This summer we participated in the Fresh Air Fund Program. This programs provides a free country experience to kids of New York city from disadvantaged communities. We had a seven year old girl, Jada, come to stay with us for a week. She arrived Tuesday, August 9th in the evening and left for home early Thursday, August 18 – giving her seven full days at our home. The Fresh Air Program encourages you to keep your life “normal” and integrate the child into your life. The child should function in your family like another family member, helping out with chores and obeying the rules set for your family. You do not need to go out and do anything special with them, but simply let them enjoy life in a different environment.
The bus from New York arrived at around 6:45 on Tuesday, August 9. During the 10 minutes drive home Jada fell asleep. It had been a long day for her, her mom said she had to be up at 5:30 to catch the bus.
But a little bit of food revived Jada once we got home and she did some exploring around the house and the property. Rob had the truck home for the night and so the kids took the opportunity to climb all over it and check it out.
The next day was a day of exploring and “settling in”. The girls took Jada around the property to see the various aspects of our home. They climbed up into the barn loft to see the girls pioneer fort and play in it for a bit. It was at this time that I began to suspect that she had allergies and the barn may not be such a good place for her as she started coughing while in the barn and for a good few hours after that.
There were still some round hay bales left in the barn so they did some jumping and climbing on them.
Jada’s signature wave. At first she would do her princess wave everytime the camera came out, but eventually that wore off.
We wandered over next door to the neighbours so Jada could have an opportunity to collect eggs
and chase chickens
oh … and a poor old blind and deaf dog, well not really chase him, just carry him around.
In the afternoon the kids decided to go for a walk in the fields across the road.
While on their walk they discovered a really big mud puddle … with lots of eewwwwwy, goooooeeeeyyyy, ickkkkkkkkyyyyyy, squishyyyyy mud
And they decided to have a little bit of fun
After cleaning up the mud and having some supper we headed off to Dave and Ange’s so the kids could go see the little piggies in the barn. Our kids love going with Rob when he does chores for Dave, it seems to spark some of those vague childhood memories for the girls of when we lived on the farm.
Jada had no fear of the pigs and was in there with the other kids catching and playing with the piggies.
Matthew also has no fear and loves going to the barn
Once they had had their fill of playing with the piggies we returned home with a few extra kids and they all went for a swim.
I previous wrote how our old dog, Muddy, chewed up our pool last year … leaving us not-so-happy, to put it mildly. But it all turned out okay in the end. Some weeks after Muddy chewed up the pool I received an e-mail response to an ad I had posted on Freecycle at the beginning of the summer when I was looking for a ladder for the pool. A lady had a ladder. I guess I was still fired up enough about how we ended up without a pool that in my response I said we had one available also since we no longer had a pool thanks to our dog. She responded that she had a pool too and we were welcome to it. Since you never know what you get with these blow-up pools we warned the kids not to get too excited until the pool was actually up. Well the pool went up in the middle of July (after our trip to Ottawa for lack of time before that), with only one small hole that we patched and was thoroughly enjoyed by all (but myself since I don’t really swim much) this summer. It was bigger and deeper then last years pool making it a perfect size for everyone. Matthew could just stand on the bottom and yet it was deep enough for the girls and Rob to still have room to play and “swim”.