A nice place to visit...

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Those acquainted with the Jefferies family will be quick to agree (between stifling hearty gales of laughter) when I point out that ours is not a farm family. Sure, we know where farms are, what they're for and generally what goes on there. But for the most part, alas, we're grateful suburb dwellers, happy in our white-collar world where our land is measured in lots rather than acres. Heck, I can't even manage to grow tomatoes bigger than a golf ball.

But every autumn, thanks both to my role as roving photographer here at the Review and to the pleas of a certain nine-year-old, we find ourselves traipsing around the countryside at various haunted barn/corn maze affairs, along with an assortment of other fish-out-of-water types aiming to introduce their young to the wonders of rural life. At worst, we end up in a sneezing fit thanks to overexposure to an abundance of hay; at best we get a little insight into human nature in oh, the most amusing ways.

For example, if you put up a sign warning that "This animal will bite," why is it the first thing most people do is try to pet it? At one barn, as I watched a much-pierced woman and her toddler rub the muzzle of a very placid donkey below just such a sign, I realized that the farm owner must have been employing a little reverse psychology; the petters and the pettee seemed to be getting along famously - and no one lost any fingers in the process.

Also, out on the farm, visitors are much more relaxed about the eating etiquette of their offspring. Mothers who, I'm sure, would ordinarily be rushing around behind their progeny with a pack of wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer are much more laid-back about the whole cleanliness rule. Either that, or they just don't want to seem uptight and figure it's okay once in a while to let junior pet a few goats, dig in the corn-box and then eat a hot dog without washing up first. And they're probably right.

Specific to Halloween, I've noticed that parents who usually support and protect and nurture their children, kind of lose it at these themed farm outings.

For those who've never been, the afternoon version of a haunted hayride, for example, can actually turn out to be quite a cheesy affair, as you can see all the strings that make the wizardry work. In one case, characters who can move stealthily under cover of darkness, are visible during daylight hours, rushing from one side of the field to another to pull off the next scary surprise. Nothing at all to be frightened of, even for the weakest-hearted among us.

Still, one father on just such a recent excursion wouldn't let it go. When a Leather-face imposter ran after our tractor, screaming and waving a chainsaw, one little guy looked on impassively.

"Aren't you scared, he's pretty scary, isn't he?" asked dad.

"Nope."

"But don't you think he's going to come and get you? He might be up ahead, waiting for you..."

"Uh..."

Needless to say, by the next stop on the spooky tour, the poor kid was looking for sanctuary in the safe arms of his mother. Who was chuckling away at junior's terror.

Yes, a visit to country just seems to bring out a whole other side to some of us.

And if it's a more relaxed, devil-may-care, fun-loving side, well, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Unless that donkey really does bite.

A nice place to visit...

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Those acquainted with the Jefferies family will be quick to agree (between stifling hearty gales of laughter) when I point out that ours is not a farm family. Sure, we know where farms are, what they're for and generally what goes on there. But for the most part, alas, we're grateful suburb dwellers, happy in our white-collar world where our land is measured in lots rather than acres. Heck, I can't even manage to grow tomatoes bigger than a golf ball.

But every autumn, thanks both to my role as roving photographer here at the Review and to the pleas of a certain nine-year-old, we find ourselves traipsing around the countryside at various haunted barn/corn maze affairs, along with an assortment of other fish-out-of-water types aiming to introduce their young to the wonders of rural life. At worst, we end up in a sneezing fit thanks to overexposure to an abundance of hay; at best we get a little insight into human nature in oh, the most amusing ways.

For example, if you put up a sign warning that "This animal will bite," why is it the first thing most people do is try to pet it? At one barn, as I watched a much-pierced woman and her toddler rub the muzzle of a very placid donkey below just such a sign, I realized that the farm owner must have been employing a little reverse psychology; the petters and the pettee seemed to be getting along famously - and no one lost any fingers in the process.

