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Monday, July 05, 2010

Independence Day @ Mahaffie Farmstead

I thought their big 19th Century Independence Day thing was on Sunday, so off we went. Only to find out we were a day late.

But the joint was open, and since admission included a stagecoach ride...

Mo was very unhappy initially, and I'm not sure why. One of those situations where she couldn't tell me what's wrong and I couldn't seem to guess it, a monument to frustration all the way around.

The stagecoach driver looked dubious and asked me if I wanted a short tour or a long one. I decided, well, long, might as well get my money's worth. And, I intuited that maybe the ride would settle Mo down.

And it did. She was pretty teary eyed at first, but the rocking, jostling action seemed to calm her. The weather was mild, and even though much of the route was off road, it was a less jarring ride than the covered wagon we rode at Santa-Cali-Gon Days a couple years back (and the covered wagon never left pavement).

If you were going to travel across the West in the 1850s, this would have been the way to do it. Once you got used to the action of the coach, it would probably be easy to doze and nap your way to California.

And of course, being a working farm, there's chickens, a smoke house, oxen, horses, etc. Even a smithy because the stagecoach contract required they have one. Which would have made the farm all the wealthier because of all the neighbors that didn't have their own blacksmiths.

In the basement kitchen we had cornbread and biscuits with freshly churned butter.

By this point, Em had gone from not wanting to go at all to wanting to know how old you have to be to work there.

Hand-feeding Buck and Tip (I think those were their names), Mo really perked up (as I thought she might). For some reason I always thought an ox was something like a zebu, a different species of cattle entirely. How far we've come from our agrarian roots: all they are is castrated bulls. In this case, castrated Durhams.

They're massive animals, and I can appreciate why they'd need to be fixed in order to domesticate them as work animals. You don't want to be throwing a yolk on anything this big if it's personality could be described as 'spirited.'

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