It has always fascinated me to watch something being MADE. I'm hoping to pass on this CURIOSITY and APPRECIATION for the time and effort it takes for something to be HAND-MADE, MANUFACTURED or PRODUCED.
So, a few weeks ago I took my NIECE, my GRAND-NEPHEW and my 4 GRAND-NIECES on our 2nd ANNUAL "HOW THINGS ARE MADE DAY".
This year it was harder than ever to find a summer day when all 5 kids (and one mom) were ALL available for a day like this. TENNIS LESSONS, SWIM MEETS, HORSE SHOWS, LACROSSE CAMP........ you get the idea.
We finally found a Friday AFTERNOON - NOT a WHOLE DAY, but I'll take it.
Naturally, some of the places I had chosen were only open for TOURS on Mondays-Thursdays. Others were already booked full. But I found TWO interesting places to spend our afternoon.
First we visited KREIDER FARMS (established in 1736) in Manheim, PA.
I spent about 10 years living in Lancaster County in the 1970's and 1980's. I LOVED the open country-side and watching the COWS wandering about in the fields. AT THE SAME TIME EVERY DAY, the cows followed each other into the barn to be milked. One day I visited a farm and the farmer put one of the milking machines onto my finger so I could experience the sensation. WEIRD. After they were milked, those cows just MOZIED back into the fields to WANDER around and EAT until it was time for their next milking. It all seemed so NATURAL, EARTHY, and KIND.
Well, things have changed and I was quite DISTURBED to see all of the cows held CAPTIVE, ALL DAY, EVERY DAY in one building with very little space to move around. These cows NEVER go outside and roam around the fields, as I had remembered. Oh the GUILT of sharing THIS milking experience with my grand-nephew and nieces, when I was expecting to share a very different experience!!
Yet when I asked my 12-year-old if she thought the cows minded being all crowded in one small space as they filed into the milking circular, she responded "THEY DON'T SEEM TO MIND IT AT ALL". Phew!
THANKFULLY none of the kids seem worse off for this learning experience. My NIECE and I however, are very SAD that farming has become such a FACTORY experience for the animals.
We all enjoyed learning about the MILKING PROCESS - fascinated by the COMPUTERIZATION of IDENTIFYING each cow as they stepped onto the MILKING CIRCULAR, then MEASURING the output of MILK and then watching the tubes CARRY the milk immediately to the REFRIGERATED area of the barn.
It took only a SECOND for each of us to reach into the crate for a bottle of CHOCOLATE MILK that they offered.
So, ON TO THE NEXT STOP!!
We drove 15 min to LITITZ, where I attended BOARDING SCHOOL (Linden Hall School for Girls) in 11th GRADE and where I also LIVED FOR 2 YEARS in my 20's when I was MARRIED. I LOVE this cute little town.
Right across the street from Linden Hall is the OLDEST PRETZEL BAKERY IN AMERICA. Back in the day, we each made a pretzel, they baked it in their WOOD-FIRED OVENS and we ATE the hard pretzel after it was baked. DELICIOUS!
They no longer bake them for us, but they DID give us a small bag of PRETZELS that were made in their large FACTORY nearby.
The kids really enjoyed LEARNING how to TWIST a PRETZEL into shape!
An ANNUAL tradition of SHARING EXPERIENCES WITH AUNT JOAN that I hope these KIDS will always remember.