Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Horses, Scythes, Tomatoes, and Ice Cream. Sunday at the Pearl Buck Birthplace.

Sam Arbogast and his Suffolk Draft Horses
The Historic Garden Tour at the Birthplace today took a hands-on turn as participants were invited to take a turn at turning up a row in the field using the plough horses and cut down some cover crops using a scythe before sitting down for homemade ice cream.  

It turned out to be a perfect day for the event, in spite of a rainy morning that had us thinking we might have to postpone or even cancel the event again.  Fortunately it cleared and because the rain hadn't been as hard and concentrated as it had last Sunday morning, the ground was fine for ploughing.   

Sam Arbogast got things rolling with an introduction to his  Suffolk Draft Horses and then led everyone out to the field where he led a ploughing demonstration, ultimately allowing participants to drive the horses themselves.  

Rebecca Clayton talks about bugs
That was followed by a presentation on insects, “Good Bugs and Bad Bugs” by Rebecca Clayton that explained what insects can serve as pollinators, which eat other insects, and which can destroy your vegetables, fruits and flowers.  The presentation also included useful tips for getting rid of them.

The scything demonstration by Karline Jensen, followed on that.  It turned out that a few people had brought along their own scythes, so participants were able to discuss the relative merits and intended uses of different kinds of scythes, including an antique one pulled out of the Stulting Barn that has additional wooden spikes for catching the crop as it is cut.

Karline Jensen leads a scything demonstration
Participants took turns using the tools themselves, cutting down some of the cover crops planted in the garden.   

Eddie Fletcher demonstrates a different, older scythe
After all that plowing, scything, and clearing the garden of pests, people needed energy, so it was time for ice cream, homemade by Rene White.  She had both peach and vanilla flavored.  I will confess that the upside to the fact that the threat of rain had dampened attendance somewhat below our expectations, was that most of us got to try both flavors.

Now you should know that I am finicky about ice cream.  I am as discerning as some men are about vintage wines or Cuban cigars.  I'd rather have none than a spoonful of mediocre ice cream, and if it's served to me in a restaurant, I'm likely to spit it out demand it be taken from in front of me.  I most certainly don't praise lightly!  So when I say the ice cream on Sunday as delicious, and a perfect ending to a great afternoon, you know it was really good!  I could have made a meal off of it!

The next and last Garden Tour for the season is planned for September 16.  Stay tuned for details!  

Doug Smith compares the scythe from the Stulting Barn to one his family had.
Just hang the tools on the tree, it's time for ice cream.

Rene White has just finished serving, assisted by Adrienne Cedarleaf


Ice Cream in the orchard.  Thanks everyone!

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