Saturday, December 13, 2014

Simple Times Farm

We stepped back in time to a more simple way of life on a recent field trip.  We visited Simple Times Farm with one of our homeschool groups.  I fell in love the moment I set foot on the property.  Oh, how I wish we could do something like this!

The farm is ran by a family that has home schooled their own children.  The parents and children live on the farm and put on the tours.  They moved to the area and lived totally off the grid for a year, but today have a few modern conveniences.  The tour area has none of the modern conveniences, therefore the area feels very colonial.

We were introduced to the colonial time period by Mrs. Eubanks.  She explained the era to the children and asked several questions.  It was a full participation presentation.

Mrs. Eubanks daughter, Melissa, introduced the children to art of spinning wool.  She explained how the wool was collected and then how it was processed.  The first part was to pick the wool.  She told them that children as young as three years would help pick the wool.  Then the picked wool had to be carted or combed.  This job typically fell to a child of five or six years.  She explained why the process was important and that children generally did this chore for thirty minutes at a time.  Finally, the wool was ready to spin.  She then demonstrated the process as her mother explained different ways to spin the wool.  It was very interesting.  Through the spinning process, the wool could be made into thread or yarn.  They showed various examples and explained the process of dyeing the wool to get different colors of yarn.  Egee was very interested.

After the spinning demonstration, we began a tour of the livestock.  We learned about the turkeys, chickens, donkeys, billy goat, emus, roosters, goats, sheep, guineas, and dog.  If the animal had a name, it was considered a pet.  If the animal was not named, it was considered food.  The Eubanks are completely self-sufficient in the meat department.  Mrs. Eubanks told us that it wasn't a good year for their turkeys having poults.  They had a snake problem and lost the turkey eggs to the snakes.  So, they have put golf balls in the nests of the turkeys and are trying to rid the area of the snake problem.

The children then learned about washing clothes the old fashion way.  They dipped the rag into the water then applied lye soap to it.  Next, they rubbed it on a wash board.  After it was scrubbed, it was put into a large pot to be rinsed.  They used a long stick to swirl the rag in the big pot of water.  After the rag was rinsed, it was lifted from the pot and ran through the wringer.  Finally, it was pinned to the clothes line to dry.  The children had a blast washing the rags.

We then made our way along a trail to the open pasture/farm land.  This part of the tour used a moderen trailer and tractor.  No one minded that we mixed the modern with the colonial.  We learned about the orchard and garden, the honey bees and conservation, rescue horses and rice fields.  It was a nice little tour.

Back up the path we headed, after the hayride.  The children made candles the old fashion way.  They dipped their wicks into the wax and then into cold water and then back into the wax and repeat a dozen or so times.  Finally, the candles were ready to dry and harden.

As we waited on the candles to harden, we went to learn about the sheep and goats and then feed them.  All the children enjoyed feeding the animals and the animals enjoyed being fed.

After feeding the animals, we made our way to the tool shed.  Antony showed the children how pegs were made and explained why the colonists made pegs.  Each child was able to help make a peg.  They had a great time.

Lastly, it was time to make butter.  Each child was given a small mason jar filled with cream.  They were instructed to shake the jar.  As they shook the jar, they sang a song.  At the end of the song, they had produced whipped cream.  A bit more shaking resulted in a butter and buttermilk.

We had a lovely time at Simple Times Farm.  We all agreed that we would love to have a place just like it.