Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Vermont: Snowflake Bentley

As much as I am a beach bum, I do think snow is beautiful. I love the way that it looks when it falls and creates this blanket on everything. If only it could stay that way and then maybe I would love it forever. All right who am I kidding; snow in my mind is good for all of a day, ok maybe a week, and usually that is only during Christmas time.
artwork from Vermont-postcard
Source: Examiner.com- Stowe, Vermont

In Northern Vermont, there is a place called the Kingdom, it is made up of a few small towns, one of which is Jericho. This happens to be the home of a Vermonter named
Snowflake Bentley, his given name is Wilson Bentley but his love of snowflakes is what made him famous. Wilson was born in 1865 and died in 1926.
Sign on the front of the Old Mill
Museum signs
National Historic Site

What made him so special, well believe it or not his love and desire to learn about snowflakes, Snowflake Bentley is credited with discovering that no two snow flakes are alike, that all snowflakes are begin as tiny water droplets that you cannot see that form into a six branched flake. Now, think about when he was alive, that’s right 1865 to 1926.

Portrait of Snowflake Bentley
Snowflake Bentley studied snowflakes with his microscope and then eventually a camera. The book about his life is really a must read (that’s why it was included in my Vermont Box for my nephew). Snowflake Bentley studied and photographed thousands of snowflakes. You can see some of his original works at the Snowflake Bentley museum in Jericho Vermont. Ironically, Wilson “Snowflake “ Bentley died a few short weeks after being in a snowstorm.
his camera and tools


some of his original snowflake pictures

The museum exhibit is housed in two small rooms in the Old Mill, which has its own history. The museum includes a display of the microscope that was used to study snowflakes, the try that was used to collect snowflake samples and more. The exhibit is very small but interesting.

the old Mill view from the parking lot
The Old Mill

roller mill explanation

The rollers that are not used for different things!

Personally, I wouldn’t make the trip to see the museum as it is very small and we explored the entire Mill in an hour but being in the area, I would highly recommend stopping by.

The old Mill in Jericho is an incredible building; I love the way it looks from afar. The mill or Chittenden Mill was names after the First Governor of Vermont. The mill was making the transition to a more modern process in 1885. It still makes me smile when I think of “Modern in 1885”. The more modern approach of a gradual reduction roller process replaced the old grinding with millstones method.
Old Mill from the bridge

sign on the way to the Old Mill

The Brown River with the use of four turbines and belt driven roller mills this processed the flour that was brought in from the mid-west for the Northern Vermonters powered the mill. In 1859, the millers’ house was built. Where the footbridge is now, used to be a covered bridge.

I have to say that I find history more and more appealing as I get older, its nice to see how things changed to get where we are today.
Some of our treasures from our adventures in Jericho!
postcards and snowflake charms

Snowflake storybook
snowflake Bentley sign

 Have you had your snowflakes yet?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Shelburne Farms: Part Two

As I posted last week on Shelburne Farms, I wanted to break the posts up to keep them shorter but also so that the feeling of the post can change.

Shelburne Farms is amazing at making connections with children so they are able to see how connected we as a people are to the farm. Back into the farmyard we go, remember in the previous post (you can read that here); I spoke about the different activities that you can do every half an hour? The set up of the activities changes a little each day but for the most part, they offer the same ones. This particular morning that we went, they were offering the children to learn about lambs. We learned about their body parts and the children could dress up like a lamb. It was pretty funny to see them putting on lamb parts, then we learned about how lambs have four stomachs, just like a cow. Finally the children were able to make wool bracelets out of the wool collected from some of the sheep on Shelburne farms.

The 30-minute center, started by the children brushing the wool to get it softer and ready to go, then they twisted it into a long piece of string by using a hook and adding more as they needed too. Each one of my babies was able to make one and the best part; they called them their farm super bracelets.
twisting the wool to make a bracelet (see the brushes on the table)
Bean got the biggest kick out of his bracelet

Super power bracelets!

