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Local boy’s playground built on farming, imagination

Tucker Klinkenborg, 6, plays with his miniature toy farm that sits in his grandparents' basement. (Martina Baca / Daily Globe)1 / 3
Tucker Klinkenborg started building his toy farm when he was only 4 years old. Now, after two years, he has more than 100 pieces. (Martina Baca / Daily Globe)2 / 3
Tucker Klinkenborg uses unusual materials to create his farm, such as hamster bedding, coffee grounds and rice. (Martina Baca / Daily Globe)3 / 3

WORTHINGTON — Every time Tucker Klinkenborg arrives at the home of his grandparents, Tim and Laurie Blume, he greets them with a kiss, takes off his shoes and rushes down to his favorite place in the house — the basement — where a miniature toy farm stands.

Tucker spends hours upon hours putting together his farm, feeding the cows, fixing his tractors, repairing his combines and making sure everything runs smoothly.

“I just thought it was a good idea,” Tucker said.

It’s no surprise that Tucker is so invested in his miniature farm — he spends a lot of time at his family’s farm, which is just a couple of miles outside of Worthington. Tucker loves driving a combine with his grandfather, helping him feed the cattle and running around with his dogs, Rocky and Roxie.

“The first word Tucker said was tractor,” boasted his grandfather.

Tucker said he’s just getting ready for when he becomes a cattle farmer.

He began creating his farm when he was only 4 years old with the help of his uncle, Adam Blume, who gave him his first piece of machinery — a green toy tractor. It has been nearly two years since that first gift, and now the miniature toy farm has more than 100 pieces.

Tucker’s farm now has all of the amenities some farmers could only dream of. He is the proud owner of hundreds of green John Deere tractors, as well as green or red trailers, several barns, sheds, hog barns, field horses, a windmill, cows and bulls, just to mention a few.

“A lot of Christmas and birthday presents,” Amber Klinkenborg, Tucker’s mother, said of the origins of the growing collection.

The only thing Tucker’s farm is missing is a farmhouse, but he’s already working to build one.  

“I will probably build it with a couple of shoe boxes,” he said.

Tucker wouldn't have been able to create such an impressive farm without the help of his grandparents, who have given him most of the pieces.

“What haven’t we given him?” Laurie asked with a laugh.

Tucker’s imagination has no limits when it comes to improving his farm. Some of his ideas might come from John Deere videos or his family’s farm, but his outside-the-box thinking is what has taken his farm to what it is today. He uses hamster bedding as straw for his animals, coffee grounds for the fields and corn to feed his cows.

“I think it's pretty cool because he is very creative with it,” Amber said. “He gets to use his imagination in something he likes to do.”   

Although Tucker enjoys playing by himself, he said his grandparents often come down to the basement and join the fun.

“I mean, I go down there, but you can’t really touch anything,” Laurie said. “I mean, you can look, but you can’t touch anything.”

Tucker will make an exception when he can’t look after his farm and animals, letting Tim do some of the work.

“Well, he has to feed the cows when I am not here,” Tucker reasoned.

Eventually Tucker said he wants to display his farm to the public, when it gets bigger and he is satisfied with the way it looks, which according to Amber, will be in a couple of years.