Monday, September 24, 2012

Aw Shucks

In keeping with one of our favorite Fall traditions, the kids and I enjoyed a day at Aw Shucks Farm. (Anyone local, this is the place for all things fun for Fall.) This year, though, the kids and I visited on a homeschoolers-only day and participated in a variety of hands-on learning stations around the farm.

We met up with a few friends and spent several hours of outdoor fun while learning a thing or two. First stop:   a lesson in how corn makes it from the field and to our kitchens and pantries. 

We learned that corn is in over 3,000 commonly-used products today and that we eat or wear it everyday without even realizing it. The kids also learned some fun facts about corn from long ago: the husks were turned into dolls for little girls or used as bristles on a household broom, and that corn cobs were (ahem) used as toilet paper. It goes without saying that the group of kids burst into a confused mixture of laughter and eeewwws.
Second stop: a short explanation of what various farm animals meant to the daily life of farmers many years ago, followed by a chance to feed some goats and sheep. As usual, Grady Lee couldn't get on his knees quick enough so he could touch and be as close as possible to the animals. Annalyse played like she was scared and wanted nothing to do with the animals. And Micah, well he took it upon himself to crawl on his hands and knees and pick up as many accidentally dropped pellets of feed so that Grady Lee could keep on feeding the animals.
Once the animals were fed and our hands slathered in sanitizer, we headed to the third stop: touring and learning about the oldest passenger car on the East coast. The kids learned a few railway signals and how mail was delivered. Annalyse stood surprisingly still and quiet, minus the occasional "Choo-choo!" she belted out.
Fourth stop: visiting McCain's General Store where the kids stepped back 100 years in time and discovered the purpose and importance of a general store in community life back then. The best part? A carmel apple lollipop as they exited the store. The even better part? It took Annalyse a good 30 minutes to lick that sticky thing gone, which meant she was quiet and compliant because her mouth was full.
Fifth stop: cramming together for a short hayride around the back fields of the farm. Grady Lee was so tender and careful with Annalyse - it melted my heart to see. He kept his arms carefully around her the entire time and I caught him whispering in her ear a few times as well. For all the roughness and loudness that boy has, he has an equally soft and loving spot in him as well.
Sixth stop: eating a picnic lunch and exploring all the play areas. Annalyse spent most of her time going in and out of some miniature cabins and saying, "My house! My house!" and flailing her arms at anyone who dared to come through the door without her permission.
The boys raced friends on burlap bags down this slide and went in every position imaginable. There was a pile of hay at the bottom so it was safe for a crash landing, right?
Once Annalyse lifted her eyes beyond the small cabins and realized there was so much more to play on, she was off and running to the giant hay bales to climb with her brothers.
She may be small, but watch out because where there is a will there is a way! Miss Almost Two Years Old grunted and groaned but managed to get herself up and over each bale (in the time in took my boys to lap her six or seven times).
The boys joined some friends and raced this slide several times as well. When Grady Lee emerged at the bottom after his first ride down, he ran to me and yelled, "I've never been on a slide inside a silo before! It was so fun and there wasn't even any dirty corn cobs in the way!" And off he went for another turn.
Seventh stop: traipsing through a corn maze while chatting with a friend and realizing that we had been following six kids under the age of seven for 15 minutes without paying any attention to where we had been going. I'm not a personal fan of corn mazes and I'm unashamedly horrible at reading maps. Thankfully my friend took hold of our corn field wanderings and got us out of the maze in record time... even if we did exit at the entrance and never actually find our way through correctly.
Eighth stop: choosing pumpkins! The kids rolled and lifted and inspected until they were satisfied with their choice. Micah has already devised what kind of face he wants carved on his and Grady Lee has asked if he "can take all the guts out of the inside and fill it with birdseed and put it on the deck to see what kinds of new birds come to our house?" 
Ninth stop: saying goodbye to friends, making the tired trip home, and not having to tell anyone to head to their room for quiet time because we were all so tired it was the only thing we wanted to to!
Tenth stop: marking my mental calendar for a return trip next Fall because we had so much fun!


  1. Wow, looks like SUCH a fun day! I want to go to your school! :-)
    Those pics of Grady Lee, the Protector, are so stinkin' cute! Love him! Yay for a beautiful day on the farm!

  2. Look at those cute red faces at the end of the day! How fun...wish we could've joined you all!!! What a great memory-making day! And Grady Lee melted my heart! What a sweet guy!!! Hug him for me, please! I had to laugh at Micah picking up the fallen food for Grady. Ah...your kids are so sweet! Love all your pictures!