As I cut up a watermelon for my children, I realized that they had visited the place where it grew.
“Was that the farm with the pigs in the silo?” my daughter asked.
“No,” I said.
“Was it the one where there were all those ducklings crossing the driveway?” my son asked.
“No,” I said, realizing that as I have been taking educational farm tours and trying to learn about farming methods, my children have been having dream-like adventures.
We finally identified the farm where the watermelon was grown. According to my kids, it was a farm that had a swing hanging from an impressive tree that had been struck by lightning. A whole bunch of people walked around following a big tractor, and that tractor sometimes changed direction unexpectedly. This was alarming for the children, who did not like the idea of being in front of the tractor, even if it was quite far away. That afternoon, children were scolded for climbing into the back of our pickup, and we all used an impressively smelly latrine.
The farm with all the ducklings also left a deep impression on the kids. They remember a huge and rather scary male turkey on the loose, along with many beautiful birds. The children were worried for a while because they lost track of us, but they found us again. My son admired a smashed up truck, and my daughter was licked by a calf. There was a potluck full of food my kids did not like. (I and everyone else thought the food was amazingly delicious. It was home grown, and organic. Our contribution was potato chips we bought at a gas station, and nobody else touched it. I have felt ashamed every time I thought of that potluck, and I am relieved to have a different way of remembering it.)
Another farm, which my family visited without me, apparently has an on-farm store. My daughter remembered vividly a large, empty room with two people standing behind a counter. A door led from that room into a “normal” bathroom. “I always remember the bathrooms,” my daughter said.
I’m not sure I want to know what visiting children remember from our farm.