relatives (no, grandma did NOT get in the bounce house), went to the Indy Zoo, the Monticello Train Museum and all the parks we could stand. We saw Toy Story 3 under the stars at the Drive in Theater, went to an apple pressing party, and celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. We picked tons of sweet corn from the garden, froze gallons of green beans, and picked off thousands of green tomato worms (and my tomatoes are still not red!!). We got 75 new chickens,and  finally, after years of study, David became a Master Beekeeper.

It was a wonderful summer and I'm looking forward to what autumn is about to bring us.