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April 15, 2010

Ardenwood Farm

 IMG_4278 IMG_4279 has beckoned us for some time now.  We have tried to get out there many a time, only to realize too late in the day that we missed toddler time, or that the train wasn't running that particular day.  Thanks to my friend who started an outdoor nature time meet up group, we finally made it Tuesday morning. 

Each week touches on the care of a different animal, and this week happened to be goats.  We ended up arriving a few minutes late, but still had a chance to grind corn for the goats.  Well, I had the chance to grind the corn, as Nicholas was a little less than enthusiastic.  Not sure if the grinder scared him or he just needed a little more meet and greet time, but he opted out of that part.

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After the grinding, we headed over to the goat pen to feed the mama and her babes.  Nicholas held out his hands and accepted the food from the ranger.  He climbed up the slats of the pen and waited patiently for the goats to come...and then he ran off.  I think the idea of the goat eating out of his hand was a bit more exciting.

IMG_4288 He watched the goat lick my hand, and after the dispersal of organic corn on the cob popcorn, Toddler Time ended.  Our group ended up staying for a bit, and we had snack time with Nicholas's friend, whose mom also runs my walking group (did I mention how much I will miss both groups when we leave?).  Little Guy's buddy ended up leaving earlier than expected, so we did a solo tour of most of the farm.   We investigated bunny hutches, piled hay in wheelbarrows, and the best part?  Falling head first into what looked like a compost bin of sorts.  He was filthy and absolutely thrilled (what 2 year old boy wouldn't be?).  Given how much we love to dig in the dirt at home, no surprise at all.  In fact, his filthiness was relatively clean compared to when he helps me with the gardening at home.

IMG_4289 IMG_4290 We followed up the dirt pile with a visit to the pigs.  Sadly, Nicholas was not that entranced.  However, he was quite taken with the chickens, who were being carefully watched over by a giant turkey.  I thought he was making some sort of low hissing sound, until I realized it was his giant wings scraping the ground as he secured the chickens' perimeter.  The turkey was all business, but did pause so we could get few photos. 

IMG_4291 We continued our walk, traipsed around in a circle on bales of hay, chatted with more friends, and eventually made our way back to the car.  We were sopping wet, more than a bit dirty, and now quite warm.  A quick change into cooler clothes, and we were off to head back home to pick up Kelsey from school.

We may not make it back for any more animal feedings, but so glad we had this opportunity.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again...the East Bay has no shortage of nature-oriented outdoor activities for kids.  Whether making mud pies in the backyard (during the rainy season, of course), or visiting any number of parks and museums, this area (anywhere in the bay region) is heavenly for those who love the outdoors.  And tomorrow?  Back to the Children's Museum in San Jose...the first two times just weren't enough!

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