UPDATE AT POST 75: Keeping the Farm Safe From ... "Family"
I would really like some input from those of you who have perhaps more experience at this than me. We have a lovely little farm here - 20 acres with a three-acre fishing lake, a 6-stall barn, four well-mannered horses, a swimming pool, a big "yard," and a place to play basketball. We also have a large extended family of city-dwellers ... and a long tradition of hosting 4th of July reunions. Well, I started all of that 30+ years ago, when I lived in a small town and could only offer a big back yard and that "small town flavor" to my city-dwelling family.
Through the years, the tradition continues and the family grows. And now, I have this little farm (for the past five years) and EVERYbody wants to come here for the 4th of July.
We had 35 people here yesterday!
Here's the deal -- one family brought TEN extra people, friends of theirs, that I did not even know. Nice enough folks, but dragging toddlers around. Clueless, acting like this was a trip to a petting zoo / amusement park and not someone's home.
Another member of the family lives in Canada -- so not a daily problem -- but they show up and their 6-year-old son is Satan's spawn. I am not kidding, there is something terribly WRONG with this child --he's the kind of kid who you just know is going to burn the barn down just to watch the flames. He runs out to the barn (unsupervised), where I am showing horses to the 90-year-old grandmother. Kid climbs up on a tack box and JUMPS ONTO THE GRANDMOTHER, taking her straight to the ground. Later, the story goes that one of my horses scared him and he fell into the grandmother -- all accidental. This was not the case. My horse did nothing, the kid did not FALL, he intentionally tackled grandmother to the ground.
Wind up the evening with about $200 worth of fireworks (or more), after I had said it would be okay for the little kids to have poppers and sparklers. And OF COURSE one of the "roman candles" falls over and shoots across the yard instead of into the air. No harm done -- this time.
Whew ... now the question. I know THAT is never going to happen again. But -- is there a way I can share this farm with my family without having this mad house and liability? I do not want to be the mean old lady who won't let anybody have any fun. The other children were well-behaved and had ever so much fun catching fish down at the lake with a very responsible uncle. Ninety percent of the people are responsible -- but no one will corral the 10 percent lunatics.
Short of just calling the party off forever (which I am definitely considering) -- are there diplomatic ways of protecting yourself, your farm and your animals while still allowing city-folk family to enjoy it, too??