Yesterday our two sweet babysitters brought the boys on an "official" visit to their family's working dairy farm. Catherine and Rebekah live right up the road from us, so we pass by their house (and farm) multiple times per day. The boys have always loved to watch the tractors, check out the cows, and view the silos in the distance. But this was the first time they have ever been up close and personal with the workings of the farm...and it was definitely one of the highlights of their summer!
Rebekah and Catherine are the youngest two daughters in a family of six children. Their oldest brother, Jonathan, helps with the operation of the dairy farm (which takes WAY more work than I ever would have imagined). The girls all help their mom with the family's gardening and baking business, which has a stand at our local farmer's market. So between the gardens, the animals, the machinery, and the baked goods, these two boys were in HEAVEN. I will let the pictures do most of the talking here!
But first, the views. This is one of the most beautiful farms in all of Madison County. Oh, my. We were surrounded by acres and acres of rolling pastures, framed entirely by the Blue Ridge Mountains. Add in the antebellum farmhouse and it doesn't get more classic Virginia than this.
And look at this beautiful pecan tree in the back yard!
The kids' first stop was inside the milking barn, where they got a quick tutorial on how the equipment actually works. We learned that this farm's milk is sold to a co-op and then is ultimately used to make cheese!
We met a very large, but timid cow...
As well as a calf, who didn't want the boys anywhere near her!
We inspected multiple chicken coops (where turkeys and guinea hens also reside). We get our eggs from these birds weekly, so it was fun to meet their makers!
There were sheep in the distance, as well as plenty of ducklings, goslings, and chicks.
The boys loved seeing the tractors (old and new),
and the massive silos.
But they really had fun with the large piles of rocks (go figure),
and a brick "castle" with a secret entry (made by the girls' brothers).
But when asked what their absolute favorite part of the day was, they didn't name the large equipment, the animals, or the dirt. Instead, Casey's favorite aspect of the visit was visiting Catherine and Rebekah's garden, where he could pick (and EAT) as many sugar snap peas as he desired. That's right, my boy LOVED the peas! Unfortunately, there's no picture as evidence.
And Gibbs's favorite part of the visit? Picking (and eating) the mulberries from the mulberry tree. They stood here for a LONG time, shoveling fistfuls of the berries into their mouths. Their hands and their teeth were stained purple to show for it!
We actually used the girls' mulberries last summer to make an amazingly delicious cobbler (you can find the recipe here). You can substitute any kind of berry in lieu of mulberries in the simple, rustic dessert. Raspberry cobbler? Blackberry cobbler?
So my boys obviously have a common theme here...FOOD. They love to eat. So what better way to end the visit than with some of the girls' homemade sugar cookies?! These were two happy campers.