Sunday, May 17, 2009

May Day Celebration

Yesterday (May 16) we had a great May Day Festival at Wheeler Farm. In conjunction with a fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis, we had over 100 vendor/crafter booths, bounce houses, sheep shearing, a May Queen and Maypole, plus the regular farm attractions of wagon rides, pony rides and visiting the animals. Several thousand people attended and the weather was PERFECT. It was in the mid-seventies, a very blue sky with a few wispy high clouds, a slight breeze, and the fresh greens of newly-emerged leaves and grasses. Truly, it was heavenly!!

So, here are some of the pictures I snapped, in no particular order. I missed so many things, but vow I will get pictures of some of the other areas (including the historic Farmhouse) during the summer season...

Bounce Houses (above, on the Central Lawn) and free entertainment (below in south amphitheater area) always draw large crowds. We try to tailor our promotional events to appeal to the entire family.

There was also entertainment in the Activity Barn, but I didn't get pictures of that. Below are some of the vendor booths (artists, crafters, food, small businesses, etc) on the South Lawn. To the west of this area (on the West Lawn, not pictured) were additional booths and entertainment for the benefit of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

I finally remembered, late in the day, to snap a picture of the Maypole! Below I caught a family dancing around it....
Below is Debi, our May Queen. She was our Summer Camp Director last year, and is a gentle soul and real Earth Mother. She had glitter on her face and wings. Her enchanting woodland outfit and fan, along with the glitter and her soft voice, mesmerized the little girls.

And then at the other end of the spectrum, were hard-working, wacky and fun-loving Shari (our boss, with her tongue out!) and Erin, the Event Coordinator (she does an amazing job!). Erin is driving a "mule". We have several of these that we use (mostly the farmers, but during events they're used by coordinators) around the 78-acre farm.

Below is the idyllic Little Cottonwood Creek. It's beautiful, but deceivingly so - the swift water can be treacherous. Can you see the geese in the lower right (click on any picture to enlarge).

Two calves (heifers) born this spring are (in back) Betsy, whose mother is a Holstein and father was a Black Angus and Gabby (foreground), a lovely Jersey. We also welcomed twins Pete & Re-Pete and another heifer whose name I can't remember!

Below is the Summer House.

And here (below) is the Ice House and the North Lawn. This is where we hold our Summer Camp for kids ages 6-12. I loved being a Camp Counselor last year, but am now the bookkeeper. This Ice House was built in the 1970's to replicate the former (destroyed) Ice House.

The Wheelers harvested ice from their two man-made ponds and stored the ice in the Ice House, layered with straw and sawdust. They sold the 1' cubic blocks of ice for 10c along with their milk and eggs to families for use in their "ice boxes". Their business was the Rosebud Dairy, and our country store on the premises was named The Rosebud Store after the Wheeler's business. Below is the back of the Ice House and one of the duck ponds.

And speaking of ducks, they sure had a lot to say about all the visitors! They loved getting so much cracked corn and wheat that we sell to the public for 50c per bag.

The geese, on the other hand, would much rather just head to the water, or just AWAY in general. LOL. Here is a family, complete with young little goslings.

One of the most fun things (for me, anyway, although there were LOTS of spectators) was the sheep shearing. We brought in a gentleman and his wife (originally from Ireland) who are lifelong shepherds, and they did demonstrations all day. In the end, they sheared 11 sheep for us (a small number, comparatively, but the purpose was to educate).

Below, one of our farmers, Brad, takes a lamb and moves it to another pen away from those (adults) that will be sheared.

And here are the Kings, the shepherds, shearing. She explained while he did the actual shearing. The sheep is NOT hurt here, LOL, just laying cooperatively. He demonstrated how he holds the sheep to safely shear them (not pictured). There was not one cut or nick to the sheep he sheared. It was as though they just meekly submitted to him!

Below is some of the wool, right off the sheep. This activity took place in our Milking Parlor, where the docents (tour guides) talk to kids about milking the cows.

Below is Jennifer, who has been at the Farm over 25 years. She is demonstrating spinning wool for the visitors. Although there is freshly-cut wool next to her, she is NOT spinning that. It first needs to be washed to remove all the dirt (grass, twigs, fecal matter) as well as the lanolin and wax that are naturally present - and then carded.

And that wraps up our visit. Today, Sunday, I'm exhausted. I slept 10 hours last night and took a 2-hour nap today. I'm hoping to get a bit of stitching in soon, but I hear the dryer buzzing first..........

Until next time, big hugs,


  1. What a great day at a wonderful place!
    I do love those Jersey heifers...the prettiest girls in the animal kingdom.

  2. Hello Cathy, I am sooo far behind. What lovely post you had recently. I am catching up. VBG Love all the May Day celebrations. Neat place where you work. Loved seeing the lady spinning the wool. Hugs Judy

  3. What a great celebration of farm life! It looks like it was an absolute blast!

  4. Hells Cathy,
    How interesting that write up was...its great to read about across the world other's traditions. And the photo's brought it all to light in my head!
    Wow how lovely amd warm where you are :O) here is is very chilly still.
    Thanks for letting is take a peep into your world.
    Hugs Pam (O)

  5. I wish I was there, it looks like it was so much fun! Thanks for showing the many sides of farm life.

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  8. What a great celebration! I didn't even know Wheeler Farms did that. We always went a Halloween when we lived there.

    Thanks for visiting!


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