By Maverick Guenther
Maverick Guenther is a 13-year-old student in the Cambria-Friesland School District in Wisconsin, who wrote this story as a class assignment.
I am 13 years old, and live in rural Wisconsin. My family and I live on a farm and have a lot of different animals. The most interesting thing on our farm would be our elk. We also have horses, donkeys, chickens, goats, rabbits, cats and dogs. My dad even owns a dairy farm with his brother about three miles from our house.
My family started raising elk since before I was born. At one time we had over 100, but we have decided to lower our numbers. We used to go to farmers markets to sell the meat, but it wasn’t profitable to continue. I remember having to get up really early on Saturday morning to get to Milwaukee before the market started. We also sold elk antlers and hides. Elk meat has spoiled me forever. I can’t eat beef, because it is simply too fatty. Right now we have about 20 elk, and we think that’s too low of a number to have.
Last summer, my older brother decided he wanted to start raising mules. My mom went to an auction, and now we have two donkeys and six horses. One of the donkeys is spotted, and the other is a miniature. Our horses are an assortment of colors like bay and palomino. We have also bought four ponies, two that are just fillies yet. Two are Ponies of the Americas, and the other ones are driving ponies. I really enjoy riding horses, and I’m glad we got them.
My aunt has a little farm, and she raises chickens along with other animals to sell. Eventually, she got so many customers buying her chickens that she came over to persuade me to start raising chickens also. Our chicken coop needed some repair, and then two summers ago I saved up enough money to buy feeders, waterers and chicks. I had to make fence, and get up early to give them fresh water every day. Last summer I bought 400 chicks and had so much fun raising them.
On our farm we also have four rabbits and two goats. We have countless "wild" cats and two dogs that live in the house. In my spare time I milk cows and feed the calves on my dad’s farm. When I’m older I think I want to take over the farm with my sister, to continue the family tradition.
All of my friends beg to come over to my house. They always want to see our animals, and sometimes there are even new ones from the last time they were over. They just don’t understand what farm life is really like, but some weekends they get a taste of the joys and discomforts.
I think our farm is the true definition of a hobby farm because we have so many different animals. I believe that to grow up on a farm is a great experience. I have learned responsibility from a young age. Farming isn’t all fun because you have to clean cages, and feed animals every day. I love all of our animals, and I don’t know what I would do if we didn’t live on a farm.