Monday, June 20, 2011

Finishing Spring

 On this warm summer day, knowing the week will end up with temperatures in near 100 degrees, it is nice to look back to the cool days of spring.  This spring we made two trips to see animal babies.  Our first trip was on a cold day, but we had fun despite the weather.  UMASS-Amherst had a Family Day at their animal barn. 
C & W hay ride. 

This camel kept nibbling kid's necks??

 The piggies were our favorites.  They were amazingly cute and very active nursers.  Teenage boys kept giggling while watching them.  I think there were three litters of at least seven apiece. The moms just kind of lay there, tolerating every kind of childish mischief.  The piglets would all start nursing about the same time, like they couldn't stand by and let another piggy get more than them. 
The runt of one litter.  So cute!

It was pretty cold so the piglets would pile up under heat lamp in the corner of their pens. 

This guy was my favorite!  He was quite frisky, as well as having a cute bum.
Communing with piglets.

Baby goats!

As we were visiting the alpacas, the kids were discussing the names they gave to some of the pigs including Eater, Milker and Two Spot.  Then they started in on the Alpacas: Brownie, Darky, Whitey, Hungry, Calpaca, Tanny, Lazy, Hoofy and Al.  (Well, I actually named Calpaca.)   I'm not sure if there were as many alpacas as there were names, but they had a great time doing the naming. 

The next week we went to Hancock Shaker Village with our friends Josie and Harry.  Hancock Shaker Village is near Pittsfield, MA.  HSV was established by the Shakers in 1791 and is currently run as museum. We did not explore the whole place, but made a bee-line for the round barn and the baby animals.
Here's what Wikipedia says about the barn (I think it's interesting... skip it if you feel differently.):

Inside the barn there are four rings. The innermost is also the smallest and is used for ventilation. This ventilation is necessary to help draw the moisture up and out of the hay which prevents mold from growing and the hay from eventually spontaneously combusting.  The next ring out is where the hay was stored. It was tossed in from an upper level. That balcony was accessible by ox-drawn wagon via a ramp outdoors. Because the barn was round the wagons could enter, unload the hay and then exit the barn without ever having to back up.
The third ring out was where the Shaker brothers would walk to distribute the hay in the second ring to the cows standing in the outermost, fourth ring. The barn could hold up to 70 cows at a time. They would go to the barn twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening to be milked. Inside the barn they were put into wooden stanchions. Standing there, the cows could eat while the brothers milked them. The floor of the outermost ring is split level, with the inner part raised up 3 inches. This was so that the milk buckets were not on the same level as the manure which was unsanitary.

Willa kept going back to hold the baby chick and ducks.  She seems to really like chickens...

This guy is a French Angora rabbit. 

Roof of barn

Turkeys were really showing off.

We were not sure what this was, but the kids figured out what they thought the best use was.

Josephine, Harry, Cal and Willa look at bees.

Sheep riding!

Seat weaving!

We thought the Shakers' adoptees probably enjoyed rolling down the hill too.

Tired out at end of day.
There was more to our spring adventures, but as it is already summer, I'll leave it there.  We miss you!  Wish you were here!

Bonus Pic: 

W & C with Becky Bunny