You can take the girl out of the country, but the girl will take her husband and child back with her to country when she gets the chance.
Peter, Philip and I spent the last Saturday in September on farms. We started with the 2013 Ashland County Farm Tour. This drive-it-yourself tour is organized by our local Farm Bureau. They were even nice even to throw in beautiful weather.
The tour was an opportunity for me to connect my past and present. I marveled at the way the old landfill has been converted into a park as we took a wagon ride over the reclaimed land. We traveled down the county roads where I learned to drive to visit a horse farm where Philip saw his first woolly bear caterpillar. I returned to the place where I first went camping and watched Philip and Peter stroll by the pond . I reminisced about the times I picked peaches with my grandma at a local orchard while Philip climbed through the straw maze.
In addition to revisiting places I’ve been to before, the three of us drove roads I’ve never been down to visit curious alpacas, to dine on rib eye sandwiches and to stop at the dairy farm where Philip received the best pencil topper in the world.
The farm tour wasn’t our only option for free family fun this weekend, however. A friend of Peter’s had suggested that we stop by the Annual Ohio Heritage Days Festival and In the Spirit of Friends Antique and Primitive Show held at Malabar Farm State Park. The last time we visited Malabar Farm, we had arrived early on a Sunday morning just after the visitor center opened. There were only a handful of cars, and we only saw a few other people during our visit.
As we approached the state park yesterday, we come upon rangers directing traffic to a parking in a large field. Apparently, we had decided to attend a popular event. Most people were probably there to browse the vendors, watch demonstrations, listen to music and tour the barns and big house.
We were there for a pony ride.
Peter’s friend had told us that the horse club that he belongs to volunteers at the annual event. He said it would be a great place to take Philip for his first pony ride.
He was right. Not only was the cost nominal (they accepted donations), the members of the local chapter of the Ohio Horseman’s Council allowed parents to walk alongside their children as they rode a horse. I knew that this would be critical to helping Philip overcome any anxiety.
What made the situation even better was that my aunt and uncle also belong to the same club. My mom had told me they would be at the event, but I assumed my aunt, who owns her own business, would be there as a vendor. Instead, I spotted her while we waited in line. She offered to hold my bag and summoned her grandson to walk alongside the horse, too.
When it was Philip’s turn, he balked when it came time to get on a large horse. My aunt had us step aside so the volunteers could bring over the pony instead. I was able to lift Philip directly onto the saddle, so he wasn’t as scared.
Philip didn’t smile while riding the pony, but he didn’t look scared. Success!
We’ll definitely be marking our calendars again next year for both of these events.