Thursday, September 23, 2010

Old McCagle Had a Farm

Last weekend, we went to Cagle's Family Farm with the Barker family. They have tons of stuff to do there but we did a tour of the farm and part of the big corn maze. Cagle's Family Farm used to be Cagle's Dairy Farm and had a ton of milking cows. The farm tour included visiting the milk processing plant and watching them actually process and bottle all the milk they made, seeing fields full of cows grazing and move into the milking station and so on. However, Cagle's is now a meat farm. We talked to the grandson of the original owner who told us that they were basically unable to compete with huge producers. They're a small farm, doing the milk process right and that costs more. So they were somewhat forced out of the dairy game and are now in the meat business. Lucky for us, they don't show the meat making process on the farm tour. Something tells me it's not quite as kid friendly as watching cows graze and make milk.

The good news is, the kids neither know or care about the economics of milk making. They just like to see farm animals and ride on tractors. The farm tour first takes you to a small part of the farm where they have several calves, goats, chickens and ducks the kids are able to feed. Patrick thought feeding the cows was a lot of fun and had a great time watching the chickens ride on the goat's back. We also got to meet the dogs we would later see herd a group of cattle. After that, we went to a milking demonstration given by Rosie The Cow followed by a trip to the defunct milk processing plant to see how the milk went from cow to shelf. Farmer Al explained the whole milking process and history of the milking process to us in great detail. The kids just liked the part where they got to put their hand on the suction thing they use on the cows' utters. Don't worry, this one was for demonstration only and not actually the one that was just on the cow.

The next part of the tour was really fun. We got to ride on a big trailer pulled by a giant tractor to see a herding demonstration. We watched as Tib, the herding dog, moved a group of large bulls from one side of the field right over to the side of our tractor. The kids got a VERY close look at the bulls and thought it was awesome. The tour ended with the kids getting to feed a group of goats. Patrick mostly just dropped the food on the ground, despite Uncle John's patient help, due to his inability to cup his hand. That must be a toddler thing. At least, I hope it is. Either way, he had fun holding his empty hand out for the goats.

After lunch, we headed into the corn maze. It was just after noon and the day was heating up tremendously so the grownups did the best they could to speed the maze process along. I imagine the maze would be really fun when it's the middle of fall and cool weather is on your side. But when it's 90 degrees and you're carrying a diaper bag, a hiking backpack and at least one child, the maze is more an exercise in "how fast can we do this." Also, Angie and I are TERRIBLE with directions. I can't tell you how happy I am that we live in a time of GPS. I hear people sarcastically say things like "we all drove without GPS for decades and somehow managed to live through it"... we honestly wouldn't have. Angie and I literally would have died. We are that bad with finding our way around. So a maze is an odd activity to participate in. I know there's help around the corner if needed and we won't really be stranded, but the back of my mind says "you might be lost forever in this corn." Luckily, the Barkers aren't as navigationally challenged as we are and made it out of the maze in record time. We'll have to go back when it's not so hot sometime and do the second part of the maze though because it was actually a lot of fun. Madelyn took this moment of quiet as an opportunity to catch up on her morning nap and fell asleep on Uncle John.

Then came the jumping pillows. I had never seen anything like this before but they were pretty awesome and the kids went nuts over them. They're basically a giant inflatable pillow to jump on, and who doesn't love that? When we first got to the jumping pillow, it was just the four of our kids and one other family with much larger kids. Patrick, Jordan and Andrew all bounced and ran and flipped and fell for close to an hour, giggling the whole time. As it got later, Patrick got increasingly tired and climbing up a bouncing pillow over and over again started to take its toll, so he figured out a way to get down without doing any work. He would start by climbing up yelling "sube!" the whole time (Spanish for "going up") then lay down at the top and let the bouncing do the work for him. As everyone ran and jumped around him, he would just flop his way down the side laughing hysterically all the way. The best video I got of this was messed up but here's a pretty good one that gives you an idea (there are more pictures of this in the gallery). He and Jordan started laying face down next to each other after a while and bouncing side by side. You'll also notice that the two of them are about half the size of everyone else on there:

And, here's a slideshow from the day or you can go straight to the gallery here:


Anonymous said...

Also love the pictures of Madelyn - she is so precious!! Always enjoy seeing her pretty girl outfits!!

Glad you all made it out of the maze safely!!!!

Love Aunt Jill
(forgot to sign the previous one)

KBBean said...

That looks like so much fun!