These first few photos were taken at Rocky Acre B&B in Mt. Joy, PA. A couple days on the farm replenishes the soul of a wannabe farmer... - and the kids who did everything from gather eggs, feed a goat, ride a horse, learn how to milk cows, and play with about 20 cats enjoying just about the cushiest life I've ever seen. In front of my daughter wearing the Cafe Chocolate shirt (an awesome cafe with the nicest staff in the adorable little town of Lititz), is Oreo the goat (you can't see Oreo). Oreo follows his miniature pony friend Cookie where ever he goes.
We learned that silos are pretty much obsolete. These silos are empty as farmers tend to use a system of trenches now. The trenches make it easier and faster for farmers to store and access their grain. This B&B is a working dairy farm.
For those with natural fertilizer envy - check out the blue tank. A working dairy farm produces much manure - into the tank it goes for storage until ready for use in the fields.
One of our day trips brought us to a coal mine tour in Ashland, PA. The neighboring town of Centralia is home to literally a handful of residents. An underground mine fire has been burning since 1962, and all buildings have been condemned. This photo below is pretty interesting for many reasons. If you look to the right of the center of the photo, you'll see smoke from the burning underbelly of the ghost town. A little creepy if you ask me!
On to things more pleasant - salty, fried, addictive goodness. This super cool tour of the Herr's factory was a feast for all the senses. Can you imagine snacking on a handful of warm potato chips just 8 minutes out of the kettle? I was very impressed with the cleanliness of the factory, and quality control is pretty tight. I was also pleased to know that there is very little waste. The cardboard shipping boxes are reused until they fall apart, and drivers are paid an incentive to bring the cardboard boxes back. There is a system that captures the heat and energy produced by the cooking process which is then used to heat the building. Oh, the coolest part - there is a very high-tech scanning process that the potato chips pass over, and when the sensors detect any green or brown chips, a very accurate puff of air shoots the reject out of the mix - it's literally ejected, and then fed to the nearby farm animals.
I am so fascinated by the lifestyle and culture of the Amish people. Though I tried not to ogle them and take photos of the Amish people like they're some sort of spectacle, I did take this photo of an Amish home as we passed by on our buggy. The neat row of seedlings in the window caught my eye. Many homes had perfect-sized gardens newly planted for spring or with milk jug cloches out. Our driver said that most Old Order Amish use these dark shades rather than curtains or blinds. I have mixed feelings about the tourism in this area. Apparently the Amish and Mennonites in this area have similar mixed feelings.
Happy Easter if you're celebrating! Here's a little project we did in Hershey. You make this by dipping a small balloon in chocolate. Add color to the bowl of chocolate for a second coat to make this artful little tulip-shaped bowl. Pop your balloon after chilling in the fridge and voila!
And because I've taught my child well, as she's playing on the swing, "Mom, I'm weeding"!