Friday, November 6, 2009

'Plowing' Into the Field Trip Wars

Topsy and Firefly Mom have been dueling over field trips for the last few weeks, and finally I think we here at the Stone Age Techie are able to enter the fray, with our recent visit to Old Sturbridge Village.

We've been there several times, but this was the best visit so far in one way: it was Homeschool Day there, which meant that most of the people, and virtually all the kids, were homeschooled. It was one of the only times where we could be reasonably certain that nobody would ask us why the kids weren't in school, where we fit in, if that makes any sense. It was good fun! Here are some highlights:

First, we took a cider-pressing class with some buddies. This series of pictures shows the kids putting apples into the press, grinding them into mush, and then pressing the mush to extract the juice:

Not shown: us gulping down our cider after all this hard work! I was bummed out only because, while we were able to press this cider, we weren't able to try the cider we pressed; it's not pasteurized. I seem to remember pressing apples into cider as a kid, and miraculously not dying from it, but I guess times have changed and so now, we are one step removed from the bounty on the trees around us. Still, the cider we did taste at the end of the class was pretty good.

We then poked around the village, checked out a shooting match (and saw the coolest thing that I didn't have my camera out for - a smoke ring, let off as one of the guns fired, that floated above the spectators' heads and into the woods. Amazing!), met a baby calf, and Owen got to help with the year-end plowing:

Yes, that is my youngest, plowing for all he is worth behind two huge, very well-behaved oxen! Watching him put his heart and soul into the work, and then running back to me, huge grin plastered on his face, has me thinking that someday he might make a good farmer.

Later, we got to meet the oxen, Lance and Henry, and their driver who patiently answered questions for half an hour before heading off to get their 'dinner':

This was one in a string of amazing visits to Old Sturbridge Village. We count ourselves very lucky to have such a place within driving distance!


Rana said...

What a great field trip. I need to check our area for any "homeschool day" field trips. I am going to have to show my son the pictures of Owen with the oxen. We just finished reading a chapter in Farmer Boy where Almonzo is teaching his cows how to wear the yoke. You have your own little "Farmer Boy".


Anonymous said...

Dear Stone Age Techie -
We at Old Sturbridge Village are so glad you had a good visit at our Homeschool Day. I love the image you took of the three boys "petting" our oxen. If you are willing to share the image, we would like to use it in future field trip publicity. We would certainly give you photo credit. We can also list the boys' names and ages if you wish - or omit them if you prefer. If you are amenable to sharing the image, I would need a digital image, 300 dpi jpeg minimum. My contact information is:
Ann Lindblad
Director of Communications
Old Sturbridge Village

Anonymous said...

'Bout darn time you threw your hat into the ring!! (or your "yoke" as the case may be). That looks like such a hands-on outing - - my favorite! I REALLY want to play with a cider press now (((sigh)))!!

Sparklees said...

All that hard work looks like fun! My son really liked the cider making pictures--we've never done that before.

We enjoy your blog, by the way!

jugglingpaynes said...

Thanks for sharing this. I've wanted to go there for so long (it would probably be a three or four hour trip for us.)

Maybe this year. We'll be doing Colonial America at some point this year.

Peace and Laughter,

The Stone Age Techie said...

Rana - Farmer Boy is my absolute favorite Laura Ingalls Wilder book! I think Owen may be almost ready to hear it read out loud.
The 'homeschool day' thing was really cool, I hope you can find something like it in your area!

Ann - Thanks for getting in touch! I love the idea of sharing that picture, but one of the boys in it isn't my own. I will check with his mom and let you know!

Topsy - you are so 'punny'!
I bet one of your newly-minted unschoolers could help you build a cider press :-)

Sparklees - thanks for visiting! I have memories of pressing cider as a kid, and it was like passing the torch to see my kids doing it. Maybe there is somewhere around you that offers this? Here's hoping!

Cristina - OSV has homeschool days at least a few times a year, and their website ( lists hours and upcoming events. If you go, maybe you could email me at whywehsatyahoodotcom, and we could meet up!

Cheers everyone,

Anonymous said...

What fun. Brings back memories of similar days. Enjoy, enjoy.

Magic and Mayhem said...

How cool about plowing with the oxen! Sounds like such a fun day.

I gotta say I was shocked they wouldn't let you drink the cider. I was getting ready to comment "Isn't fresh pressed apple cider the best stuff in the world?" and then got to that part. It's kind of depressing! LOL I guess people are afraid of lawsuits nowadays. We always press apples at local events like History Fest and a fall festival at a local site. It's a neat fall tradition and the taste of fresh is just soooooo good! :)

Looks like a neat place though! Cool they want to use your picture too!