Friday, January 11, 2013

Farm Show

The Mister wanted to take in not one, but both of the Pennsylvania state farm shows which run concurrently in two separate cities about twenty-five miles apart. We decided Lancaster would be home base for this two day trip, and made accommodations in Ephrata. This way, we could squeeze in a little visiting and I could shop at my favorite department store and book shop.

We do some farming on the side, but before you get images of dairy cows and produce, you should know that our crop is timber. The Mister manages his family's wood lot and does forestry type things that I don't fully understand, but certainly know more about today than when I married him.

It's been a mild winter so far, my favorite kind of winter. Still, it's cold. The kind of cold that makes me wonder what kind of people once built and lived in the old stone houses that dot the countryside. Houses constructed hundreds of years ago, without insulation and modern heating. Were those hearty souls perpetually huddled around a fire? I read once that most of the human existence has been a struggle for warmth, and I believe it.

From the quiet comfort of the car I don't mind seeing picturesque patches of snow dotting the ground and smoke emanating from historic chimneys. I appreciate the beauty of candles glowing in every window after dusk and bare branches against a gray sky. It's the history that gives a PA winter its warmth.

Come along with me...

I couldn't resist trying to capture these sunbeams shining through the clouds. There's something magical about sunbeams illuminating a landscape, like a spotlight from God. 

 We visited a furniture store, and on the way out I noticed this Amish school house. All was quiet, though I'm sure class was in session. 

 This friendly horse wanted to say hello. I always think I can tell a well-loved horse by how friendly it is to strangers. 

 The farm show in Harrisburg was enormous and packed with people. It resembled more of a state fair than an agriculture trade show. Square dancing, fair food, souvenirs for sale, and plenty of animals. Before I knew it, we were surrounded by show cows and immersed in a world of animal pageantry I never imagined.

"Look at that chicken. It has long curly feathers." An exploded down pillow with a beak eyed me with suspicion.
"It must be a mess when it gets dirty."
"Dirty? It probably gets professionally groomed."

Someone had a good time at the farm show getting their hands on animals.

The Keystone show in York was, The Mister informed me, for serious farmers. There was no fooling around. No square dancers, nor show chickens. It was vendors hawking their wares and having deep discussions on water treatment systems for cattle and cover crops. The Mister got serious about trailer equipment and wood pulp machinery, while I collected free pens and ate expensive mediocre french fries for lunch. Since there were no animals, I watched other stroller-pushing farm-type moms. After spending the morning surrounded by the latest in crop harvesting technology, it wasn't long before we were driving back to a place where the newest cutting edge combines sat parked in barns next to two hundred year old homes filled with ancient traditions and agricultural legacies underscored by quiet, hard working people.

I had been thinking about 1 Thessalonians 4:11And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

Live quietly, mind your own business and work with your hands.  A timeless farming ethic for us all, to be used by everyone no matter what our occupation. I find it soothing that we are offered this undemanding and realistic goal for our lives. What a great thought to start the new year.


  1. Such beautiful photos...thanks for sharing them. I would love to visit this part of the country someday...blessings

  2. Love the pics and of course how it was all pulled together with your story. When I have my farmette (thanks for introducing me to that word), I hope to own an exploded down pillow with a beak (you're concocting one in your head right now to send me, aren't you??). Glad the outing was a success!

  3. Woohoo! Two blogs in one week! Things must be looking up! However, the fact that it came into my email inbox at 6:30 AM does not sound like a happy sign. Only morning people and teething babies are up at 6:30 AM (or so I'm told), and we KNOW you're not a morning person!

    I love the third paragraph. It perfectly sums up my feelings about our Pennsylvania winters. If I knew how, I would steal one of your pretty pictures here, overlay the third paragraph over the top in a pretty wintery font, and use it as my screensaver. :oD (I bet my "imPerfect" friend knows how to do that, don't you? Can't you just whip that up for me in Photoshop, Ms. iPH?) Also love the "exploded down pillow with a beak" description!

    1. Oh BAT Mom, you know I'd do that for you. If our photographer du jour gives me permission to use her pic, I'll put whatever words you want on it. No problemo.

    2. For BAT Mom? But of course! I wouldn't deprive her of a screen saver for the world. :)

    3. I would LOVE paragraph #10. My imagination worked overtime to create the image and I would have to find a digital artist to recreate the "exploded down pillow with a beak" ... HAHAHA!!!

  4. I'm new to your blog. Id love to live there if that's what it looks like! What beautiful country! I remember cold winters in Minnesota and Idaho. Now I'm in Texas where its warm:) blessings,christina

    1. Welcome, Christina. I'd love to visit Texas someday. I crave warmth!

  5. What beautiful pictures, Monica! "Live quietly, mind your own business and work with your hands"......this undemanding and realistic goal that our Lord give us in His Word is one of the reasons my husband and I moved to Lancaster County from New York. We wanted a different lifestyle, not only for our children, but for us as well.

    This is such a comforting and encouraging post.....thank you!

  6. I have so many great memories of the PA Farm Show. For my family, it was a yearly tradition. We've taken our children a couple times (along with grandparents, of course) and they loved it too. But I can't say I enjoy it enough to make it a yearly tradition. And we are not into farming now at all so we are only the gawkers, not the serious farmers.

  7. When hubby comes home from the farm conferences he always brings home a bag of 'loot' from all the vendors. We haven't had to buy pens for quite a while. :) Every vendor is selling the 'best' there is. If you buy their stuff you'll never have a bug or a weed in your garden!! (at least that what's they want you to think) 'Bout the only thing you need to do is thik about the garden, use their product and the rest is magic.


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