Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Down on the Farm

Once again, 2 of the kids and I donned our Late 18th-Early 19th century Pennsylvania German farm clothes and headed off to help at a festival. In the Fall it's all about the harvest. In the Spring it's all about the animals. Isaac's job was to help with the wagon rides. Calypso helped with children's games in the field and for some strange reason I got the game boards about animal trivia. Imagine that...me doing trivia. Before things officially got started and again at the end of the day I ran around a bit with my decidedly 21st century digital camera so I could take some pictures to share with all of you.

Here is one of our Belgian workhorses. Isn't she a pretty girl? We have two because you need a team of them to pull the wagon or plow.

The farmer was bringing out the calf early so she could get used to the situation. Lots of people were going to be petting her that day. When I tried to take her picture she felt a bit shy.

Eventually she decided to show me a better side. We get a lot of folks coming to visit from the city. I remember one of our first visits out here (keep in mind I grew up in dairy country, lotsa cows). Diana was about 4 and as she pet the calf it latched onto her hand and began sucking. She got a big kick out of it and a group of more urban types gathered behind us oohing and aaahing at the adorable scene of a red-headed child giggling as a very young calf suckled her fingers. When Diana decided it was time to go and pulled her fingers from the calf's mouth, and with them a long stringing handful of calf spit, the contented cooing behind us quickly changed to gagging. Pffft, wipe it on your pants, kiddo (we're on a farm and you're dressed to get dirty not stay clean) and let's hit the hay jump.

This pig wasn't in mud but he still looks pretty darned happy to me.

This is our new mule. I forget her name. Her mother was a Belgian workhorse, her father was a donkey. Horse mama + Donkey papa= Mule (also equals a sterile animal unable to reproduce). Now, mules get the reputation for being stubborn but it's not a fair rap. Horses will just work themselves to death so the farmer has to carefully monitor how the horse is doing during the day and make sure they provide adequate rest for the animals. Mules are self-monitoring and know when they need rest. When they reach that point they are done working, even if you aren't. Some say stubborn, others say smart.

Here's another critter who obviously had enough and decided it was time for a rest. Ok now, all in unison....awwwwwww.......

Ok, so now for some of the trivia with which I tormented visitors to the farm. I'll post the answers tomorrow.

Tell me the collective noun for each of the following animals.

Fill in the blank with the right animal.
Strong as a...
Fat as a...
Slow as a...
Gentle as a...
Cuddly as a...
Quiet as a ...
Hungry as a...
Faithful as a ...
Contented as a...
Happy as a ...
Quick as a ...
Proud as a...
Graceful as a...
Busy as a...
Stubborn as a...
Silly as a...

If I could figure out the technological wonder of making a table to match up answers I'd torment you with matching the names for the male, female, baby, and neutered forms of various animals. I'm feeling the lingering effects of 18th century life though and not that technologically adept so I am only going to ask you if you can tell me the names for the neutered forms of...
(It was interesting explaining what neutering was all about to a number of people. Strange historical costumes, trivia, and the potential for horrifying people with frank conversation...was this job made for me or what?)

Ok, enough trivial torment for you today but I'll tell you visitors to the farm also had the opportunity to figure out what they thought gestation and hatching times of various animals were. The big hint is, the bigger the animal the longer the period of time. Ladies, be glad you're not a horse, you'd get an extra two months of pregnancy out of that deal.


74WIXYgrad said...

Small world isn't it? When I was a child, I lived near Pennsylvania Dutch country for about a year when my dad was transferred on his job. I wish I could have gone to one of the festivals now, but then all I wanted to do was move back to Ohio. I was only 8 years old, after all.

G-Man said...

Thou Lookest Mighty fair today Sister Trini...

I did a post on these queries last year..I'll only answer the first part, and leave some showing off to someone else...

A Gaggle of Geese( on the ground)
A Skein of Geese(in the air)
A Nest of Rabbits (or Warren)
A Herd of Cattle
A Flock of Sheep
A Cooter of Birds
A Kindle of Kittens
A Dray of Squirrels
A Swarm of Bee's
A Drift of Hogs
A Sounder of Swine
A Covey of Quail
An Ostentation of Peacocks
A Nye or Covey of Pheasants(on the ground)
A Bouquet of Pheasants (in the air)

There ya go Limey, have a great day!!! xoxox

G-Man said...

