With responsibilities including school, friends, home and caring for animals, students who help out on their family farms must balance their busy schedules to fit everything in
REPORTING BY ALIVIA JIANG
On her farm in Lindley, freshman Alexandrea Wheaton brings a bucket of grain for her goats. “Owning animals has taught me more respect, and responsibility towards animals and how to treat people properly,” Wheaton said. “My parents taught me when I was very young that you need to treat the animals with respect and care, so you don’t get hurt.” photos by Alivia Jiang
As a high school student, it is often difficult to balance homework and after-school activities and still have enough time for family and home life. For some Caton and Lindley residents, owning animals brought on a whole new set of responsibilities.
Junior Kelsey Johnson began learning these skills at a young age. “I was three or four when I got my first pony, and ever since then, my mom has shown me how to clean her stall and do her water and everything, while my dad has taught me how to drive the tractors and use the machinery correctly,” Johnson said.
Farming has been a part of senior Cheyenne Balch’s family for decades. “When I was about three or four, I remember my grandpa taking me out on the tractor and just going out and following the cows around. My grandpa passed away when I
was five, and so many of my memories from when I was younger are with him because he helped our farm to develop into what it is today,” Balch said. “Farming has been
in my family for 40 years now, so I
just watch my family farm and pick
up the techniques.”
“One of my favorite experiences is at my friend’s farm when the baby goats are born. It is so amazing to watch, because it’s like you can see the miracle of life right before you.”
Cheyenne Balch, 12
As farm-dwelling students got older, more work was expected from them on their farms. “Compared to when I was younger, I have more responsibility on the farm. I do way more than just feeding and watering the rabbits,” freshman Alexandrea Wheaton said. Wheaton lives on a farm with 50 goats, three cows, three horses, three chickens and three rabbits. “Every morning, we have to come out and make sure they have hay and water for the day. At night, we make sure that they have hay and water, and on occasion, grain.”
The large workload that came with farming affected time management with schoolwork. “School does get stressful because there’s a lot to handle here at the farm and you always have a ton of homework to do,” Wheaton said. Aside from homework, extracurricular activities were also a factor. “Balancing school and my activities is extremely hard, because I am involved with so many things, from band to bowling, and then I have to go home and stay up to take care of my cows. It ends up being pretty difficult,” Balch said.
However, for some, farming was easy to balance with other activities when there was a proper schedule. “For me, it’s actually not that hard to balance farming and school,” freshman Dylan Almy said. “Chores don’t get in the way, and over the past couple of years, my parents and I have worked out scheduling, so I’ll get the eggs out after school, throw out a bag of hay for the horses, and then do my schoolwork.”
As they grew up and took on other endeavors, many made plans to continue farming in the future. “The animals are our pride and joy,” Almy said. To Balch, farming has been a part of her plans after she settles down and attends college. “When I grow up, I would love to have farm animals with my family,” said Balch. “It has always been a part of my family and it’s become who I am.”