Kids today could use a washboard and chickens

By Kelli Fowler

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, April 9 2013 3:19 p.m. MDT

Lately I have been romanticizing my childhood memories of playing outdoors and the farming stock I came from. I guess that could be contributed to my reading choices. I mean, who can read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" and not come away thinking they are going to have one dilly of a garden. (Yeah, I said dilly.)

Now, I am doing it again. I am reading "Last Child in the Woods," and I have already mapped out my son's childhood natural experiences with great detail. I am sure I'll be chuckling later about my naive presumptions as I watch him glued to some futuristic version of the Wii where he "plays" golf by blinking his eyes just right.

So, let me share some of my ideals for your reading pleasure, or eye-rolling pleasure, if need be.

I want to have my son wash his own clothes with a washboard and bucket just once so he understands the value of the washing machine. I want to raise my own chickens (my husband curses you, Barbara Kingsolver) and eat them. I want to eat their eggs, and I want a cow. I want to get fresh milk and make my own cheese.

I warned you, romanticizing is taking place, and I am sure your eyes are getting exercise.

But there is a real base to this line of thinking.

I grew up next to a farm. It had been my grandparents' farm but was sold before I was born. The "new" owners were extremely generous and allowed my siblings and me to play there. I remember climbing haystacks (until I fell/slid about 40 feet to the ground), becoming so used to the smell of cow manure that I don't even notice it to this day, chasing and petting farm cats, watching the cats drink fresh milk, crying over veal calves stuck in their white plastic prisons, and laughing at the silly rooster up in the tree by the farmhouse who crowed at all the wrong times.

So, as for the cow and chicken fantasies, they are based a little bit in the non-fiction section. I mean, I am already immune to the cow poop. Who knows about the chicken poop.

So, I have been talking up moving to a nice area with lots of land to my husband. I use such phrases as "personal shooting range," "saving money on groceries," "fresh-made cheese" and "huge treehouse for kid." Who knows. He tends to be a bit more pragmatic than I am. He is a first born after all, and I am a last born.

Well, until I can make my kid watch his own food eat its food and clean his clothes the old-fashioned way so he appreciates the washing machine, I guess I'll just keep dreaming. I am sure I'll come up with some more ideas of how I can traumatize my kids in the name of education and gratitude.

And I am sure those same ideas will one day end up in a blog titled "crazy things my mom made me do."

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