Wednesday, October 4, 2017

I love October ...

This is my favorite time of year!  Mostly because of the cooler weather and the beautiful fall color we enjoy here in Indiana.  I love fall also because of pumpkins, squash, corn stalks, mums and bales of straw; all of the things that make this fleeting time of year special.  Yes, I know, 'it just means that winter's coming' but I love it anyway!  So there!  

Maybe also because my birthday is this month.  I'm so looking forward to my birthday this weekend -- Wendell & I are going to the Wabash Coffee House in Hutsonville, IL for pecan pancakes, then on down to Palestine for the wine festival (over 15 wineries expected to have booths there!), then home on the back roads -- that's the plan anyway.  Then on Sunday after church, we're meeting Jeff & Jane in Indy for lunch.  What more could you want for a birthday weekend?!

I've been adding items to the garden shed wall; here's the latest I found at the Worthington yard sale for $2.

Wanted to tell you about a special weekend --
Couple weeks ago we went to the Lee Family Reunion, just south of Poneto, Indiana.  (I'll bet you have no idea where Poneto is ...)  This farm has been in the Lee family (my mother's maiden name) for more than 100 years; I'm thinking now maybe closer to 150 years.  Where the folks in the first picture are sitting used to be the orchard when my grandparents lived here.  It was a really nice weather day, in the low 80s with a breeze.  We enjoyed lots of good food, talk, laughs, croquet, corn hole and poking around the old barn.  Just a good day all around.  For me the best part was just catching up with family I haven't seen since last summer!  I think there were about 25 of us ... Wendell & I had a great time.

This is my Uncle Roger Lee (whose farm we visited) and Aunt Rosie Harrold.  Aunt Rosie is from Union, OH.  Uncle R was worried all day that someone would get beamed by a dropping walnut (under which they set up the food and party tents (?)...).  The 5-gallon bucket was for collecting the walnuts.  Mom and Uncle Keith are now both gone from the picture and were surely missed.  Uncle Keith's son Erin was there this year for the first time! Yeah!  [BTW, Uncle Roger was asking $20 for this photo op ...]
After we left the farm, we went over to Wabash and stayed overnight at the Charley Creek Inn.  It's an old downtown hotel that was renovated a few years ago and it's super nice.  I highly recommend it if you're thinking of going to Wabash to the Honeywell Center (we saw Ron White there last fall; they have pretty good entertainment at the Honeywell).  There are a couple really good restaurants downtown, also -- one right in the hotel, and we ate there.  Of course we weren't very hungry after all that reunion food!  But we managed to choke down a couple appetizers and a bottle of wine, and really enjoyed our stay.  Check out their website if you want to read the history of the place. 

The lobby of Charley Creek Inn ...

Exterior, taken from the northeast corner.  Sunday a.m. when there was no one stirring yet ...  It was so nice and quiet here.
On Sunday, after breakfast at Bob Evans, we drove just about straight west of Wabash for a couple hours to Fair Oaks Farm in NW Indiana.  It was SUPER!  I really recommend this farm experience, especially for anyone with children.  You can enjoy the dairy farm experience or the swine experience or both.  Or you can just go to their big family style restaurant (which we didn't do).  Or just go to their gift & snack shop and watch them make cheese.  I brought home several hunks of cheese .....  Since I'm still a kid inside, I naturally loved this place.  Also, I'm a farm girl so this was a perfect entertainment match for me.  It's very convenient to find, too, right along interstate 65.  Here's some pictures.  This may be overkill, but as I said -- I loved this place.  And I took lots more pictures than I'm putting up here ......

On the left is the restaurant; we didn't visit this building.  On the right is the building where you buy admission tickets.  This is where we began the day.

You begin the dairy experience in a big barn-looking building where you can watch a 3-D movie about what you'll be seeing. This movie comes with bubbles and mist; I felt very moisturized when we left.  Don't miss this movie!

FYI -- Jeff and Jane are not the only ones who get a private showing ...
After we left the theater we toured the exhibits in that barn that give you lots of 'cow facts' and explain what you'll be seeing, then you board the bus and travel about a mile north to one of 11 dairy barn complexes.  Here's some of the many calves living there.  The cow barns are in the background.

Everything there is HUGE.  Here's one of many silage piles!

We drove through the barns (3 huge barns at just this one 'farm') and saw lots of cows, then went on to the milking parlor where they milk 23 hours a day.  (They stop for an hour to clean then get right back to it.) If you'll look in the upper right corner, you'll see a herd of cows waiting to be milked back in the tramp shed!  Also, right after they enter their stanchion on the carousel to be milked, they pass that gray colored board you see at the upper right.  It records their number to keep a record of their milk output.  It was amazing to me that the cows actually nudged the board with their heads!  When they get around the carousel, they back out on their own.  By one trip around they've been milked.  Most of these cows do this three times a day.  This was all fascinating to me.

After we left the milking parlor, we got to see where the milk goes through a cooler and right into a tank truck which was parked outside.  Most of their milk goes to Kroger.  Of course, when you have milk you also can have cheese.  Did I tell you I brought some home with me?!  Yum!  And it was all about cows in the gift shop.

Here's the birthing barn.  We visited this area to see a calf being born.  Even though I was raised on a farm, and we had dairy cows, I never saw a calf being born before.  So this was a new experience for me.  The cow we saw calving was a first-time mother and the attendant said she had remained calm and did really good job!
Just beginning to show the front feet ...

The calf is out and she's cleaning her up.  This took about 15 minutes.  It's a girl!  Whew!  After seeing this I was exhausted so we headed for home.

It was a wonderful weekend.  I slept well that night in my own little beddie.

God is good.  ... More later!

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