Hello, this is Simon.
I hope you all enjoyed your Golden Week. We didn’t get up to much, but we did go to a place called “Bokka no Sato”, a kind of farm experience theme park, for a one-day outing. It was a very enjoyable trip. The day before we left we were actually thinking about not going because we were all a little tired. But, after checking the forecast and seeing the weather would be great, we thought, “We should make hay while the sun shines.” and decided to go.
Even though it was long trip there, it was a pleasant drive in the mountains and I was actually thinking to myself, “I could keep doing this till the cows come home.” We got there in no time, and the first thing we saw was the playground. Our daughter headed straight for it. We had actually come to see horses and cows, not play in a park, which we could do anytime at home, but our daughter looked as happy as pig in mud, so we let her have fun there for a while.
Next we went on a kind of train that took us around the entire place. It was lovely. They had an old chapel and gardens with some 20,000 tulips. After that we suggested going to see the farm animals. However, our daughter wanted to go back to the playground. She didn’t want to see the farm animals. We tried to convince her, but she can be as stubborn as a mule. We agreed to let her have another short play, and then we would have a picnic lunch. We were a little worried that she would show no interest in the farm animals, because there was a playground. As they say, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”
We had a nice picnic lunch and then managed to persuade her to go to the farm animal area for ice cream. Walking though the area, we petted some cows and sheep, which was a new experience her. Then she saw the horse riding and really wanted to give it a try. She wanted to ride by herself but unfortunately was just under the height limit, so had to ride with me. She still enjoyed it a lot, and immediately wanted to go and do it again and again, which would have cost a fortune.
Luckily, we managed to distract her from the horses by taking her to the cow milking area. But unfortunately the milking had finished for the day. I was really looking forward to that because I had never done it before. I had also promised my daughter that morning that she would get to milk a cow, so I felt quite bad. It just goes to show, “Don’t your chickens before they hatch.” Our daughter was okay though, because she got to pet the calves, which she enjoyed.
We finished the day off with a delicious milk ice cream and then headed back home. All things said and done, it was a fun family trip away.
Going to “Bokka no Sato” reminded me of a few idioms related to farm animals, which I thought I would share with you.
“make hay while the sun shines”
The expression to “make hay while the sun shines”, means to take advantage of a good situation while it lasts (e.g. I have been getting a lot of work offers recently, so I’m gonna make hay while the sun shines.) In the case of my family we decided to take advantage of the nice weather while it lasted.
“keep doing this till the cows come home”
To do something “till the cows come home” means to do it for a very long time. It is often used to talk about doing something that is pointless and to emphasize that (e.g. You can make new rules until the cows come home, but unless you enforce them, they are without meaning.) In my case I was simply enjoying the drive, so felt I could continue just doing that.
“happy as a pig in mud”
Pigs apparently love mud, so if someone is “happy as a pig in mud” they are in their happy place (e.g. He’s as happy as a pig in mud now that he’s back with his old friends.)
“Stubborn as a mule”
The expression “stubborn as a mule” simply means to be very stubborn, as mules are said to be very stubborn animals.
“You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”
This expression means that you can give a person the opportunity to do something, but you can’t force them to do it. Or, more simply, people will only do something if they themselves want to.
“don’t count your chickens before they hatch”
This expression means that you shouldn’t make plans based on assumptions, or things that you don’t know for certain will happen (e.g. He wanted to book a nice restaurant to celebrate at, after he passed the test. I told him not to count his chickens before they hatch.)
If you get the opportunity, give some of these a try.
See you next month!
Hello! My name is Simon.
I am from New Zealand, and have been living and teaching English in Japan since 1999.
My hobbies include movies, playing the guitar, gardening and hiking.