Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pumpkin Heads @ Billings Farm

I had the pleasure of attending a private screening of the movie "Buck" last night.  The movie won an award at the Sundance festival earlier this year and I certainly agree it was well deserved.  The movie is a documentary about the gentle Natural Horsemanship horse trainer Buck Brannaman.   If the movie comes to your town, GO SEE IT.   

The movie was held at the very unusual Billings Farm in Woodstock Vermont.
Billings Farm is the only national park dedicated to farming.
It is a living museum.    They also have an award winning herd of Jersey cows and several draft teams.

They were also very impacted by Hurricane Irene. Their bridges were destroyed, their fields damaged and their tourists trapped at the farm for a few days.  The visitors got to milk cows, collect eggs and do farm chores until the river subsided.

See more Billings Farm info at:

After the movie I toured the big barn where equipment and exhibits from the last 2 centuries are housed.

There was an incredible display of unusual pumpkins on the first floor of the museum barn that I pored over for a long time.  Click on the photos to see them even better.


 I have never seen many of these varieties of pumpkins before and I sure wish I had some of the seeds!!!


This particular pumpkin really got my attention.  

I found some great info online about these Pink Banana Squash on how to cook them and how big and productive they are, so  I am gonna plant me some!

There were a hundred unusual pumpkins and squash.

It was also nice to see a few of the ones that I grew this summer: Turban, Delicata, Carnival, Jack Be Little and Sweet Dumpling.

Then I started walking around the other exhibits and saw an 1880's farm workshop and noticed many many items that some of our Vermont farmers still use.


Here was the treasure:  this is how the oxen yokes were shaped for hundreds of years.

My neighbors are still doing it this way, down the road.


You may recognize some of the items in this shop...

The field equipment exhibit was fascinating.

I learned what these unusual items were.

Can you guess?

Click on the photo to see it larger, and then make a guess.


Bog shoes.  Ever heard of them ?      Here is the info:

The whetstone is above the cowhorn.

Here is the ancient mower with metal wheels.

( my farmer friends STILL are using these...I am not kidding!!!!)

There were many exhibits dedicated to preparing the soil, planting the crops, and harvesting and feeding the livestock. One can view the life of the farm wife, visit a town meeting, attend a rural school, or stop by the crossroads general store. For the visitor who has ever wondered about boiling sap and sugaring, ice cutting, cheese making, butter making or the importance of orchards and cider making, these are all part of the exhibit experience. 

I could of spent another 3 hours there... but I looked around and noticed that the crowds were gone, the lights were going off and there was silence.    Time to head home.

I will definitely return to explore the dairy barn, the farm house and to again crawl amongst some of the best farm exhibits I have ever seen.

I can not wait to phone my old farm boss, Bob, and tell him he has museum quality farm equipment !!


1 comment:

  1. I got the movie from the library. I've watched it twice since, once to see again, and once with the commentary running. I've also read 2 of his books since watching the movie.

    Some day I'd love to see this museum. I love looking at old implements and learning how they worked.