Saturday, January 14, 2012

Spontaneous Adventure

For the last few years, I have been wanting to visit the Pennsylvania Farm Show. For various reasons, we haven't been able to go. This year, I totally forgot about it until I talked to a friend who was going. Turns out there was only a few days left, so we Jeff and I decided to take the kids on Friday. He took the day off and we took our clueless but excited children on a ride to Harrisburg. We didn't tell them where we were going until the car doldrums kicked in and the kids got antsy. They were pretty excited. Apparently they are having record attendance this year, so we had to park offsite (along with a million other people) and take a bus. A bus!!!! If you are 2, 4 and 6 years old, a bus is so much fun! Jeff found he no longer fits nicely in a bus, but that's what you get when you are 6'4" tall. 

The farm show is in a HUGE indoor complex. The website boasts 6000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and two indoor arenas. We all enjoyed the Hitch and Pull show, where they had various draft horses come in and show off, mostly pulling some type of wagon. Katie was complete enthralled with the Cinderella coach, and James loved the covered wagon. The black horse on the bottom left was my favorite. It had the most beautiful and jingly harnesses on, and it had a beautiful way of running (prancing?).

The chickens! After lunch, the kids were super tired and the chickens were allllllll the way across the complex. I told Jeff we should just go, but he knew I wanted to see them so he said we should go see them. It was really cool. Now I know of two more kinds of chickens I want to get, and that I never want to raise a turkey. Those things are even bigger than I thought, and honestly they kind of scare me! The rooster on the top left was unbelievably tiny, even though you can't tell by the picture. The rooster in the bottom left was gigantic, although the picture doesn't do it justice. It was a Jersey Giant and I would not want to meet up with it in a dark alley. 

We visited the goats and sheep. I'll take one (or 6) of each, please! And a farm to go with it. The boys also loved sitting on the tractors they had everywhere. 

The food court was spectacular! Every 'council' was there promoting their own delicious food. There was the dairy council, the potato council (potato doughnuts, anyone?), the beef council, etc. After hitting up the dairy dudes for some 'toasted cheese sandwiches,' (is that what they call them in PA?) we bought the kids some whoopie pies. Whoopie pies, as far as I know are a Pennsylvania Amish thing. I don't really like them (except when I made these...oh, they were so good!!) The kids, however, loved them mainly because they are a) huge, b) sweet, and c) they each got their very own. For myself I visited my Maple Syrup peeps and bought myself a Maple Frozen Yogurt. It was so good it was ridiculous! 

Yes, we let the kids eat on the floor, the very floor where surely cows had trodden only hours before. The place was packed and there was not a table to be found anywhere. I tried to keep Tyler from putting his pie on the floor, with mixed results.

P.S. There is saran wrap under Katie's treat...just so you know :)

James was fascinated by the fact that the tire was taller than Jeff!

As you can see, we had a lot of fun. On the way out, we stopped at one last exhibit and got to talking with a Dairy guy. He was so darn interesting and we learned a lot. There was this huge yellow brush (like a bottle brush, only about 15 inches wide) on a fixture on the wall next to his dairy cow. I asked him what it was, and he said that when the cow goes up to it, it starts spinning and scratches her back and cleans her coat. He said the happier the cow, the more milk she gives. I'd say that is a very spoiled cow! He also told us that most dairies are using robots to milk now. The cows go in on their own. They have a tag that the robot recognizes, and it sends the information to the computer along with the amount of milk, time, etc.. This way they can track each individual cow and there is a lot less work involved. Who knew! And one more fascinating bit of trivia (or not) that I learned...I asked him why the show cows in the Dairy barn had such full bags. I felt sorry for them. One girl was actually icing down her cow's udders. According to the guy, they do that for show, even though its not very good on the poor mama cows. There you have it! Useful and exciting information you can use every day.


Shay said...

I'm ridiculously jealous. Maybe I'll get there next year! Glad you got to go and experience the show and I love all the pics.
I make toasted cheese, but I also make grilled cheese. They're not the same thing.
And I don't care for whoopie pies either, I don't know why. My husband & kids sure love them. We get them from a Mennonite market near our campground.

Terry and Linda said...

I am so happy you and your family got to do this...and to do it in the winter when everything so blah.