Saturday, April 21, 2007

Sunny Saturday

A sunny weekend day usually means chores, but we promised ourselves a trip to Hancock Shaker Village, a historic farm/museum/preservation site only 30 minutes drive from our place. It was the last weekend of Baby Animals, and there was sheep we couldn't resist!

This round barn is the centerpiece of the farm - it's construction is magnificent! The whole place is awe-inspiring...what beauty there is in the peaceful and thoughtful pursuit of a way of life.

Inside were the baby animals - sheep, pigs, cows, and all sorts. Madison got to help bottle feed a lamb...
There were furniture and woodworking barns...

And we left feeling very satisfied and justified in the lifestyle choices we are making. Everywhere around us were families of all makes and ages, and the one thing that most had in common was their absolute amazement at farm life, and an unsettling ignorance of what the farm is/was all about.

A woman who had no idea what the shearer was doing to the poor ewe, and who was even more clueless as to how that stuff got to be yarn (You only have to do that once for each sheep, right? What?!? Every year? Doesn't that hurt the sheep?) A man who explained to his grandson that the 3-week-old chick, half-feathered and as large as pidgeon, was just hatched. Today. (And as soon as it gets all it's feathers, it will begin to lay an egg every day until it dies.) Another woman who thought maple syrup came right out of the trees, ready to go. (These recipes sound delicious, but who'd want to go to all the effort to cut their trees and get out the syrup? You cook it to get it that way? But, why?) And a man who couldn't tell the difference between a goat and a sheep, despite the big yellow signs that identified all the animals. (You have to look at the back, dear. Those ones with the big bags back there are goats, because that is where goat's milk comes from. And the ones with horns are all sheep. Curly horns are males, straight horns are females.)

We couldn't leave without perusing the gift shop, where DH found edibles, and the midget and I found books, books, and more books. (Gotta haves.)

Back at the ranch by 3:00, and the chores began. Rototilling, mailbox installation, feeding, and moving roosters, and more (pictures tomorrow!)

And we made a new friend.
Or, I should say, Madison made a new friend. This is a feral? cat that has been hanging around since last summer. She/he is sooooo timid, and has a very damaged right ear, and if my eyes don't deceive me, a funny gait with that back left leg. Perhaps abuse? What ever the circumstances, my patient and kind little midget spent all afternoon coaxing it out from under the porch with milk and cat food. She has dubbed "it" Max.


Kathy L. said...

Bless Madison's heart for taking in the cat! Our "Max" had been dropped off at the farm of a person who works with my abuse case. He, too, was "damaged" in more ways than one. But with time, and love and understanding, he has become a close friend and joy to have share our lives - even though he won't go near my DH unless said husband is sitting in MY chair. ;-) I would love to find whoever did whatever to Max and do it to them!

I never got the chance to go to Hancock, but have seen pictures of that incredible barn! Of course, I LOVE barns and wish I had one that size. The design is so ergonomical and efficient, if I remember correctly.

And isn't it astounding how many people wander through life without know where their food comes from, or that a cow (or goat) has to have offspring to give milk. I have a couple of "those people" as neighbors. Makes you wish the Darwin Patrol thinned our herd out once and a while, doesn't it? ;)

Beth in WI said...

Back when I used to work at a mall, oh 20 years ago, there was a farm-related event where one family set up a pen and bedding and let kids come up and pet their Holstein calf. Half the kids that petted it thought it was a dog. Makes me wonder why all the kids' shows today are about saving the rainforest when they know nothing about animals from their own area. Sigh.