We found the animal barns first, but before we could get too far past the entrance we saw a miniature horse team that was taking fair-goers for wagon rides, and decided to take a ride first. Lauren thought the horses were so cute and had a fun wagon ride with Mama and Dada while Nana and Grandpa took pictures when we returned. Once we got out of the wagon she even got to pet the two small horses, which she also really liked.
|In front of a wooden barn|
|These are actually mini horses, not ponies|
|Lauren was a fan|
After our wagon ride, we continued into the animal barn, where Lauren got to pet (but didn't really want to hold) some bunnies, and see calves, mother pigs with their piglets, and sheep in their pens. She seemed to really love seeing most of the animals, but was quite distressed by one adolescent calf who couldn't seem to stop mooing loudly at frequent intervals. Even when we moved on to the other half of the barn, behind a partial wall, we could hear the calf above other sounds, and after a little while Lauren was done with being in the barn, even though she was enjoying watching the sheep.
|Meeting a bunny|
|Wool there you are (while wearing wool pants)|
Next we moved on to another building filled with local historic items. Lauren had fun sitting in an old-fashioned school desk, and surprisingly was fascinated to watch a woman spinning wool into thread on a manual spinning wheel.
|The seat of higher learning|
|Watching some spinning|
After that we had a bit of lunch and then joined the gathering crowd at the pig arena. We thought it was going to be a pig scramble where young children try to catch piglets and get to keep the one they catch to raise as their own. Instead, it was a sort of pig race where the pigs were kept in a small enclosure until they were let free and then their owners tried to call their pig over to them using a treat as a bribe, all while not being allowed to leave their seats. The actual race was interesting to watch, but we didn't enjoy the set-up when the helpers were getting the piglets into the enclosure. The pigs were not happy to be taken out of their pens in the barn and brought on leashes to the arena and let out loud, unhappy squeals as they struggled against the other end of the leash. Lauren was quite dismayed at the sound, but once the pigs quieted down in their enclosure again, she liked watching them run their race.
|Those pig squeals are loud!|
|Watching the pig race|
|They were not very fast|
After watching a couple pig races, we left the arena and spent a bit of time in the blacksmith shed, watching the blacksmith work. Jonathan and Lauren played a large iron triangle before we moved on. We walked through the arts and crafts tent a little bit before Lauren raced out a nearby doorway and found a picnic table right outside, which she quickly climbed onto and immediately bent her head to pray for food. She was quite certain that if she prayed, the food would appear, and lucky for her, it did. :)
|One of her creations|
|Might there be any food?|
The last place we explored was the best! It was called Wheeler's Wee Farm and was a miniature farm set up especially for children. Lauren received a basket upon entering the enclosure and filled it up with all kinds of items from her farming experience. The first stop was a touch tank with sea animals from the Maine ocean. Lauren touched a few of the animals, but then suddenly, before any of us could react, reached her hand in the tank and whipped out one of the sea stars! We quickly had her give it back to the volunteer and had her touch it instead. Next, she helped dig for clams at a sandbox set up with gardening rakes and plastic clams. One clam went into her basket, and she moved on to a lobster boat (an actual motor boat that was done up to look like a lobster boat), and took a plastic lobster out of a lobster trap to add to her basket. After that, the real farming began as Lauren planted some seeds (dried beans) and picked a plastic carrot to put in her basket. Then she went into a silo to collect a cup of chicken feed (unpopped popcorn) and another of cow feed (dog food, I think). We put the cow feed cup into her basket to be used later, and she carried the chicken feed to a chicken coop with real chickens in it on the other side of the silo and dumped it into the coop (in a section the chickens couldn't reach) and then took out a wooden egg for her basket. Next Grandpa helped her pick an apple from a wooden apple tree (the apples were so realistic-looking that we all thought they were real until we felt them) to add to her growing collection of items in her basket. Then she moved on to a really cute lumberjack display where Grandpa helped her use a plastic chainsaw to "cut" a thin birch trunk. After she had her fill of firewood cutting, she got to add a round of birch wood to her basket. We then moved on to the last set, a small shed made into a barn where Lauren fed the wooden cow and then milked it before getting a small milk bottle to put in her basket. When we left the barn, we found ourselves at a sorting station. While Lauren had enjoyed the whole farm experience, this might have been her favourite part. She had such fun sorting and organizing the items in her basket into the different bins and crates. It was the kind of activity she really loves, and I think she still wanted to do more when her basket was completely empty. Once she had all the items put carefully into their correct containers, she was given a wooden dollar token for all her hard work, and then we went into another shed set up as a little general store where she got to pick out one snack to "buy" and take along with her. She chose a small bag of pretzels and then we went back into the farm area for some pictures of her in a couple cut-out photo areas. Then we said goodbye to the farm and left the adorable set up for other children to explore. It was one of the cutest and most well put together children's areas I've ever seen, and I was almost as much of a fan of it as Lauren was!
|Can I have it?|
|...and harvesting carrots!|
|Getting the feed out of the silo|
|Gotta bring it to the chickens and cows|
|Stopping to pick the apples|
|Quite a collection|
|Grandpa shows her how it's done|
|How does this work?|
|Sorting it all out|
|I just wanna be a sheep, baa baa baa baa|
|Not so sure about being a chicken|
|A great time!|
After all that excitement, it was time to get home for Lauren to have a late nap after all her adventures of the day. We thoroughly enjoyed the Litchfield Fair and especially Wheeler's Wee Farm, and hope to be able to come back and experience it again someday!