We were talking with Peter Hirst and he mentioned this AMA overlooked disorder: Nature Deficit Disorder. We find that when children come to the farm, they delight in their access to animals, plants, dirt. They love, in a word, nature. I realized today what it means for children to experience nature for what it is–not the Disney version.

Today our other milk goat had her babies. One made its arrival quietly, the other had a full audience. Rachel (5) knew that we had to watch for the “after born” once the baby was born. Everyone but Jim also knows that sometimes a baby goat doesn’t live, or needs extra care to pull through. They also know there had to be a Mommy and a Daddy to have babies. Not too many secrets exist if you live close to nature. Everything from conception to death will likely eventually come up.

The garden is another venue for combatting Nature Deficit Disorder. Several children have had to be introduced to the vegetables they eat while the veggie is still in the dirt. The more we learn the more we can share with them that nature is what you see, but it’s also the things in the dirt that you can’t see. Helping with planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, and eating one’s food is a great learning tool. My sister has a suburban garden–the only one in her neighborhood. She sees the effect more so than we do as the local kids watch, sometimes help, sometimes taste, her produce. It’s enlightening for them to see the connection between food and dirt. Sometimes they don’t want to know, but a degree of knowledge is a good thing.