When I was younger, we found a stray cat that was living behind our garage. It looked healthy, but needed some extra love. We would bring it milk, sometimes an egg and our leftover dinner to eat. I would wake up early in the morning before anyone else got up just so I could spend a little more time with our new friend before heading off to school. At the time, it gave me something to care for, something to look forward to...a sense of purpose that I desperately needed at that time in my life.
This week, we had a donkey dropped off at our farm. My twelve year old had been devising a way to buy this animal from a friend, who at the time, wasn't selling it. In the end, she offered him $76, and the donkey showed up on our farm four days ago.
For those of you who know Presley, this story won't surprise you. She lives and breathes farm. She has a list (in order of importance) which farm animals she is saving up for and when she will be able to buy them. She has a map of our land and which future animals will live there and how the fencing should be laid out. She even has their future names picked out. She is the first one down to the barn to check on the cows, feed the chickens, water the rabbits, play with the new kittens, watch over the baby chicks and muck the barn.
And now. Well now, she has a new donkey. She has bribed our neighbor with peanut butter cookies to mow a trail between our place and theirs so that she can ride her donkey over for a visit. She has saved up enough money to buy treats, brushes and a bright green halter to give this farm creature some well needed love. When she wakes up in the morning and heads outside before anyone else wakes up, I know I won't see her again until breakfast is ready. This is what her unschooling life looks like. The freedom to spend her days how she chooses. And right now, she chooses to spend almost every waking hour with her new friend...
And really...that is the way it should be.