For the past two years, I created a series called “Field Trip Friday” where I chronicled the adventures that my son, Evan, and I take throughout the summer. But why limit it to Friday?
He spends too much time living the “only child syndrome” where he doesn’t have other kids to play with so he plays with his good friends, Xbox One and Netflix. I’ve decided to lighten my load this summer and get him out of the house each and every day. It might be a big adventure and it might be small. But we can turn anything into an adventure.
Carroll County Farm Museum
Late in the day on Wednesday of last week, I said let’s go. “Where are we going?” he asked. I didn’t tell him because I was worried that the thought of a farm museum would bring about eye-rolling and mentions of BORING. So I pitched it as a surprise. Since it was only 30 minutes from my house, located in Westminster, Maryland, we didn’t have to do much planning.
“Can you please tell me where we’re going?” he pleaded.
Here’s a hint, I said. It has something to do with a project you did this year at school.
“Oh, the Farm Museum!” he said with delight in his voice. His teachers highly recommend that he pay a visit so he was actually excited. SCORE!
We arrived around 2:30pm with only around two hours until closing time. It turned out that it was the perfect amount of time for us to breeze through on a gorgeous June afternoon.
Our first stop was to hop over and see a rare event: the resident oxen, Jack and Jim getting a bath. If you ever wonder how dirty these animals get, I can tell you from observation that the answer is DIRTY. But that’s not a bad thing. The dirt helps protect their skin from the sun, ticks, flies, and other irritations. They were getting a bath, however, because a TV crew was coming to get their story the following day.
We walked down the hill and saw where the oxen might have been used back in the day. There was a field close by growing corn, tobacco, and broom corn (actually used to make brooms) that were common crops in the county in the 1800s. And nearby, we entered a barn built in the 1700s and moved to the late to become part of the farm.
We then strolled over to where the farmers and family would gather for their evening supper (they ate three meals a day – breakfast, dinner, and supper) over at the large farmhouse.
Several rooms on the main floor were decorated in a typical 1800s farmhouse style which kept both of our attention until I started reading every single detail. And Evan decided he needed to go outside to the garden.
He actually wasn’t grumpy. We were simply admiring the flowers that were similar to what we had just planted in our yard. And it’s a good thing we didn’t hang out here too long. Soon after, we saw a beautiful red fox dash across the grass.
We ended up at an outbuilding that housed rooms where farm children would learn crafts like spinning, weaving, basket making, and other things that didn’t really hold Evan’s interest. I did force him to do one thing in one of the rooms. In the Children’s Hands-On room, I made him sit down and communicate the old-fashioned way and write a note to his grandmother on a complimentary postcard that the museum mails out several times a week.
What we actually found the most fascinating was that the farmhouse and the outbuilding weren’t traditional in the farming sense at all. They were created as the counties official Almshouse, which basically meant a place for the “poor, insane, hobos, and tramps.”
The rooms above were kept as a men’s dormitory while the main house was where the women and children slept. All were expected to work on the farm and basically earn their keep and help harvest the food they would eat.
And what would a farm be without its animals?
We finished out our visit at the one place I knew Evan wouldn’t want to be. SCHOOL! But it was nice for him to see that a one room schoolhouse was common as was a eighth grade education.
And he was happy when I reminded him that this was only the first week of summer and there were still many more adventures to be had.
The Carroll County Farm Museum is located at 500 S. Center Street in Westminster, Maryland. Admission price is $10 per family, $5 per adult, and $4 for adults 60 and over. In addition to regular visiting hours, the grounds are host to many private and public events including the Maryland Wine Festival in September.
What Else We Did Last Week
Like I mentioned, we’ve been trying to stay active and busy! We visiting the pool at our local gym on Monday and on Tuesday, I convinced Evan to go shopping! It was a perfect day because it was pouring. New shoes for him and new purse for mama.
We also saw a dog on a porch that looked like a statue.
We stopped at Starbucks and each got a fancy drink and made fun of all the other patrons ordering very complicated double, half-caff, soy frappucino venti drinks with an extra shot. Or whatever.
And when Evan accompanied me to the dentist, we found that a new roller skating rink opened up in town. He begged me to take him that day and I relented. I did remind him that I was actually pretty decent at skating because when I was growing up, we had nothing better to do.
We went from smiles to tears to smiles again as he finally got the hang of it. And now he’s dying to go back!
And how was YOUR week? How are you making the most of your summer?