On Wednesday, I tagged along with one of our Farm Hand Adventure programs. This program is designed to allow students to gain a deeper understanding of the farm and history through a hands-on project. This participating class was unique in another way too. All the participants were ac
tually future teachers! They were students going to East Stroudsburg University and studying education. They were learning different teaching techniques and how to incorporate a field trip into the classroom.
The program I really enjoyed was dedicated to the exploration of wheat. Farmer Milt explained the different ways wheat grew and how it was harvested. Did you know that the when the hay is cut, its bundled together and this is called the sheave? Well, now you know. The sheaves are made into stacks and sheaves are laid across the top as a way to shed rain water. Reminds me a little bit of Monet’s painting.
Near the end of the class, we each got a few stalks of wheat. We broke the stalks so we just had the heads. Next we crushed them and made a rather large mess on the floor. Finally we winnowed out the chaff (the seed pod part) using our own wind, aka our breath. That just left the wheat seeds. This we put into a little portable table mill to produce flour! By turning the handle the wheat is crushed between two small mill stones and flour is produced.
After learning about how wheat is produced we got to get our hands involved a little more and made some bread! Cheryl demonstrated how bread was made and spoke some about the history of bread. The Germans and the Pennsylvania Dutch tended to like darker and rye breads. While the English tended to prefer whiter wheat breads. Then it was our turn. We each got a little bit of dough and tried kneading it. Once it was no longer sticky and sprung back under a gentle touch it was done. We made it into little ball loaves. While the students were down on the farm it baked and smelled wonderful and once done tasted event better. I forgot to take a picture of my loaf, which came out rather funny shaped because it was stuck between several others. I’m hoping to try the recipe again and maybe some of the others in the new Quiet Valley cookbook.
Today was my first day learning how to feed the animals here at Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm. There is a wide range of animals here at the farm including: pigs, horses, a mule, turkeys, rabbits, pigs, goats, and sheep. This time of year, in the winter, the feeding goes pretty quickly and easily. The animals are mostly in the 1850s bank barn, the chicken coop, and the pig barn. (During the summer, the animals are all spread out across the farm.)
The day started in the barn feeding the horses, pig, turkeys, geese, Lily the goat, and the rabbits. The turkeys were the only ones who didn’t seem much interested in food. They preferred perching in the window and showing off their tail feathers. Did you know pigs drool in anticipation of food? Apparently they do.
The most exciting thing that happened other than a few slips and spills on the icy ground was when we were feeding the rabbits. We opened the rabbits cages to change out their food and water. Normally the rabbits think nothing of it but today one developed an unusual idea. One of the rabbits is a big, white one like the kind from Alice in Wonderland sans waistcoat and pocket watch. She looked at that open pen and saw an opportunity, the new person. She sprung over the edge of her cage like a graceless pole vaulter (or someone planning a painful belly flop in a pool). Dumbstruck, all I can think of is ‘the rabbit escaped’. Will she bolt and get out of the barn. She, I assume, thinks it too as she rests on the floor under her pen. In an attempt for a quick recovery, I scoop her up. Immediately my thoughts change to ‘Goodness she’s heavy,’ before putting her back in her cage. We had a moment as she watched me go to get her food. As much as she seemed to relish that brief moment of flight, we both agreed her pole vaulting career was over.
The rabbit after she’s back in her pen.
This blog is written to help visitors fall in love with the farm. This post was written by Kat Muller the new administrator about her experiences as she learns about the farm.
Me while smelting iron in Denmark
Hi everyone, my name is Kat and I’m a new member of the Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm Staff. I’m inviting you to come along, meet the farm, and learn along with me.
A little bit about me to get you started: I have always loved working out of doors. (To the point that I told my first grade teacher I wanted to grow up to be an oak tree-still working on that, roots take a long time to grow.) I have a strong background in experimental archaeology and living history. (Experimental archaeology is a subset of archaeology where the scientist tries to reproduce past lifeways to better understand archaeological deposits. AKA we make pots to smash them and see if they look like the pot fragments found in excavations.) I particularly enjoy metal working specifically blacksmithing, in addition to spinning, weaving, historic clothing construction, herb lore, and anything else I can try.
The first week on the farm was a fun challenge. I’m trying to catch up on the history of the farm and the evolution as the site as a teach/historical farm. My favorite encounter so far was with Baby Llama. Baby Llama (don’t get mislead by the name-like I was the first time) is a sheep who may be the reincarnation of Harry Houdini; she doesn’t stay in her pen. She hops in and out over the fence. To be fair, Milt the farmer did warn me about this. Yet, I was still surprised when we rounded one of the barns and there was Baby Llama placidly eating on the lawn of the house. Before my eyes she walked over to the fence, not the lowest part of the fence where the railing was slumping but to a high portion where the rocks made a five foot difference between the sheep pasture up to the horse pasture/ lawn, and POP over she went. She landed rather gracefully, I might add.
Baby llama out of her pen
On Wednesday I’m going to tag along and start learning how to feed the animals including Baby Llama and the other sheep, Wilhelm and Gunther (the draft horses), the mule, the pigs, the rabbits, the geese, the turkeys, the barn cats, and many others. Wish me luck.
Fall is a beautiful time of year to come visit Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm
. The historic tour of our circa 1800’s working farm showcases animal care, gardening, heritage crafts, hearth cooking, old fashioned games and wagon rides. Fun for the whole family.
We are open daily 10:00-5:00pm with exception of Mondays through Labor Day. We will also be open Saturday the 12th and the 19th from 10:00-5:00pm.
Please ask us for a coupon and for more information.