I did make one up on the above comment, can you guess which one??

Phain said...

study up that html tutorial site link i gave you - it had VERY EASY explaination on how to create a table!

any hoo - seeing that young calf reminded me of time spent on my grandparent's farm in north florida. they raised cows and for some reason - it was every childs rite of passage to try and ride an older calf. this was usually approved of by the adults in the group because they all knew what would *immediately* happen once you hopped on the calf. and they knew where you would *immediately* land - AND IN WHAT you would land!!!

(and yes - i went "awwww" when i saw the lamb)

M said...

oh. that pig is so cute i almost want to give up eating bacon. almost being the key word.

Kathryn said...

Oh no!!!! The calf and the little lamby!!!! Too much cuteness. Can't even stand it!!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with 'm'...the pig is so cute...makes me want to run out and get one...I wonder how well they take to townhouses???

lecram said...

Yay, for the 21st century allowing you ro bring these images to us! Cheers!

Beach Bum said...

I'm with M, the piggy was seriously cute. I enjoyed what you described about the urban types and their reaction to animal behavior. Somewhere near the Cherokee Indian reservation in the Smoky Mountains is place run by the National Park service that has renactors showing how a real mountain farm looked and worked back in the late 19 and very early 20th century. One visit there had them butchering a hog. Just to make a long story short the place cleared out very very fast after the procedure was started.

Logophile said...

OK, much precious animal viewing, I need insulin, stat!
Story for you, somehow Mr. Logo's mom and stepdad got the idea I was a total city girl while we were dating (I'm not sure how or why) but you know, I had to play THAT to the hilt. We visit and decided to accompany step-dad to the barn for the evening feeding. As we trudge along I said,
"Now horses, those are the ones that say Moo, right?"
Step-dad's cigarette stuck to his lip as his mouth dropped open, it was a classic moment.

Suldog said...

Neutering is hardly my favorite subject, but I do know "gelding". Of course, that comes from having spent too many days at the racetrack, not down on the farm.

Seamus said...

Down on the farm indeed....with CUTE OVERLOAD!!!! I'm assuming you were in costume - hope the weather was pleasant!

lime said...

74wixy, well ohio has quite a few Pa germans there too.

gman, i KNEw you'd give it a whirl. and yes, i found the made up one

phain, i did think about it but when i was trying to put this together early this morning it was all too much for my brain

m, i understand almost...just don't say "wilbur" or "babe" and i'll be ok.

kathryn, loving it :D

cooper, try a pygmy vietnamese pot-bellied pig. i hear they can be litter trained and everything

beach bum, hog butchering is not a pretty sight, no siree.

logo, i can totally envision the scene and hear you delivering that line!

suldog, well your racetrack experience has served you here with my silly little quiz.

seamus, yes i wore the costume and FINALLY we had some really gorgeous weather...sunny, high 70s, light breeze. perfection!

James Goodman, Author said...

Great pictures, Lime. Definately an abundance of cuteness at the festival. :D

G-man, I've never heard cooter used like that before. Though, I have heard it used often around these parts, they're usually referring to an entirely different type of animal. :D

lime said...

james, it would seem you have picked up on the bogus entry as well ;)

Anonymous said...

I'll definitely have to come back and try out my farm trivia knowledge... that's after I get the office work done!

Awesome post! :)

BTExpress said...

The only way I'll get all of these right is to cheat. I didn't even know what a collective noun was. LOL

furiousBall said...

i'm so sleepy. my goal tonight is to look like that pig when i hit the hay this evening

VE said...

That's far too much work for me. I'm going to hang out with that pig in the picture. That looks about the right amount of effort...

Fred said...

Hey! I'm the one around here that's supposed to be giving the homework. I think I'll use these as brain teasers when I have a few spare minutes.

Looks like a great day. If my kids were younger, this is exactly the kind of day they'd enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you may be the only person I know who even owns late 18th-Early 19th century Pennsylvania German farm clothes. Sounds fun.

SignGurl said...

I knew there was more than one reason I liked you ;)

lime said...

solitaire, ok, i'm waiting ;)

btexpress, cheat away, i don't seem to have a lot of other takers today

furiousball, not a bad goal if i do say so myself

ve, the pig has it going on , doesn't he?

fred, so you're begging off the assignment too?

citizen, i am unique in my fashion sense, hehehehe

signgurl, let me count the ways?

