KW Homestead

Emma & Jason's pasture raised poultry, homesteading thoughts, and wild adventures.

Tag: for kids

A Fantastic Farm to Your School Day!

KW Homestead’s first Farm to Your School experience was a great one, with another school visit coming up on July 9th!

I just wrapped up the 2014-2015 school year as a Teacher’s Assistant at a school in High Point, and Jason and I decided to offer a free Farm to Your School adventure to the kindergarten, first, and second grade kids that I worked with everyday. A few days before the last day of school, we packed up our chickens, ducks, and a really friendly piglet named Half Nose and carted them over to Johnson Street Global Studies K-8 Magnet School.

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Each of the 6 classes had 30 minutes to enjoy the animals… A perfect amount of time for the kids to get quality time with each set of animals. I ran the Pig Station, where students got to pet and scratch our piglet. They were lucky enough to get to her some of her piggy noises, and some of our favorite questions were:

“Is she wagging her tail because she is happy?”

“Why her her hair so scratchy but her skin so soft?”

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Jason ran the Duck Station and the kids were able to feed the ducks and watch Jason employ some of his ninja skills while catching a duck for them to pet. Some of our favorite questions from the Duck Station were:

“Why do they sit in the water and then drink it?”

“Why do they always walk together?”

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Each classroom teacher supervised the kids while they looked at the rooster and hen, and they loved hearing the rooster crow and (their favorite) watching both chickens poop!

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We had a fantastic day, and the time we spent sharing our animals with the kids really flew by… I think we found one of our passions!

If you are interested in booking Farm to Your School at your school, church or family get-together, send us an email at ourochreway@gmail.com and check out our Farm to Your School pricing page!

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Farm to Your School!

Everyone’s heard of farm to fork, the local food movement that brought farmers and consumers closer together, but we want to go one step further.

Farm to Your School!

Kuska Winasun Homestead is now offering a way for students, teachers, and parents to interact with a young pair of farmers and their livestock.

What exactly does a farm to school visit entail?

The Pig Package

Students will get to pet and scratch a friendly pot-bellied pig. These cute pigs are much smaller than standard pigs, and are sometimes kept as pets.

piglets

Pot Belly Piglets

$60 per hour (2 hour minimum)

The Poultry Package

This add-on gives students a chance to feed some friendly ducks and enjoy seeing how distinct the different varieties can be. They also get to compare the difference between a rooster and a hen, and hear the cockle-doodle-doo firsthand.

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Some of our ducks, lining up to be fed

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A flock of roosters!

+$25 per hour

What do you need to provide?

Nothing really, just an outside area somewhat out of the way where the event can take place. And of course, the children.

We recommend a minimum of 15-20 minutes per class, and in order to keep the animals calm, we like to limit the number of kids taking part to 20 at a time. You can schedule the visits however you like, but please keep these limits in mind.

What do we provide?

We will provide the animals and everything they need for comfort (cages, water, food etc.). We will also have some hand sanitizer available to keep all the animals healthy.

We will answer questions, tell stories, and direct the entire event.

Parents and teachers will also have the chance to purchase some of our farm products at a discounted price after the visit.

If you would like to schedule a visit, or have any questions, feel free to email us at  ourochreway@gmail.com.

Kids Wondering… How Loud is a Goose?

Welcome back to Kids Wondering…!

This episode features our four fantastic geese, Audo (a male Emden), China (a female Chinese), and Houdina and Iza (female Africans).

Check it out!

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kids wondering… My Pal the Snake!

Join us for this episode of Kids Wondering as we meet a snake friend that we found while digging a hole in the yard!

Be sure to always ask an adult before handling any snakes that you see in your yard… They could be venomous!

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Kids Wondering… Remember, always speak with a trusted adult before picking up your own snake pals!
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kids wondering… What Is It Like to Collect Eggs?

Welcome back to Kids Wondering…!

This time we head into the chicken pen to collect eggs and learn a few exciting facts about hens and the eggs they lay.