The children love to go to the chicken coop and watch the chickens move around their home, if you are lucky enough to be at Shelburne Farms in the early morning, you can see them open up the coop and watch the chickens explore the farm yard. At the end of the day they also have an opportunity to help put the chickens back into their coop. This is hilarious to watch! There just aren’t even words. Inside the chicken coop, there are interactive activities to learn about the life cycle of a chicken, parts of an egg, the different types of chickens and how to identify them. What is great are these are all things that you could easily recreate in any classroom or school. 
watching her eggs
time for the chicken parade

measuring eggs from the chicken coop

another chicken
all the breeds of chickens and their characteristics

cycles of eggs

Inside the barn are more activities for the children to play with and again make all of those connections. They have puzzles of the animals so the children can learn all of the parts; there are tractors to climb on, to push and to take apart. There is a reading library with all books about animals and farm life. How about some weaving with wool strips made from the sheep. You could spend an entire afternoon in the playroom; they have dress up so you can dress up like a farmer.
dress like a farmer

don't you just love a carpet made out of veggies

play with farm tools

host your own farmers market

learning parts of a lamb, weaving

do you know the difference?

piggy parts!

your turn?

time for weaving

Moving back outside to the animals, you can milk cows and learn all about the amount of milk they produce and the many things that you can make with milk. I love listening to the groups of children and their answers! All of the staff that work at the farm are called Farmer and their name. My kiddos got the biggest kick out of being called Farmer Pumpkin, Bean and Peanut. It just helps to set the tone and helps to again make those connections.

Peanut milking Ariella
Pumpkin milking Ariella

Bean milking Ariella

Ariella, pregnant with another calf

Woodstock, one of the calves

During one of the trips we were able to help groom the horses, the children learned how to walk around a horse, how to care for a horse and even the proper way to behave around a horse.
they loved grooming the horse
saying hello

"tickling the horse"

ready for his close up!

Not all of the activities on the farm are guided by the “farmer staff” there are lots of activities that you can just walk around with your children and explore by yourselves. One of my personal favorites is the story hike; you can read a story while you hike one of the hiking/walking trails. Every few feet is a laminated page from a story book Velcroed to a sign. The children loved racing to each page and were competing to see who could get there faster and read! Who can complain about that, exercise and literacy? On this trail there were little tee pee huts that were made from tree branches, my kiddos loved walking into the tee pees and counting how many branches it took to make one.

Todays book: Inside Mouse, Outside Mouse
Hiking and reading! Nothing better!

Hello Donkey

The hike ends right by the donkey pen and one of the many gardens, I didn’t talk about it yet but there is a huge inn on the property and all of the food that is served there is grown/produced on Shelburne Farms, but that is for another post. Back to the mini garden, you can walk through pear, and apple trees, they haven’t started to produce fruit yet so we were able to talk about how long the children thought it would take and making guesses as to which tree was the oldest. We spent the next hour playing in the garden, examining the food that was growing and talking about all the different meals that we could make from those. The children loved eating the fresh berries, and measuring the corn, and picking wild flowers.

don't you love the flowers?



so yummy!

picking berries

our stash!

Moving back down to the farmyard itself, we stopped by and saw the piglets. That’s right Mama pig had her piglets, nine of them to be exact. I will never forget holding Bean so he could see the piglets who just happened to be nursing and him tapping me on the chest saying “Boob” (yes that’s his way of letting me know he wants to nurse). I couldn’t have asked for a better connection to how the piglets eat. We spent so long sitting there watching them nurse and how they moved and moved around to each nipple.

hungry piglets from Miss Piggy
aren't they adorable?

This particular trip ended with lunch in the farmyard and from the food cart. The food cart serves all local food grown in the region. It is a little on the pricey side so, I suggest splitting the meals or just doing a snack. The food on the other hand is amazing; my children had a grilled cheese sandwich with avocado and veggie chips. They adored it, and to top it off, chocolate milk from some brown Swiss cows that we know! I had a roast beef sandwich, with tomatoes, cheese and on a roll made right at the farm!

the food cart
the menu


I hope you enjoyed your “trip” through Shelburne Farms and plan an actual visit there; I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Helpful hints for making a successful trip to Shelburne Farms:

Know right off the bat that you will not be able to enjoy the entire farm in one day, pick what is important and enjoy those activities instead of trying to rush to fit everything in. Enjoy the animals and the moments, you will get dirty, this is a farm, so dress accordingly. I suggest closed toes shoes for the children; it just helps keep everyone safe. If you have little ones, bring a stroller it will be used! Pack water, you spend the majority if the time outside and well it is hot! Finally, have fun and make sure to get a snack at the food cart!

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