We had a big storm on Sunday night full of brilliant lightening very close to where we live. Dave said it was the closest and most amazing electrical storm he has ever witnessed. True to nature, I slept through the whole thing. The storm brought cooler temperatures and the lack of running water to our building. With these two facts in mind, I scurried us out the door and headed for a park I knew and loved.
When I was a new mama to one and then two little people, I would travel to Virginia and visit my sister. Our children are very close in age and had been very close friends. She would take me many places during our multi-week visits. We toured dairy farms, had fun at fall festivals sliding down huge metal slides, attended La Leche League meetings, went to dinosaur parks and had a regular grand time. It was during these visits that I first went to Frying Pan Park. I decided a return visit was needed while we were in this part of the country.
As we pulled into the farm, the kiddos main focus was the playground near the country store. They had no idea what other treasures the farm held as they were too young to remember their earlier visits. We parked and headed for the barns. Benton ran eagerly ahead of us. His main focus was the tractors. He loves big machinery and seriously wants an excavator for his birthday - not a toy, but a real one. We began wandering through the barns viewing a piglet and its mama. Eamon and Aine couldn't believe how big the pigs were. The goats, horses and calves were all in the fields, but only the kids(nubian goats born in March and April) were coaxed to come closer to the fence for a bit of petting. We found bunnies in a hutch and a lot of chickens nearby in a henhouse. Turkeys, waterfowl, and peafowl were at the end of the path. Aine asked an employee what he was doing and he told us all about mucking out the pens and laying down straw for the animals. He also pointed us in the direction of more pigs and piglets outside.
After a snack break and some time playing on the playground, we decided to head home. As we piled into the car, I noticed the big pigs were in the outside enclosure. We scrambled back out of the car and toward the barn again. I only brought the keys as I figured it would be a short trip. Running ahead, Eamon and Aine spotted only the two adult hogs outside; they proceeded into the barn to find the piglet and mama. Squeals of delight met my ears as they came bounding out to tell me there were three piglets and they were busy nursing inside. What a treat. We stood and watched awhile remarking on the size and fervor of the smallest one. His name should definitely be Wilbur.
After a bit we checked to see what other animals had returned to the barn. We pet the calves and even were able to touch the two Percheron horses. This was a huge treat as Aine loves everything horse. The three kiddos stood on the fence and Aine braided the manes of the two large animals with a bit of help from her brothers. I checked the time and noted that it was near milking time. Again the kiddos expressed delight as they ran to the area for milking. Full of enthusiasm and oh so many questions, the four of us watched as the gentleman showed up how to milk a cow and explained the process. He then hooked up a machine to do the bulk of the milking. Without its help, it could take him an hour to milk the one cow. Each of the kids were able to milk her. They were fascinated. We talked with the employee about raw milk, separating cows and calves and a whole host of other questions on animal husbandry (one having to do with the boar's rather prominent anatomy).
Filled we said goodbye again to the animals and headed to the car. Benton loved the machines, Aine the horses and Eamon the bunnies. Each had so much fun and told Dave all about the adventure when we arrived home. Fortunately after running a few errands together we returned home to running water. What a great day indeed.