Most of the farm animals love when the school kids arrive....they mooooed, bahahahaaaaed, and squawked as soon as they could hear the youngsters exit the bus. What friendly greetings! Audy Perry asked me to accompany them on the tour so that I did and it was a lot of fun.
This morning they only had a group of 40 which was split into two sets. (Heritage Farm is a very popular attraction for the tri-state school children due to the educational benefits they receive during their visit). I joined the kids with their teachers on the wagon ride and rode in the very back. We passed the big dairy barn and stopped while Audy described the animals who used to live in the beautiful structure. We then back tracked down to the other end going thru the covered bridge. The kids delighted in being jostled around while I whinced at each bump trying to save my poor arthritic spine. They laughed with glee at the very fact that I did not like those bumpy bumps and continued to happily bounce in their seats until we arrived at the wooded fenced area. Moulan, the resident cow, along with her friends; a sheep, a pot bellied pig, two donkeys and the sweet little black dog live beneath the tall shady trees separated with fencing but allowing good visuals so each breed can see each other. Moulan moooed a loud hello causing all sorts of human variations attempting to mimic her call. For a minute I regressed and began moooing away with the kids....I must admit it was fun and it tickled them to see an 'old' person acting like their age which came very easily for me!
After Audy's entertaining but educational explanations about each animal, we were on our way back into the village for a stop at the Children's Hand's On Center. The tiny bodies formed into a line and one by one entered the vintage building. Cute little hand painted chairs allowed each child a seat while they listened to the guide explain how Appalachian life was lived back in the day. Afterwards, they got to milk a cow ( a fake cow), grind some corn, wash some clothes, churn butter, pump water out of the well and peek inside the (fake) chicken nests to see the eggs. I enjoyed watching how the kids interacted with the tasks. I didn't see too many boys 'wash' clothes, but all of them milked the cow and pumped the water.
Time to go back outside to the petting area! This was very exciting for the children and once again they repeated the various noises they were hearing. Mother sheep was the loudest of the four legged creatures and I couldn't wait to get in there to see her. She had two baby lambs by her side! After sanitizing our hands, the fun began....Audy educated the children about turtles and chickens while his wife Laura held two sweet little bunnies then later a frightened yellow duckling.
The final portion of the tour led us all up to the Industrial building where the kids listened about the various jobs that were held as time progressed. They learned about timber and coal and toured the coal mine. There was a sign forbidding photos, but as you bent over while in the mine you could see several different displays featuring mannequins posed as miners performing their labor intensive jobs with picks and shovels, etc. Words could not describe the difficult conditions and it was good for the kids to see this.
The tour was now over and all of the kids walked, skipped and hopped back to the bus while their growing minds filed the new experiences into happy but educational memories. What fun it was to have shared this tour with them! A big thanks goes to Audy and the crew both human and furry for being such wonderful hosts!