If you know me in real life, you’re probably aware that I am pretty nerdy. So a day trip to a local historical society and museum was just the thing to share with Matt and my mom. We decided to check out Old Stone House Day at the Old Stone House Museum in Brownington, VT.
Much of the grounds was given over to a farmer’s market, pie auction and activities for children. We rapidly found our way to the historical agricultural tools barn, where we looked at an old sheep-powered treatmill for small tasks like churning butter or running other simple devices. We learned that there were once many more sheep in Orleans County – hard to imagine now, as there are only a few large sheep farms in this area.
Here are some pictures from our day at the museum that I found particularly compelling:
This cutie was my first stop, for obvious reasons. Not sure if I petted Danny or Mr. Wrinkles, but these two chill guys were taking it easy under a shade tree. Touching their wool, I am brought straight back to why I abandoned my efforts to raise finewool sheep in Vermont. They both had damage to the wool on their backs from our humid climate.
This picture speaks for itself regarding changes to the farming economy in Vermont. Whether you support conventional dairy farming or not, the farming infrastructure that comes with it is vital to the success of all of the small farms in the state. We lost another 10% of our dairy farms in 2018 due to milk prices again lingering below the cost of production.
For those who care about this particular opinion, Ben & Jerry’s was MUCH better ice cream before Unilever bought them. It hurts to see the chain of consolidation moving on up. Jasper Hill and Vermont Creamery (dealing in goat’s milk, owned by Land’O’Lakes) are doing the same thing with the cheese market.
Here is the display on wool from the museum. Under the sign, there was a picture of a UK-style Border Leicester.
Of note to longtime readers – if you recall two years ago when we were hunting for a home to buy to use as a farm, we almost bought a property in Brownington, only a mile or so from the museum. We drove by the home we had considered buying, only to find the 1810-era farmhouse torn down and replaced with a modern home and a horse barn for pleasure-horses. Such a loss, though small in the grand scheme, is nevertheless a blow to valuable agricultural land and to preservation of historic homes. It was sad to see.