Monday, May 21, 2012

Life on the Farm

Ever since we moved to the East Coast, almost 3 years ago, I have wanted to do a farm stay--pack up the kids for a weekend and stay on an actual working farm with animals, a big garden--the whole thing.  Greg diligently researched all sorts of options but ultimately he found and liked this place the best:

...a bed and breakfast very close to the heart of Amish country in Lancaster County and about a 2 hour drive for us.  Greg had come across an article on the place in The New York Times.  And even though the article was written in 2004, our experience was pretty close to the writer's...not much has changed...the place is celebrating 45 year in business.  Pretty amazing.  We were the only first-timers out of the 8 families who were there this weekend; this was the 6th annual visit for one of the families.

Eileen and Galen Brenner, 75 & 78 are the of the house date back to the Revolutionary War and the property is believed to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad.  Now, its an 130 acre dairy farm with 550 cows and since 1965 its been a thriving bed and breakfast....they are pretty much booked solid with reservations because people make them a year in advance (upon checking out for the next year!)  The only reason we got in is because Greg checked the website and their was a last-minute cancellation that we grabbed...

This is Rocky, the 2 month old baby pet goat.  A totally awesome, adorable little creature that followed us around like a puppy....At dusk, he would do little twists and kicks and run around having fun, feeling its oats, I guess(?).  So sweet and I nearly tucked him away in our car when we left--this little guy has so much personality, we all fell hard for him!

After breakfast, there were all sorts of rides for all the kids: Pony rides on Cookie--the miniature horse.  A sort of home-made train ride--with each kid in their own 50-gallon drum converted to a little train car. And a hay ride that took us around the gorgeous country-side and thru an old covered bridge.

After this we headed for Lancaster County and went to the touristy town of Intercourse--which (besides having a name that is hard to say with a straight face) is the heart of Amish County...We found it to be pretty commercialized but we got some really good home-made pretzels...

(Immergut--always good!)

The best part about the town, to us, was the Amish Quilt Museum we came across...these photos do not do it justice but the quilts were all made by Amish women and were truly spectacular.  The pattern for top photo is called Cathedral Windows and over 30 yards of muslin were used to make it. The one below is a Queen-sized quilt that is all entirely hand stitched across one single piece of fabric...I can't even really wrap my brain around that kind of was beyond beautiful.

After seeing the town, we did some back-country touring; we came across Lapp Vally Farm and stopped there for ice cream...I am not exaggerating when I say that this was probably the best ice cream I have ever had in my entire life.  It probably also had the highest fat content of any ice cream I have ever had in my entire life, but at $2 a cone, how could we not try it..

This is a busy time of year in the country and we saw many men and horses plowing fields--getting ready to plant.  We saw horse-drawn buggies racing along, a horse-drawn wagon full of little boys with straw hats and Amish-style haircuts.  We saw little girls making their way down long country roads on a sort of push scooter.  It is all so gorgeous to me and we felt sort of odd intruding...I certainly did not take any photos.  Just tried to smile and say hi when appropriate.  I can't help feel like they have it right and if I could,  I would give up all this modern mumbo jumbo, in a heart beat, to live like them--simply and close to the land; making everything that is needed...I know it is not an easy life (I think "easy" can be a bit over-rated), but their lifestyle of community, hard-work, and making things by hand does seem, to me, more closely to how we humans are supposed to be living...

but, oh,  anyway, back to the farm...
(The Amish just make me wistful...)

When we got back from our outing, some new friends that we met over breakfast were headed to the creek to go fishing...we asked if we could tag along and pretty soon Magda and Luca were getting their first fishing lessons.  

Crazy enough, Magda caught her very first fish!
 After some help in getting it free, 
she set it back in the water and watched it swim away...

The worms were HUGE, by the way...biggest ones I have ever seen.  Our new friends bought them from a couple Amish boys: $2 for a dozen; dug up fresh to order!

The kids fell in love with all the animals but Luca had a special affection for a little lamb and Magda, as you can guess, wanted to take one the kittens home. 

(I could have been convinced, but Greg wasn't having it...)

Rocky Acre Farm is a very special place and the kids had such a great time.  
It just seemed kind of natural fit, the way it should be: kids on a farm...
It was like they were right at home.

Made me want to pack up the city living and head out to the country for good!!

One of these days, we just might do that...

1 comment:

  1. A “farm-filled” weekend is something kids should look forward to. Playing around the farm can expose children do different kinds of stimuli which may enhance their imagination and calculative skills. From those photos, I can see how happy your kids were! Considering living in a farm after retirement is not a bad idea. You should start saving some money now for your future farm house!