Living on a farm, a Wapakoneta Elementary School first-grader helps feed the calves and pigs and even gets to drive a Ford tractor.
“It’s not fake, it’s real,” Tyler Houser says. “It’s like 10 feet in the air. I’ve been driving it for a year and a half and I’m pretty good at it.”
But he’s quick to note he doesn’t drive cars, just the tractor around his family’s rural Wapakoneta farm.
With it, he fills in holes, covers spots, picks up rocks and uses the forks to lift straw bales for bedding.
Tyler still rides with his dad in the sprayer and loves it when he drives fast.
“It’s pretty fun, especially when we get in a dust tornado,” Tyler said.
He said he looks forward to being old enough to plant and spray by himself, but he realizes he will need help when he’s first beginning to make sure he’s lined up straight and knows what to push.
He and his older brother feed the animals from a four-wheeler with one driving and the other riding on the back with a bucket of grain.
“I remember being on the
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farm even when I was growing up,” Tyler said.
One of the middle brothers of four — Keith, a third-grader, Grant, 5, and Daron, 3 — the son of Laura and Aaron Houser said he likes it that way.
“It’s cool,” Tyler said. “I didn’t want a sister.”
In addition to working on the farm, the brothers all like to play on the farm. They really like to play farm, with one being the farmer and the others being the farm animals.
“I like being the farmer, swatting my brothers, the animals, if they don’t move like I tell them to,” Tyler said. “I give them a smack on the butt.”
The boys also play Army, taking advantage of some pretty clever hiding spots.
“I like to hide back where all the stuff is,” Tyler said. “My brothers get so confused when I hide there that they could end up looking all over the county.”
They also play hunt deer, elk, moose, wild hogs, bears and sometimes mountain goats using a fake rifle that sounds like a real gun.
Tyler plays baseball and basketball and in one more year he can play football, which means no more being waterboy for his older brother’s team.
“Mom thinks I would be a good safety because I’m fast and crazy, a wildman,” Tyler said.
He said football is going to be his favorite sport.
Tyler watches football on TV, but said while his mother wants him to like the Ohio State Buckeyes he likes the Michigan Wolverines. Sometimes he also watches the NFL and cheers for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“They have really good players and have made it all the way to the Super Bowl,” Tyler said.
In baseball, Tyler said he likes winning and creaming the other team while he enjoys playing with some good teammates in basketball.
“I’m going to keep playing those three sports,” Tyler said. “My mom doesn’t want me to do wrestling, but I want to, I think it would be fun lifting people. We’re not allowed to do that at school but I wish we were.”
In school, Tyler likes math because when they are done with problems sometimes they get to play games and count coins, but lunch and recess are his favorite “activities.”
Tyler said the family has a lot of plans for the summer, trips to Michigan to see the sand dunes and Wisconsin for his dad to eat real cheese curds.
“Mom wants to eat them every day, but they have too many calories,” Tyler said.
He said they are taking part in a weight loss game and have to eat and drink things with zero calories.
During the summer Tyler said he’s also going to go see his first 3D movie and maybe make a trip to Iowa to visit one of his father’s friends. They often swim at the Wapakoneta WaterPark or go down to the beach at Indian Lake.
“We might go see Mount Rushmore and to see the Badlands,” Tyler said of the two national parks in South Dakota. “I have no clue what that is.”
Tyler enjoys listening to music on his father’s truck radio or his mom’s iPod, especially songs like “Ol’ Red” and “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”
Tyler said he likes “Ol’ Red” because it’s funny and “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel because it is really cool.
“Mom brings her little I thingy (iPod) and puts on Rush, but I get annoyed,” Tyler said. “That’s her thing not mine.”
His favorite foods are corndogs, hotdogs, corn on the cob, sweet corn off the cob, and pizza, as long as the crust isn’t plain bread, but stuffed with cheese.
With his brown eyes sparkling, Tyler said someday, in addition to farming, he would like to be a professional football player — a safety.
“You get more teammates than little kids, you get to play with like 40 people,” Tyler said. “You’re always on TV. It’s a really fun sport and those people who play for the NFL are big and really tough. I want to be like them.”
With Mother’s Day Sunday, Tyler said his mother is so great because she doesn’t care how late they sleep in on the weekends, even if one time his father was very disappointed in all of them for sleeping in until 9:30 a.m.
He said he also realizes the hard work it takes to put up with all those guys in one house.