Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall Farm Day at Landmark Park

We've been to Landmark Park before.  They have a summer concert series that we really enjoy.  With Grandma in town the Fall Farm Day was something we put on our calendar, especially when Grandma heard they would be harvesting peanuts.  "What do peanuts look like when they come out of the ground?" she asked us.  We didn't know, but we knew Landmark Park would have the answer.

Ben was too cool to sit with us at first.

Alan was so sad to leave the "corn sand".  He kept asking to go back and I totally forgot until I looked at this photo.  Sorry, Alan.

The quilt show was included in our entrance fee.  If I ever get married again I am going to hang old quilts from the rafters of a barn with twinkle lights. :) It was magical.

Grandma JoJo was in her element explaining the way this nine-patch was put together...

Landmark Park has become a refuge for old buildings throughout Southeast Alabama that would have otherwise been torn down.  They move them here and open them up for tourists.  This is an old one room school house from the area.  Ben was so impressed that they had two doors.  A girl door and a boy door, "so that no one gets the cheese touch, mom."

Ringing the bell in the old Headland Presbyterian church.

Looking at tadpoles.

They LOVED the blacksmith.  We learned that a blacksmith keeps a rhythm with his hammer and strikes the anvil while turning the metal because it takes more energy to stop and start hammering than it does to keep a steady rhythm.  I had no idea...

His prized handmade square head nail.

I thought this was fascinating.... and tiring.  It's a lathe. They use a foot pedal attached to a young sapling and then apply pressure with a hand chisel.  He'd been working on the same piece of wood all day. I have so much more appreciation for old furniture.

Sugar cane.  Finally something I had seen before.  I remembered the piles of husks and the smell of burnt sugar from my mission days in El Salvador.

Fresh cane juice.  The boys didn't like it so Sadie finished it for them.

Making sugarcane syrup.

I kept having to remind them that sugar cane was for eating and not to be used as a ninja staff.

Also, I had only ever seen sugar cane harvested on an industrial level with huge fields being burned in one fell swoop and ginormous cane trucks hauling the stalks off to be processed.  It was so interesting to see it done with manual labour and mules.  Along with cotton plantations there were sugar cane and peanut plantations too.  I cannot begin to imagine what it must have been like for those who were made to work them.

Grandma JoJo learning all about peanuts...
She managed to get her own little peanut tutorial from a real peanut farmer.  You can see the pods hanging down from the plant if you look closely.  She even sampled a raw peanut and we all decided there is a reason you eat peanuts boiled or roasted.

A fun day, full of sun and learning.

Whether you're harvesting peanuts, cotton and sugarcane, or pumpkins, corn and apples, it's good to know where things come from and learn about how people have lived and worked.  I'm happy we could learn a bit more about the South.  At least now I can finally tell the difference between a peanut field and a cotton field.  (It all used to look the same to me until October when the cotton was ripe).

A few lessons we took away... very few of us like cane juice, the state bird of Alabama is the Yellow Hammer, people used to work really hard to accomplish small things, everything has to come from somewhere, and lastly, when Ben has his own school there will be a girl door and a boy door.

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