Puddicombe Farms...at long last.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I think Puddicombe Farms was supposed to be our second or third trip, but due to inclement weather, we put it off, figuring that another Friday in the summer would be nicer. Well, that Friday came, and we made a day in Winona of it, since the Peach Festival started Friday night.

The morning however was full of finishing off a VBS that the oldest three attended at Mountain Church of the Nazarene. SUCH as nice little church with VERY nice people there. I had had the thought weeks ago that it would be fun for the kids to go to a VBS [that wasn't at our church]. It wasn't until I was going to bed on Monday night that I remembered and figured that this would likely be the last week any church would be running a VBS. So I fired up my computer and took a look around Hamilton....kijiji did not reveal any...not many at all actually--only 2 or 3 from July. But then I went to the Hamilton Mountain News site and looked through there. Lo and behold, there was the Church of the Nazarene holding one this week. I was hoping to find a small one...with older ladies running it...you know, the kind you went to as a kid in someones backyard. I had a feeling it might be like that....

And it was. The kids had a great time, and more reassuringly, all those older ladies helping were not concerned in the least to have Jairus. You would have thought they'd known him his whole life the way they took to him, and rejoiced over every little thing he did independently. They seemed to know almost instinctively what was an accomplishment for him, whether going the whole morning without a toileting accident, or joining into the games and crafts.

So on Friday we had a little informal final program where the kids said their verses: The Ten Commandments, and sang their songs. It was a small group, about 25 kids, which was just how big I'd hoped it would be.

We came home and grabbed some lunch, and then left for Winona. The weather was overcast, cool and threatening, so I wasn't sure this was going to work, but the sun made just enough appearances to last us through until we were heading back home that night.

Puddicombe Farms was....nice....but not quite what we were thinking it would be. Well, not what James was expecting anyways. The whole time we were there, we saw only 2 other moms with a small handful of kids between them, and then one mom later on with her 2. When we arrived, we went into their gift/cafe shop and bought tickets for the train ride. Once we went through the gate into the main area, we discovered that the train ran at specific times and we were about 45 minutes away from the next one. So we kept ourselves and the kids amused with the little play section (which I'm afraid to say, could use a huge facelift) and the petting farm (which...didn't actually seem to have anything we could pet). They had an emu that kept snapping at us through the fence, a very friendly cow that licked Afton's face, some bunnies in cages that we weren't sure if we could take out to pet--so we didn't, a peacock that was molting, and a bunch of pygmy goats that were very cute, but again, we were unsure if petting was a good idea.
Despite its' state of dilapidation, the kids enjoyed the play area however, so we spent most of the time there until the train was ready to pull out.

The train ride was the most enjoyable part, in my opinion. They've got lots of acreage there with some ponds and huge weeping willows--my favourite kind of tree. The ride took about 20 minutes and then we took a closer look around the cafe/gift shop. We resisted the impulse to pick up some sparkling cider or square butter tarts, but couldn't resist the kids' pleas for lollipops...which I don't think any of them finished.

It was a nice trip, although the kids seemed a little disappointed that we didn't spend as long there as we had at our other destinations....but like I explained to them, we did everything there that there was to do. We made up for it however by promising to hit the Peach festival after supper....pics and story to come next!


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