Friday, April 17, 2009

The Horse Says What?

It is Fatherhood Friday again so stop by Dad Blogs and check out all the posts.

I grew up in an animal loving house. I don't mean a PETA type animal loving house. We hunted deer, duck, squirrel, and rabbit. We consumed our kill. Yes, I have eaten many a squirrel just like Cousin Eddie. Our relationship with animals was more of an appreciation and a knowledge of their habits and environment. I didn't grow up on a farm in the sense that our house was on a farm. I did however spend much of my youth on the family rice farm in southeast Arkansas. My Dad quit farming when I was very young. After that he still helped out around the farm some, but he found other things to do with his time and resources.

My Dad raised ducks and geese for a long time. He also raised rabbits for quite a while and dabbled in turkeys and quail. Some of these animals were sold for pets or food, but the whole operation was mainly a hobby. The farm was filled with hunting dogs. There was even a killer tomcat named Dingbat for a while. Basically I grew up on Old MacDonald's farm. I helped dad gather duck eggs and gather ducks. You haven't lived until you have been in a cage trying to catch flying mallards. Snagging them out of the air is quite a thrill. We fed the ducks and raised them. I saw them hatch and grow. Eventually we started a flock of Canada Geese. When our first two eggs hatched the goslings thought my Dad was their mom. They followed him everywhere and even got to take a trip to our house much to my mother's dismay. Dad named them Mutt and Jeff.

All of this led me to love animals. I had volumes of books on the subject. Dad and I watched nature shows on TV a lot. We could name every animal on the planet by sight and many by sound. I hope Braden and I can share that type of interest in animals. I hope we'll spend many hours in the woods together enjoying nature. Of course I hope we can hunt together, but it's also fun just spending time outdoors. Hopefully he will get the same joy I do from watching the squirrels and birds go about their day. Maybe we can share the thrill of seeing a bald eagle soaring over the lake. Braden might not grow up on a farm, but he will grow up in a small town in The Natural State. Wildlife will always be there to enjoy.

This Easter we took the first small step towards learning about animals. Braden got a The Farmer Says See 'n Say. These things have been around forever. I had one when I was a kid. They have changed a little, but the message remains the same. The (insert animal name) says (insert animal sound). I know this alone is not going to make Braden like animals. At least it will introduce him to some barnyard critters. Hopefully he'll get to meet some of these creatures in real life in order to test some of that knowledge for himself. Take a look at this video where he hears a few animal sounds.

That was Braden's first effort at opening a gift. I think he did a good job. He seems intrigued by the see n' say until he hears the horse. Both times that crazy noise seems to confuse him. He looks to mommy for some help. It looks like a trip to the track is in order so Braden can meet some real life horses and straighten this out.


WeaselMomma said...

He is so sweet. Watching them be introduced to new things at this age is always entertaining. I've never met a small child that wasn't enthralled with animals of all types. I think you will get many hours of wildlife entertainment together.

Rob said...

Cool post and Video. My youngest had one of these and loves it. We have alot of animal books. Kids love to make horse, sheep, dog anf ducks sounds for some reason. Happy FF. Check out my FF post at

Jason said...

You haven't lived until you've had a pig in the house LOL. I grew up on a hobby farm as well and was well accustomed to having all kinds of crazy going on. From cows in the garage to sheep sitting on the couch with the dog. Our small farm grew pretty fast and I'm a little sad that my boys won't have those experiences but they get to make their own experiences so I'm cool with that.

Andrew's Daddies said...

I always look forward to your posts!!!
My son also loves animals and the sounds they make. The video clip is so cute.

Daddy Files said...

I'm with you. Although I didn't grow up on a farm, my great grandparents were Portuguese and I still remember that eating chicken soup meant watching them go out and murder the chicken. Even as a kid that never bothered me. Maybe because the soup was so good.

But yeah, I think one of the things i"m looking forward to most is hiking and camping with Will. My dad wasn't very outdoorsy. We'd be camping and he'd be sitting with the car door open, listening to the radio and reading a book. But I definitely am and I can't wait for that stuff.

New Dad Blog said...

I grew up in suburbia, but my dad always tried to expose me to camping and the outdoors. Even if was just in our back yard it was still fun.

Sounds like Braden is going to have a lot to learn from you.

Great post.

surprised mom said...

What a wonderful video! You'll have to let us know how Braden enjoyed going to the track! You sound like you had great growing-up years. I've visited a farm or two growing up, but was such a city-slicker, I wanted to pet the pigs. I visited the family farm in Ireland last year. This time, I pet the cows.

Bella Daddy said...

Cool post! reminds me where I grew up..and how. And the vid? talk about the memories the kid cant wait to tear into gifts...or pretty much anything wrapped.


PJ Mullen said...

Ha! My son opened his gifts the first time the same way. Tore off a little paper then tried to eat it. He hasn't gotten into his see and say yet. For some reason one of his favorite toys is a hammer and he love to whack things with it. I'm in trouble.

-Justin said...

Very cool. I didn't grow up on a farm, but my father did. He'd tell me stories of grabbing chickens by the head and swinging them around until their necks snapped. That wasn't really for me. Bu I'm totally down with hiking and backpacking, I hope my kids will too.

Otter Thomas said...

@WeaselMomma: It is amazing to watch them learn. You can see the wheels turning.

@Rob: I need more animal sounds in my life.

@Jason: Put us together and we would have the whole farm. A cow in the garage cracks me up.

@AD: Glad you enjoy. Thanks.

@Daddy Files: Chicken murder is funny. I purposefully left out any stories of farm animals that I witnessed or may have helped meet their demise.

@New Dad: My view of Suburbia: 2.3 kids, 1 dog, 1 cat, manicured lawns, constant barbecueing and outdoor commoraderie. Must have been nice. Camping should be enjoyed by all guys from suburbanites to hillbillies.

@surpriesed mom: Live racing is actually closed for the year but we will make it out there some day.

@Bella: Thanks. Everyone should get to spend some time on a farm.

@Justin: We do ducks that way when hunting. It is better than letting them suffer.

KWG said...

Nice birthday suit. Sweet.

No hunting and shooting the see n' say until he's at least 13.

The one and only time I shot a bird with my BB gun I cried like a girl.

No offense to girls, but not a hunter am I.

Oh, Bea, what you gonna do with Daddy?

Captain Dumbass said...

My kids are growing up in suburbia, but they get to see eagles on the way to school.

Momo Fali said...

This is one of the reasons I wished I lived somewhere other than Ohio. Ohio has pretty limited wildlife for enjoying. You can only watch so many squirrels.

Out-Numbered said...

Dude. Awesome post. I want me some Squirel meat!

Busy-Dad-E said...

Way to go Braden! Our boys also like the see-n-say. Awesome reference to Cousin Eddie.

Steely Dad said...

Sweet post, bro! Your childhood and your relationship with your dad sound idyllic (I'm sure you guys had your issues but it appears that you guys were close and shared things in common). My dad never showed me how to do anything, hunt or otherwise. He left me no cool skills that I can pass on to my kids. Everything I know I've learned on my own. I want to have the kind of bond with my kids in which we do share fun memories. I love nature. I've never hunted but would love to try. I do camp quite a bit. I'm taking my son on our first father-son camping trip this summer.