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WVU Farm Family Day

by @ 9:15 am on December 3, 2011.

Back in October we took Sami to the WVU Farm for their open house / family day. There was actually a pretty big turnout. It was windy as anything but otherwise a pretty nice day. I went ahead and took my big camera hoping for some cute pictures. I’m way out of practice and don’t think I had my settings quite right. But it didn’t overly matter as it was crowded enough I didn’t get many picture opportunities; most of the time I couldn’t manage to get around to get Sami’s face very well.

We parked at the bottom of the hill and in the first building was registration and a pen full of chicks. Ern picked one up and held it for Sami to touch, then she stood and watched them a while. After that we hopped onto the tractor pulled hay wagon and hitched a ride up the hill to the other buildings. First up was the sheep barn. Ern stuck Sami into the sheep feeder – she really liked that. Not so sure the sheep were overly amused, but they did come close enough for Sami to pat heads. We looped around and looked at the silos and all the money the university had recently put into new stainless steel conveyers. Eventually we found a pig in a little pen. There was a woman there trying to get her little boy to touch the pig and he just kept shying away. So Ern says he couldn’t resist – he picked Sami up and plopped her down into the pen with the pig. She laughed and petted it’s head. The pig was oblivious. Unfortunately I was at the wrong angle to get a picture (just got the back of Sami’s head) and before I could loop around to the other side the pig decided to start chewing on Sami’s shoes so Ern lifted her back out. The same spot they had a Hereford steer in a headgate. Sami liked that – the poor thing was seriously unhappy but had accepted its fate and was just standing there with its head down where Sami could reach it. I didn’t get a picture at all of that one – it was too crowded for me to get around to do it.

That was most of the animals. There were a lot of information booths set up, but Sami is too young to care about those. We did find the cider making demonstration. I had to laugh – they had a group of Amish teenagers there running the show. We watched a few minutes, and they were using the exact same press we have. They had a table there with cups and cider, but they weren’t serving what they were making – they were serving pasteurized store bought stuff. Ern talked to the guy in charge a few minutes and commiserated about how pasteurization just ruins stuff. He agreed and said he grew up on raw milk. Ern told him we have a dairy and of course drink our own. We just bought a little portable filter so we’ll strain some warm out of the jars when we’re milking to give Sami. She loves that. Anyway, Ern grabs a cup and goes over to the tub the juice is running into (not yet filtered at that point) and dips some out. One of the kids said “now here’s a liability”. The head guy said “he’s a dairy farmer, he’s ok”. 🙂 So Ern shared with Sami, and she chugged a good bit of it.

The conversation comes around to Ern asking if they’d sell any of their cider. Head guy said they weren’t allowed to. Ern jokes well, what if he just set a bucket down and looked away? The guy laughed and said you see where we’re putting it don’t you? We ended up wandering around a bit, and going for a horse drawn wagon ride. That was pretty much all there was to see so I headed back to the truck while Ern went back to see about stealing some cider. Sure enough, here he comes toward the parking lot a few minutes later toting a bucket. Ern said he went over and waited till it wasn’t crowded. He announced he was going to borrow a bucket. The girl running the press said, “borrow?” and the head guy told Ern a good thief doesn’t announce his intentions. Ern tells him an honest one does, and he grabs a bucket and heads off with it. That was some good cider. 🙂

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