Also, out on the farm, visitors are much more relaxed about the eating etiquette of their offspring. Mothers who, I'm sure, would ordinarily be rushing around behind their progeny with a pack of wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer are much more laid-back about the whole cleanliness rule. Either that, or they just don't want to seem uptight and figure it's okay once in a while to let junior pet a few goats, dig in the corn-box and then eat a hot dog without washing up first. And they're probably right.

Specific to Halloween, I've noticed that parents who usually support and protect and nurture their children, kind of lose it at these themed farm outings.

For those who've never been, the afternoon version of a haunted hayride, for example, can actually turn out to be quite a cheesy affair, as you can see all the strings that make the wizardry work. In one case, characters who can move stealthily under cover of darkness, are visible during daylight hours, rushing from one side of the field to another to pull off the next scary surprise. Nothing at all to be frightened of, even for the weakest-hearted among us.

Still, one father on just such a recent excursion wouldn't let it go. When a Leather-face imposter ran after our tractor, screaming and waving a chainsaw, one little guy looked on impassively.

"Aren't you scared, he's pretty scary, isn't he?" asked dad.

"Nope."

"But don't you think he's going to come and get you? He might be up ahead, waiting for you..."

"Uh..."

Needless to say, by the next stop on the spooky tour, the poor kid was looking for sanctuary in the safe arms of his mother. Who was chuckling away at junior's terror.

Yes, a visit to country just seems to bring out a whole other side to some of us.

And if it's a more relaxed, devil-may-care, fun-loving side, well, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Unless that donkey really does bite.

A nice place to visit...

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Those acquainted with the Jefferies family will be quick to agree (between stifling hearty gales of laughter) when I point out that ours is not a farm family. Sure, we know where farms are, what they're for and generally what goes on there. But for the most part, alas, we're grateful suburb dwellers, happy in our white-collar world where our land is measured in lots rather than acres. Heck, I can't even manage to grow tomatoes bigger than a golf ball.

But every autumn, thanks both to my role as roving photographer here at the Review and to the pleas of a certain nine-year-old, we find ourselves traipsing around the countryside at various haunted barn/corn maze affairs, along with an assortment of other fish-out-of-water types aiming to introduce their young to the wonders of rural life. At worst, we end up in a sneezing fit thanks to overexposure to an abundance of hay; at best we get a little insight into human nature in oh, the most amusing ways.

For example, if you put up a sign warning that "This animal will bite," why is it the first thing most people do is try to pet it? At one barn, as I watched a much-pierced woman and her toddler rub the muzzle of a very placid donkey below just such a sign, I realized that the farm owner must have been employing a little reverse psychology; the petters and the pettee seemed to be getting along famously - and no one lost any fingers in the process.

Also, out on the farm, visitors are much more relaxed about the eating etiquette of their offspring. Mothers who, I'm sure, would ordinarily be rushing around behind their progeny with a pack of wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer are much more laid-back about the whole cleanliness rule. Either that, or they just don't want to seem uptight and figure it's okay once in a while to let junior pet a few goats, dig in the corn-box and then eat a hot dog without washing up first. And they're probably right.

Specific to Halloween, I've noticed that parents who usually support and protect and nurture their children, kind of lose it at these themed farm outings.

For those who've never been, the afternoon version of a haunted hayride, for example, can actually turn out to be quite a cheesy affair, as you can see all the strings that make the wizardry work. In one case, characters who can move stealthily under cover of darkness, are visible during daylight hours, rushing from one side of the field to another to pull off the next scary surprise. Nothing at all to be frightened of, even for the weakest-hearted among us.

Still, one father on just such a recent excursion wouldn't let it go. When a Leather-face imposter ran after our tractor, screaming and waving a chainsaw, one little guy looked on impassively.

"Aren't you scared, he's pretty scary, isn't he?" asked dad.

"Nope."

"But don't you think he's going to come and get you? He might be up ahead, waiting for you..."

"Uh..."

Needless to say, by the next stop on the spooky tour, the poor kid was looking for sanctuary in the safe arms of his mother. Who was chuckling away at junior's terror.

Yes, a visit to country just seems to bring out a whole other side to some of us.

And if it's a more relaxed, devil-may-care, fun-loving side, well, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Unless that donkey really does bite.