In show-biz, they say never work with kids or animals. I think it is fairly safe for bloggers though. Meet my 2 year old niece Kasey. She has come to visit Grandma (my mom) for the weekend. In true farmer fashion, I decided as long as she is here, she may as well help get some work done. (One of the advantages of being an Uncle, is being able to pester your sister's kids, then run away before it turns ugly!) "I see some tomatoes are ready in Grandma's garden. Let's go get 'em."
Before we make it to the garden, Grandma is there to make sure all of the safety rules are enforced. Kasey looks for me to rescue her, but rules is rules. First you have to pin back your hair so it doesn't get in your eyes. Then we need shoes to protect our feet from sharp objects. I dragged Kasey to the garden before Grandma got the safety glasses and shin guards on her.
Kasey is a fast learner and was soon plopping tomatoes into the bucket. "Good job, but see this one, it's red." A couple more hit the bucket. "That's great, see if you can find a red one." Kasey, uninterested in the color, is good at picking both green and red ones. Oh well, Grandma has lots of tomatoes! I don't try to explain about not tossing them in the bucket. Green tomatoes are hard to squish.
Soon, we are both sweating. In her discomfort, Kasey discovers that someone has put something in her hair! With a few yanks, the band holding her bangs back is gone, and she takes on the appearance of a miniature blonde Elvis. As she watches Uncle Paul, her ratio of red to green tomatoes increases. She watches adults closely and likes to imitate everything she sees. Uncle Paul is about to mess up...
While Kasey continues her tomato training, Uncle Paul heads to the other end of the garden for a little clean up work. Grandma had a bunch of volunteer squash that start out looking like zucchini, but quickly change into some hard skinned pumpkin-cross kinda thingys. Since you can't cut them, I whack them on the fence to split them, then toss them over the fence to the cows. I soon become aware of Kasey yelling "Moos, Moos" over and again. I knew what to expect. I turned to see tomatoes, both red and green, flying through the fence. I gave her credit for squishing most of them on the fence first.
I don't mean to accuse her of doing her job incorrectly, It's just that kids don't work well unsupervised until the age of 3 or 4. I returned to Kasey's end of the garden and we continued plopping tomatoes into the pail together. Once all of the red ones were picked, it was a little hard to convince her to stop. By taking off with the bucket, I was able to lure her from the garden. She followed along yelling "No No" and flinging green ones at me. It was a good experience. Grandma got her tomatoes picked, Kasey got to play in the garden, and the Moos are glad to have something other than pumpkin-cross thingys to eat.