Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Working Historical Farm

We went to a working historical farm today. They have 4 main areas, although one is being worked on: they represent the 1830's, 1860's, 1890's, and 1930's.

Our first stop was the 1830's. This farm house (above photo) was a LOT like the one we visited in the fall. Since we weren't on a tour, we just walked around and did what we wanted. After exploring the house, including some steep steps to the upstairs, Alexandra used a grinder to grind some corn. Then, we headed out to the pig pen to see the pigs. There were already some people there talking to one of the people who worked there (they were costumes from their time period). Well, we ended up hooking up with this large, extended family for the rest of the day. There were 3 other children about Alexandra's age, and one of the mom's used to be a tour guide at the ranch!!! She gave us an "insider's tour."

Next stop was the 1890's (as the 1860's is under "re"construction). We did get to ride a tram there and we tried to spot the alligator that often frequents the area. We found him lying on the shore as we passed over a bridge. Alexandra was glad we were on the tram... they say he is 15 feet long!!! I was sad I didn't get a photo, but glad that Alexandra didn't get scared as we were on the tram.
In the 1890's area, we first watched the blacksmith for quite a while. He made a S-hook and they gave it to Alexandra to keep!!! The "ex"guide had first asked if she could have it to keep, but then she passed it along to us as her daughter already has one. I'll have to take a photo of it. What a neat keepsake! And, he used wax to coat it!

The 1890's house (above photo) was wonderful. We learned lots of neat trivia, like how the men and women hit their flasks from each other. And, about a parasite that created beautiful patterns in the wood the house is made of. Because of pesticides, this parasite is now extinct and there will never again be any wood that looks like this.
The last stop was the 1930's. We mainly just watched the cowboy show. I took lots of pictures (I loved this!!!), so I'll just talk you through them.
One of the horses - named Blue

The 2 cowboys trying to get a lasso on the cow

The first cow we saw roped - they actually eventually put 2 ropes on him - one from each cowboy

Half-way there!

One cowboy will jump off his horse while the other holds a robe tight. Then, the cowboy gets the cow on his side. He pulls the tail between the cow's legs because the cow can't stand up without his tail to help him "balance!". The reason the rope the cows in the first place would be to help them - give them medicine, check out a problem, etc.

Trying to rope cow #2

Telling us about branding the cows. He also talked about how they would clip their horns when necessary (kind of like clipping our nails) and how they give the cows their bolus twice a year - they grab the cow by one horn, then hold on to him with his nostrils and use a tool to put the bolus into the cow's stomach. In the old days, the cowboy with the skinniest arms got this job. Yuck!

The last thing we watched was the cows swimming. This is actually the last working bath of the kind in the country. It was used to kill the ticks off of the cows. They used many horrible chemicals in the past that sometimes killed the cows, the cowboys, or the people who ate the meat. This is now just used for a demonstration and contains only water.

As you can tell, we had a wonderful day. And, the temperatures were in the 70's! Alexandra came home with a little corn doll that cost less than $2. You can't beat that! And, I came home with lots of photos.

1 comment:

Dana said...

Hi Dana
This looks like so much fun. I think our homeschool group does something similar but we didn't go this year because of a prescheduled trip to Disney - but I don't think it has live cowboys. My kids would love that. And that old farm house looks gorgeous. I wish I could see that wood pattern :) Thanks for sharing, you have such great ideas. I love reading them - Dana

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