Garden Diary - November 2018

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Barnyard Livestock at Howell Living History Farm

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Howell Living History Farm in Mercer County has a focus on the 20 years between 1890 and 1910. Farming is done with draft horses, the kitchen has a 1904 Glenwood stove with which to cook. Their public programs offer a look at life as it was then - harvesting ice from a pond in winter, logging with horses, making maple syrup. Today's focus on is about making apple cider and other apple treats.

The walk from the visitors center up to the farmhouse offers a look
at the every day life on the farm, its livestock, and the barnyard.

The field with sheep, shaggy coated and ready for winter.

There are two Hampshire pigs. This gilt (a young female less than a year old)
shows the classic white "belt" and a white leg (should be both front legs.)

And a barrow, a castrated male pig. Better temperament, better meat.

There are two coops with barred Plymouth rock hens. They lay nice brown eggs.
I can tell some are laying well, because their legs are pale, almost white. Pigment
has gone from the skin to the shells. But inside the shell, eggs all look the same.

In the field down from the farmhouse they're popping corn.

Very different from sweet corn, for popcorn (a different type of corn) the kernels
need to be dry enough to come off the cob - use your thumbs or rub one ear
against another. When heated, the small amount of moisture in each kernel
turns to steam, popping and making the popular treat. Quite nutritious too.

Today the popcorn is being popped over a wood fire.
(No microwaves back in historical Howell farm times.)

One of the oxen peacefully standing in his field, enjoying the sunshine.

And in another field, draft horses grazing. A quiet time in the barnyard.

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