Nearly everyone with a farm has a Farm Truck. A farm truck is a vital piece of farm equipment. It is often a rusted out, banged up, run until it drops, off road vehicle used for farm work. Our farm truck for years was an old rust-orange-red truck with torn hard vinyl seats, stuck windows and a muffler problem that was not road worthy but was great to have to do all the odd, dirty jobs needed on the farm.
One of the activities my kids and I particularly enjoyed with the farm truck was to take supplies, equipment, feed or tools to the back forty when the guys were doing the various duties needed to care for the livestock on our grass based farm. Our livestock looked a bit on the exotic side since they consisted of Scottish Highlander cattle with long shaggy coats and long horns with several varieties of colored sheep, goats and free range layers rotated thru the pastures.
To get to the back forty, we would go down our back lane which was built into the wooded areas with branches occasionally hanging down, banging and thumping the truck. The ruts in the lane combined with the poor shocks on the truck made for a bumpy, bouncy ride. All of these inconveniences added to the exhilaration and sense of adventure when you got to drive in the farm truck. The idea was to go fast enough to have fun but not have anyone bounce OFF or OUT! Often the kids would be laughing and exaggerating the motions in the car until we all were thoroughly enjoying ourselves and forgetting we were actually working! My kids began to talk about these excursions as safaris because we had sightings as the kids would watch out for animals on the way. They would make a big deal out of it by creating suspense and stories to go along with the real and imaginary animals they would catch sight of on the way.
The idea of farm safaris and animal sightings really took off when a new addition to our cattle herd came from the Kidron livestock auction. It was a young cross breed of some sort with a brindle type of coloring and a stubborn patch of winter coat that hadn’t shed over its shoulders. He had the wild eyes to match his wild look and an uncanny resemblance to a wildebeest with big sloping, high withered shoulders, a low set head, horns and a hind quarter built more for speed than bulk. Maybe we got it for a good price or maybe a gesture mistaken for the highest bid but either way it was on the farm and put out on our big pastures with the others. In addition to his odd appearance he was a renegade cow in personality as well because even the other cows acted as if this one was from some far off land!
So from then on our trips down the back lane in our old farm truck became farm ‘safaris’ and the person who was the first to spot the wildebeest in the flashes of beast, grass and trees thru the brush beside the winding lane earned what became comparable to getting the trophy on a wild safari.