And… We have an extra special treat in this edition of Kids Wondering… We find a type of egg that I bet you have never seen or heard of before!

Can you guess what it is? Watch the video to find out…

Until next time… What are you wondering?

Comment here and let us know, kids!

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kids wondering… Will Chickens Eat Pizza?

Welcome back to Kids Wondering…

For those of you who do not live on a farm, you might be wondering what sorts of foods chickens will eat!

Chickens don’t just eat seeds and grass, that’s for sure! Join us in the video below for more insight into what chickens really will eat…

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So, to review… Will chickens eat pizza and other interesting foods?

YES!!!!

And the were-you-paying-attention question of the day:

Where do you see our black cat, Dodger, in the video? Let us know if you can find him lurking about!

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children’s homestead books: it’s never too early or too late to start collecting

jason and i are still a few years off from having children but we started collecting children’s books 2 years ago when we worked, for a short time, organizing thousands of books for an old book store.

both of us have always loved books, and i especially have always cherished children’s books. when he and i combined our libraries, we ended up with a double serving of every harry potter book and various other folk tales, fairy tales, myths, and legends for children.

courtesy of abee5

after viewing many kid’s books at the old book store, we realized that a lot of them were in alignment with the life lessons and science/nature topics that we really hoped our child would have in their children’s books. so, we decided to buy a lot of them for our future child(ren)!

among the ones that drew our eye the most were those that were set on a farm, homestead, or in and among nature. some of the titles that i was most excited to see and read were:

  • henrietta and the hat, written by mabel watts and illustrated by joan miller–in this tale, henrietta the horse desires a farmer’s hat. but, once the farmer is done with it, he uses it for other things and does not give it to her. over time, the hat gets worn out, all the while becoming more and more perfect for henrietta. in the end, perhaps she gets the hat after all…
  • the great race, written and illustrated by paul goble–based on cheyenne and sioux mythologies, this beautifully illustrated tale tells how humans gained control over the mighty buffalo, with the help of a certain magpie ally.
  • stopping by woods on a snowy evening,written by robert frost and illustrated by susan jeffers–this beautifully illustrated version of robert frost’s classic poem is illustrated in simple, black-and-white with splashes of color throughout. a treat!

although we chose many fiction books (oh, how i love fiction–especially fantasy and/or magical realism), i noticed that we trended toward choosing books that were based around the animal world (as many kid’s books are) where the main characters prove to be very brave and/or kind and unfailing loving.

the non-fiction that we chose were very science and fact based, usually also about animals or nature. some of my favorites of these are:

  • bats, written by celia brand–this book is one of many of the eyes on nature series, which features many species of animals and includes dozens and dozens of fantastic bat close-up photos and interesting facts.
  • desert discoveries, written by ginger wadsworth and illustrated by john carrozza–this book hosts beautiful drawings of desert animals with accompanying factoids. kids are also asked to find certain animals in a picture, and the book thus becomes a where’s waldo? of the desert!
  • water dance, written and illustrated by thomas locker–this peaceful text talks about the water cycle in a rare, poetic form. this book certainly inspires awe in me.

also, we selected some books from the early 1900s which amazed us! one of these is called trees every child should know by julia e. rogers (copyright 1909) and it is a full length, 250+ page guide to identifying trees native to the united states. i was immediately excited about the potential for this book to educate me about trees just as much as my children. and, what a concept that needs renewing… the fact that there are trees that every kid should know!

i’ve realized through the process of creating a children’s library in our home, how selective i actually am about the kinds of books that my children will read–at least at first. of course our library will grow once these children actually exist, and the shelves will undoubtedly be lined with ballerina and/or zombie tales, but for their early years i would like them to start off by connecting to reading in a different way. i want their reading to be linked with learning, awe, and the true nature of the world–that’s why i am drawn to books about nature, science, “magic,” and relationships.

