Monday, February 18, 2013

Living Life Outside Of The Box

I was cleaning up the living room when I spotted it out of the corner of my eye.

The kids were scattered through the house working on their school assignments, so I used my most serious "Mom" voice to fire off a stern warning:

"KIDS! If I find this horse tooth sitting on my couch one more time, it's gonna be mine forever!"

As soon as I blurted the words out, I had to keep myself from chuckling because:

1. I have no desire to keep a 30 year old horse tooth for myself.
2. I'm not even sure what one does with an old, nasty tooth of this nature.
3. I instantly realized that this was an odd thing to be hollering across the house, and that most people don't have equine body parts lying on their couch.

Evidently, the horse tooth is a prized possession because my threat brought three children racing down the hallway to rescue the tooth from the wrath of Mom.

In an instant, I realized just how different our lives are from our urban counterparts.

While many of my children's friends were sitting in a classroom on Friday, our kids were with us at a vet appointment.  Armed with pencil, paper, and a camera, my daughter interviewed the vet as he floated her horse's teeth.

For 45 minutes she observed, asked questions, wrote down information, and took pictures of the whole process, including the tools and their names.

 Our two vets were incredibly generous and patient, taking the time to answer all of her inquiries while they worked.  They were PRICELESS!!! One vet was excited to bring out the skull of a 7 year old mare, and began to show the kids how the horse chews, what the horse's teeth look like, and how to tell the age of a horse.

Below is a tooth from the skull. He explained to the kids that a horse's teeth are about 4" long, and keep growing upward until eventually, they have worn down so far, there is nothing left to keep them in the mouth so they fall out.

The tooth below was really loose on Friday so the vet pulled it right out of our old horse's mouth and gave it to the kids. They compared its length to that of the 7 year old horse.

In addition to being present for the horse teeth floating, the kids also helped run the gates for heifer Bangs vaccinating, ear tattooing, and applying the metal ear clips.

After the afternoon spent with the vet, the kids went home with their new-found knowledge, combined it with  other research, and wrote a report.  Our son wrote his on animal identification methods, and our daughter wrote hers on horse teeth floating. Our littlest is doing her report on horse grooming.

Finally, they took their reports and turned them into presentations, complete with pictures and visual aids.  They'll present them orally to their entire 4-H group tonight.

I feel so blessed that through homeschooling, our kids have many opportunities to interact with great mentors in our community, learn things first hand (not just out of books in a classroom), and share their new knowledge with friends in a way that really challenges them to get out of their comfort zone.

Tonight, we returned from a trip to Dairy Queen and as we walked through the front door, my husband noticed the dog drop that old tooth out of its mouth and on to the floor. He must have retrieved it from the girls' bedroom.

My husband hollered, "KIDS! You better put that horse tooth away before the dogs try to eat it up!"

I just cracked up. It appears that the dogs think that old tooth is as much of a treasure as the children do.

Yes, we live life outside the "normal" box, but I wouldn't have it any other way.



  1. I currently have goats in the laundry room. My oldest daughter who is away at college has always wanted to get off of the farm and live in a city. Now when she comes home she says "I guess I liked living on a farm better than I thought." She has changed her major to animal science. You are planting wonderful seeds with your children.

  2. Our Girls have their 4-H speeches coming up this weekend....they are dreading them, but I know it'll be good for them!

  3. Awesome Info and Pictures. We also "pause" and shake our heads when something comes out of our mouth that sounds silly. "Oh, wow!" I never even imagine I would say so-and-so! Being a mother leaves me smiling, bobbing my head and sighing all over the house. ;)

  4. Oh my goodness, I laughed so hard at this! The exact same thing has happened to us! When my sister & I were little we hung onto horse teeth like they were gold.. Now that I think about it, I think my sister actually still has some teeth somewhere..

    I totally agree; homeschooling is SUCH a blessing!


  5. Nell, you guys live a life that most people can only dream of...and yes, you shouldn't want it any other way. You are such a good mama to boot...

    and why the heck is it that we do seem to find ourselves hollering the wildest things? This is our normal!?