A Visit at Plough in the Stars Farm

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You know, I mentioned before that I am not a “nature” girl but it looks like I’m forcing my way in a lot lately. My friend Michael is one of the owners of Plough in the Stars Farm up in Ipswich, MA. My husband was helping him out this weekend, and I had to babysit my niece so we took the opportunity to give her (okay, me too) an education on the farm, Mister Rogers/school field trip style.

Sorry for the kid-centric pics. I would have taken more non-kid photos but would you believe it? Four year olds take work and I gotta watch her every second! No time to adjust shutter speeds or contemplate light when you’re making sure a kid doesn’t get trampled by a horse.

This is Sydnie. She is 4 and she loooves horses. It came out of nowhere since she lives in the ‘burbs and we don’t know anyone that rides horses. The farm shares space with a riding center (equestrian center?) so when we first pulled up, we spent some time watching the big girls practice riding.

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Then we went into the barn with the riding school’s horses. They were all very friendly and she literally spent an hour or two flittering back and forth from stall to stall, being friends with them all.farmday06

At first she was apprehensive and kept her distance. Eventually she got real comfortable – feeding them carrots and sticking her hands right in there.farmday07

I coaxed her away and towards the farm. There were lots of flowers and she also likes to pick flowers – any sort of tiny weed flowers growing on the sidewalk, she will stop to pick. Imagine her excitement when she was allowed to pick these:
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She went to work on the ancient geisha art of flower arrangement. She took it very seriously.

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And then she guarded those flowers with her life for the rest of the weekend. Remember in high school when people had the flour sack babies? That jar of flowers were like her flour baby.

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We looked at some of the vegetables and she asked a few questions but they were vegetables so you know how that goes. She was pretty excited to pick carrots, and funny thing – all of the carrots went to the farm stand so when she asked for carrots as a snack, I had to buy her mass produced baby carrots from the regular grocery store. Oops!

We both got a lesson in how garlic is harvested. I didn’t know what garlic looked like or how to pick it either. Brian described it to me funny: “Your Crossfit training will come in handy for this.” It was like a sumo deadlift or goblet squat. Anyway, it’s much more amusing when you watch it like this.

That video cracks me up every time.

What really surprised me was how interested she was in the chickens. She’s a cautious kid in general and a lot of things make her nervous. Apparently not chickens.

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First she shocked me by going into the chicken coop. It was funny that the chickens followed her around, and then she followed Mike around like a little chick herself.

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Then she shocked me again by going right into the hen house. She had asked me about going in their “house” a few times that day but I told her she wouldn’t fit. Well she did. All three of us fit.

This was my first time seeing hens in their nests too and I thought it was pretty cool. I love eggs, and I myself was amazed that “this is where the magic happens” – and there they were – just sitting on their eggs and chillin!

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“What do chickens eat?” was one of her questions. I told her vegetables and corn but that wasn’t totally right. I had guessed based on people I knew who fed kitchen veggie scraps to their chickens.  I learned that they prefer bugs & worms, duh. We threw them some weeds and stuff from the garden. They ate some of it but mostly they were searching for the bugs in the weeds.

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They also eat this feed too. Again she did not want to leave the hen house or chicken coop. I had to bribe her with a trip to the beach. Because after princesses, horses, and I guess chickens, she also really really loves the beach (I took her on a beach vacation earlier this year).

After a full day, we went to the beach at Plum Island and took a long walk.

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See how empty the beach is? See how we are fully clothed? That is how I do beach. farmday18

The next day, Syd and I did an actual “beach day”  on the same beach which included crowds of people, playing in the water, full sun, swimsuits, the whole package. It was not fun for me but she had a blast. What also was not fun – locking my keys in the car while on the island, but let’s keep this story on the positive side.

Oh and we visited the boys at the farmstand booth in Newburyport where we got to see the fruits of our (their) labor looking all lush and pretty. She called the farmer’s market a “farm festival”. I like the idea of telling her that the farmer’s market is a festival.

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Cute saleslady. Thanks for giving us city girls a lesson on the farm.

Travel notes:

Plough in the Stars Farm

Newburyport Farmers Market – Sundays, 9-1. I just recently discovered Newburyport and Plum Island. If you’re looking for a day or weekend trip in New England, definitely check it out. It’s got the quaintness of the Cape Cod but without the ridiculous crowds.

Plum Island

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