July 7 2020 10:15 AM

Summer fun looks different this year, but I’m glad we have farm activities for the kids to enjoy.

Thanks to COVID-19 it is looking like all the summer fun has been canceled this year. I was doing alright with the restrictions, after all farm life mostly keeps us at home. But this week I realized we should be on our first big family vacation together, and it bummed me out.

We were due to fly to Canada to visit family, and it was going to be the first time our boys would ever be on an airplane. It was a trip we had all really been looking forward to for years. It seems the stars have to all align for dairy farmers to really get a vacation.

Even staying home has its disappointments. Many farm families look forward to the county, state, and national fairs and shows. Seeing them all being canceled has definitely been an additional blow to summer plans.

It is great to see everyone rally and try to figure out ways for the shows and sales to still continue. The creative and inventive strategies to support especially the youth and their projects is inspiring.

Just look at farm children and the ways they make creative summer fun right on the farm. Beach days in the freestall sand, water fights on those hot chore afternoons, and setting up the big stock tank as a swimming pool are a couple examples. Farm kids always seem to find the best ways to make the most of everything!

Sometimes I feel the Mom guilt setting in that farm life doesn’t offer the same summer enjoyment as the average kid. It’s our busiest season and often those fun plans have to take a backseat. Being forced to find our summer fun at home puts it into perspective how lucky we are to have the farm to build those memories on.

Darleen Sichley

The author is a third-generation dairy farmer from Oregon where she farms in partnership with her husband and parents. As a mother of two young boys who round out the family-run operation as micro managers, Darleen blogs about the three generations of her family working together at Guernsey Dairy Mama. Abiqua Acres Mann's Guernsey Dairy is currently home to 90 registered Guernseys and transitioned to a robotic milking system in 2017.