Rob said...

Well Michelle, I assume when you ask about the names for neutered forms of the various farm animals you're basically asking about the CASTRATED MALES (since there aren't a lot of hysterectomies performed on female farm animals) -- so here are then ones I recall from my youth back on the farm in Ohio.

Cattle: A castrated male (bull) becomes a steer

Horse: A castrated male (stallion) becomes a gelding

Swine: A castrated male (boar) becomes a barrow

Chicken: A castrated male (rooster) becomes a capon -- yes, it CAN be done and is!

Sheep: A castrated male (ram or buck) becomes a wether

Goat: I was never around goats all that much, but I THINK the castrated male (billy or buck) was also called a wether (like a sheep). I will say this, pound-for-pound, billy goats may have the biggest gonads relative to body weight of any mammal I've ever seen. (Not necessarily a scientific fact... just an observation!)

Late 20th Century Human Beings: Let's not even go there...

Going from memory (and I can barely remember what I had for breakfast, let alone farm "facts" I haven't used in several decades), some of the gestation periods/time to hatch that I do recall are:

Cows -- Just slightly longer than a human being, about 9-1/2 months

Horses -- As you indicated, about 11 months

Pigs -- 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days

Sheep (and Goats) -- about 5 months

Rabbits -- 4 weeks (they DO multiply like crazy!)

Chickens -- 3 weeks for the eggs to hatch

Ducks -- 4 weeks to hatch (We used to put the duck eggs under the chicken hens because they were MUCH better "nesters" than the ducks and had a much higher success rate hatching the baby ducks. The poor hens would about lose their minds however when the newly-hatched baby ducks would make a bee-line to the pond and start swimming merrily around since the hens had NO ability to swim!)

OK, that about exhausts my reservoir of rural knowledge. My FFA (Future Farmers of America) and 4-H advisors would be SO proud!

Another interesting post, Limey. Brought back some poignant memories of life on the farm and countless baby farm animals that I helped usher into the world...

jillie said...

I must be part mule. Cos when I am done...I am D O N E!!!! LOL...

That pig and lamb make me want to crawl up to them and lay right nest to them.

Great pictures and that must be a lot of fun!

Moosekahl said...

Mom use to put us in our baby packs and then hang them on the fence when she was feeding the bum lambs. When their bottles were empty they would suck on our toes. There are pictures of us just giggling :)

i took my best friend heather to the farm after college and the first time the black bum calf stuck his tongue out, which was also black, she freaked. But she still thought they were pretty cute.

barman said...

Now what is the collective for limes and limets?

Wait a minute, Stubborn as a ... llimete. There I think that works.

I love it but I have to admit I had to cheat to figure out what a collective noun was than it was down hill from there. I think I only got about 30 percent right. Did you know that just about every one of those animals had like 4 or 5 collective nouns to describe it. I had no idea. I so thought the birds were a flight of birds. I have much to learn.

lime said...

rob, congratulations! you sir, have proved your farm cred!! (either that or you're a mastergoogler) i bow humbly, you are spot on in all requested trivia. i will split hairs on the neutering of females though...that would be an oophorectomy (removal of ovaries), not a hysterectomy (removal of uterus) and is generally referred to as "spaying." nonetheless FFA and 4H would be proud!

jilie, i've been accused of certain mulish tendencies myself.

moosekahl, i sooo want to see pictures of the lambs sucking your lil baby toes!

barman, there are also several collective nouns for limelets depending upon the occasion...they can be referred to as a holler of limelets, a mess, a herd, or a rumpus of limelets.

Mona said...

Yaay! I love animals :)

I have a peacock running at my blog too!

Strong as a...G man
Fat as a...Won't tell
Slow as a...Me
Gentle as a...Topcat
Cuddly as a...a baby
Quiet as a ...susie
Hungry as a...G man
Faithful as a ...Me
Contented as a...Java Jazz
Happy as a ...Strumpie
Quick as a ...Lime
Proud as a...that peacock on my blog
Graceful as a...Jillie
Busy as a...Lime
Stubborn as a...me
Silly as a...everyone

Evil Lunch Lady said...

I love the animal pictures! I can't wait for the local fair to start! I act like a kid and go right to the farm area to pet the cows. My kids think I'm a little nuts. I turn into a child all over again! Living in PA does have some perks:)