So the kids, my mother and I had some time off and where did we go? To another farm, of course! (Rob had to stay behind to boil sap.)
If you are in our area, you must take some time to swing through Woodstock, VT to visit the Billings Farm & Museum. Lovingly restored to its near-original state, the complex boasts a wonderful maze of historic buildings. The 1890 Farm House, Ice House, Wagon Barn, Cow and Horse Barns, creamery, chicken coop, and much more transport you back to a time when life was far less automated and work was not only manual, but a way of life.
I was enchanted by the Farm House. Its vintage cook stove baking fragrant cinnamon and molasses cookies for visitors, its numerous ornate wood or coal stoves, its gas lamp fixtures, antique furniture and bamboo floor coverings. And the many old photographs that lined the walls and filled albums on the table. My favorite had to be the pantry. Oh, what I could stock in there!
We soaked up brief patches of sunlight and dodged intermittent raindrops and snowflakes (this is New England afterall, so the weather obliged by changing every five minutes) and made our way down to the animal barns. Two massive Milking Short Horn Oxen, Harv and Will, rested comfortably in their stalls until it was their turn in the paddock. Their handlers came in to exchange them with the farm’s two Belgian Draft horses, Tom and Jerry. The Beligans were impressive, but I have to admit, my mouth dropped when I saw the mass and height of Harv and Will when they stood. It was as if two buffalo were standing an arm’s length away from us! And we’re used to seeing big animals around these parts . . . amazing and humbling.
Billings milks Jersey cows, so we stopped by the nursery to see some of the newest additions to the herd. The bull calf pictured here is just about a week old. Get a load of those soft eyes and that wet nose! Jerseys sure are sweet.
The kids left, full of ideas about what we could do at our farm. We’ll do our best to keep up with them!