Ross Farm Museum Tour – Part 2

As promised, here is the second half of our day at Ross Farm Museum.  You can read Part 1 HERE if you missed it!

Ross Farm MuseumThe barn is a very interesting stop along the way.  The main level is filled with animals – cows, sheep, pigs, oxen and the occasional chicken….AND the barn cats!  But the upper level is filled with all sorts of old pieces of equipment.  I’ve seen lots of old equipment in to course of my life { both Dad and the handsome Mr. Byrne LOVE old farm machinery so picture every drive in the country in my life, scoping out old tractors and equipment! } but there are pieces here that I have no idea what they are used for.  Plus, the structure of the barn itself is pretty spectacular!
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I recall from our first visit how struck I was by this chicken fencing.  There’s something so simple and yet brilliant about this fence.  I had great plans of recreating this fence at home when I got chickens but that never happened…so I’ll just enjoy the fencing everytime we visit the museum. { We’d like to go back, we heard about a few special weekends planned throughout the upcoming year. }

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This lock caught Michael’s eye when we went into the general store.  He asked me to snap a picture.  So I did, aren’t I a good wife?!?!?  { I really liked it, too…I didn’t mind the request at all, really, but shhhh, don’t tell him!! }

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I love this style of fencing.  I grew up on a farm with stone fences all over the place, so to see how they would’ve looked back in the day was interesting.  Even our new place {I use the term loosely…as it will be 2 full years next month… } we have stone fences in amongst the apple trees.  The girls wondered why they would’ve piled the stone like that and angled the wood.  So, we explained that the stones would’ve been collected off the land as they plowed and prepared the land for planting.  And this fence wouldn’t stand if it was straight.  It takes more supplies and time but it is a solid fence, meant to stand the test of time, weather and animals.

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There is a working Blacksmith shop on site.  I have since learned that the blacksmith is Matthew, a cousin to a local gal { Hi, Sarah!!! } who was happy to share some stories and facts with me.

Matthew puts shoes on oxen teams here, not just the ones here at the museum, but other teams, as well.  The shoes he makes at the blacksmith shop.  I’m completely blown away with the skill and what blacksmiths can create with something as hard as steel.   He makes things like hinges or whatever they need around the museum, too, I love how they can supply so many of their own needs on site!  And then there are the items he makes to sell at the museum Gift Store….busy guy!!

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Matthew also was filling in at the cooper shop so we chatted with him here for a long time, too, about building apple barrels and the history surrounding New Ross and the barrel industry.  Michael finds this shop most fascinating, I think this is probably his favourite stop along the way.  All the wood is cut and milled on site and the barrels that are built here are sold in the Gift Store.  It smelled good in there, all that fresh wood, and the stories were very interesting….but as you can see, Hannah was bored…she was waiting on the wagon ride!

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We did take the wagon ride back up to the main area, at this point the rain had started.  But just that short ride wasn’t enough for the girls, so we waited for our next turn, back in the barn, making friends with the pigs { who, as Hannah loves to say, ‘Had a nose as big as her head!!!!’ }  We did the full round, with a front seat view and the attention of the teamster who was so willing to chit chat with us.

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The rain and cool temperatures made us decide it was probably time to call it a day.  We enjoyed the time and made some great memories as a family here.  I would highly recommend taking your family to Ross Farm Museum any time of year, the staff are sure to make it an enjoyable experience!!  In fact, I think the staff are what makes this museum so much better than a ‘regular’ museum.  These people are connected to New Ross and the land here and thus, it is easy for them to speak with knowledge and passion about the history and life on a farm.

Our drive home was spent talking about the things we saw and learned and we each got to talk about our favourite thing.  I’ll admit I was surprised with just how taken the girls were with the pigs!!  We did, however, break up our journey home with a stop for pie and sundaes!!  { Forget the pig with a nose as big as Hannah’s head, Lena ate a piece of pie as big as her head!!! }

To be continued,