the way i see it, there will be plenty of time for them to identify other exciting themes and topics that they want to read about (and i by no means plan to limit their interests in any way), but in the beginning of their understanding of reading, i want to be able to read them books into which i can graft my own awe and joy, so that my excitement about nature, animals, loving, and living will be palpable for them.

later, when they can read the words themselves, i fully expect to see them reading some books that i would not have been caught dead opening in my own childhood (really? the power rangers?).

it would seem that the books we’ve chosen supplement very well what we have chosen to do here on our homestead: work towards self-reliance, build relationships that last with each other and our land and animals, value nature and all that comes with that, and find awe and joy in the little (but very big!) things in life.

this is my sense of peace and happiness and i hope to instill that in my children, in a small part through the books that they hear me read to them as babies and as little, young, monkey kids.

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kids wondering… What Do Plants and Animals Need to Live?

Look around you! Notice how many plants and animals you see everyday, no matter where you live!

My two dogs, napping

My two dogs, napping

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A maple tree, turning yellow in autumn

 

Take just a moment to think of some animals that you see everyday…

Take just a moment to think of some plants that you see everyday…

All of these plants and animals that you see need certain things to live. Let’s take a look at what these things might be, and let’s think about how an animal might need different things to live than a plant might need.

Why don’t we think about a farm?

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Photo courtesy of Nicholas_T

What kind of plants live on a farm? Usually plants that the farmer grows to feed herself or to sell. Here are some of these plants:

corn

Photo courtesy of opencontent

green beans

Photo courtesy of wanko

What are some things that you think plants need to live?

All plants need water, soil, the sun, and nutrients!

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Photo courtesy of Joel Bramley

It’s pretty easy for a plant to get water… They can get it from the rain or from a watering can or hose.

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Photo courtesy of NRCS Soil Health

It’s pretty easy for a plant to get soil… Just plant it in the ground or in a pot filled with dirt.

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Photo courtesy of gr33n3gg

It’s pretty easy for a plant to get sun… Just plant it outside or place its pot near a sunny window.

But what about nutrients? What are these and how can plants get them?

Nutrients are kind of like the plant’s food. People get nutrients from the good things we eat, like vitamins and minerals. They are what keep us healthy. Nutrients that plants need come from lots of things, especially things that are breaking down, or rotting. But perhaps the easiest way to get nutrients that the plants need is to give them… Animal poop!

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Photo courtesy of Starr Environmental

On a farm, people use animal poop (called manure) to give their plants nutrients. This is one way you can see that plants need animals to survive.

Now let’s think about what animals need to live.

All animals need food, water, shelter, and love.

Let’s look at chickens on a farm to see how animals need these things…

Chickens need food, which is how they get their nutrients. We feed our chickens grains with vitamins inside and sometimes our leftover vegetables and meat. They also love to catch and eat bugs!

Chicken food!

Chicken food!

Chickens need water so that they do not get too hot from the sun or cold in winter. Water is important in an animal’s body because it helps their whole body work the right way!

Chicken's drinking water!

Chicken’s drinking water!

Chickens need shelter so they do not get too cold, hot, or wet. Our chickens live in a little house that protects them from weather and animals that might want to come and eat them! Can you think of some animals that might try to make chickens their food?

Shelter for the chickens!

Shelter for the chickens!

Also, animals all need love or companionship. Sometimes animals only need love from their mothers when they are babies but most animals need love and a group of friends to belong to their whole life. Chickens belong in their flock and they enjoy being a part of the group. Being a part of the group makes them feel happy and safe.

Chickens like to spend time with their flock, or group!

Chickens like to spend time with their flock, or group!

My dogs also love being a part of our family. Don’t you think people love being a part of a family, too?

My dogs snuggle together!

My dogs snuggle together!

Now that we’ve talked about what plants and animals need to live, let’s compare and contrast what they need.

Compare means to look at how two things are the same and contrast means to look at how two things are different.

How can you compare what plants and animals need to live?

How can you contrast what plants and animals need to live?

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