While my oldest son was busy tending to his 4H steers all summer, my younger kids were charged with taking care of our three leppies (orphan calves).

The calves spend the day in a small pasture behind our barn. They eat grass, loll about in the shade and occasionally, when they are feeling frisky, they run and play.

Every evening, the kids bring the leppies into a small pen in the corral and lock them in for the night. They carefully measure out grain and haul water to the leppy pen.

In the morning, the kids open the gates and put the leppies out to graze for the day.

The leppies are the primary responsibility of my eight year old. He is learning so much from this experience. For instance, he has discovered that it is much easier to pack around coffee cans than five-gallon buckets. He is quite conscientious about the amount of grain he feeds his leppies, keeping track of how much they eat and when he needs to increase their feed.

My favorite thing is how much he watches the calves’ behavior. If he thinks one of them isn’t acting right or has a coug, or is fighting too many flies, he immediately tells me. Then he and I take care of the problem together. (The only problem we have had this summer has been too many flies. Yuck!)

My eight year old receives a great deal of assistance from his younger siblings.

Otherwise known as the “clothing-optional” crew.