Georgia Agrirama

I can’t believe we haven’t gone here yet!  Bored out of my gourd at home, the kids and I decided to road trip up the freeway an hour to Tifton today.  We went to the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village; better known as the Agrirama.  I underestimated our interest!  We were there for 5 hours!  This is a site well worth visiting in south Georgia.  Which is rare.  If you live near
Moody AFB, you should go.

During the weekdays it’s $7 a grownup.  Both my kids were “4 and under” so FREE!  On Saturday it’s $3 more because you get a train ride that my little train enthusiast would’ve loved.  He found the tracks interesting enough.  We bought our tickets at the Tifton visitor center as directed by a big hand written sign, and then drove around to the large museum at the Agrirama entrance.  Not many cars or visitors on a Wednesday.  One school bus, though.  The museum is full of farm machinery that Avi wanted to climb.  I was rushing them through, to avoid having to pull him off something, until I noticed there is more…and more…and more…. going through small doorways that look a bit “off limits” led us to incredible displays of terpentine making, tobacco drying, and a cool log cabin.  There were also old timey clothes and pottery.  The current temporary exhibit features some really neato detailed dollhouses and porcelain dolls from a local collector.  Zoe spent a half hour here noting every detail and taking her own pictures.  Avi wanted to touch, so he and I went to the bathroom for a diapy change before we all went outside.

The living history farm and town is really the highlight of the visit.  First stop: the old Tift house.  Wealthy Mr. and Mrs. Tift built this place in 1887 and raised their children plus some grandkids and neices/ nephews in the big place; the town Tifton is named after them.  A wonderful older lady dressed in period clothes guides you through – she had the wherewithall to abbreviate her script and point out funny kid stuff for me and the kids.  Zoe thought the dining room with the under-the-table-to-check-my-skirts mirror was cool, while Avi had fun crawling under the beds to see how that rope held it all up.

In the tiny town portion there is a small Doctors office building with an accompanying medicinal garden that Zoe just poured over.  She wanted to know every plant and it’s purpose; a future herbalist mayhaps?  after the paleontology gig, of course.  She also thought all the crazy old doctor instruments, tables, and dental equipment was incredible.  It made me cringe.  Avi was obsessed with the hanging life sized skeleton, and kept shaking it’s hand.  Funny.  Zoe wondered who it had been when it was alive and the old-timey doctor employee had a hard time understanding and then explaining that it was just a plastic model. 

Our next stop was the old Masonic Lodge which I had difficulty explaining the purpose of….kind of looked like a church inside, but with three pulpits.  Odd, moving on.  We skipped the Drug Store and ate our packed lunch in the shade beside the train depot.  This morning I simply threw a bunch of food from the frig in a cooler bag:  we had half a bag of baby carrots, a leftover container of peas, some pancakes in a baggy, an apple each, and a handful of pepperoni’s, oh, and a slice of 3 day old pizza.  It was delicious.  Avi devoured his fill and ran off to run around on the train tracks.  He was so excited about this opportunity that Zoe and I just finished our lunch at an easy pace.  The train doesn’t run here during the week, but we can here the local freight trains whistle in the distance which makes him yell, “Choo train.  TRAAAACKKSS”.  He doesn’t realize if the train was really coming he should not be ON the actual tracks.   It’s hysterical, but it was tough to get him to move on.  In fact he simply ran away from me to the next best thing:  a puffed out turkey gobbling and spitting at him from behind a fence.  After Avi tormented that thing enough we wandered back into ‘town’ to visit the forge which was neat, but hot and full of fire and flying sparks…not for my youngest kid who doesn’t seem to get that fire burns you.  Our next stop in town was the printing press.  Zoe found this interesting and the printer made an alphabet printing for her on the crazy huge old timey press.  We also learned why we say Uppercase and Lowercase.  Look it up!

A quick jaunt to look at the other buildings at the edge of town in the industrial area…a timber mill, a terpentine site, an old washhouse, and we looped into the cool woods to see the Grist Mill.  Now this was a highlight, except for the stairs.  I had Avi get out of the stroller so I could roll/lop it up the steps; I’m not to be lifting anything over ten pounds since surgery.  That was on the verge.  Anywho, we approached from the bottom where we could see the giant wheel and the water flow, but it wasn’t moving.  Bummer…UNTIL….you get up and into the mill where a cooky old southern farmer has you help him turn it on.  Avi and Zoe helped this man turn a giant wheel and then we could hear the water rushing.  We ran over to the opening in the floor and the wheel was spinning!  Turning around we could then see the mill grinding.  Out of it is plopping white powder.  After a bit, the miller has the kids help him shut it off and we find out they’ve just made their own corn meal.  He shows us how it is packaged up into tight little brown bundles….and thanks the kids because now he can sell it.  OF COURSE I buy it!!  $3.  We are making corn bread tomorrow.

This is the point where my phone starts ringing out of control.  It’s ADT and then my Dad telling me ADT called and the alarm at the house is going off.  Awesome.  It’s the motion sensor in my bedroom, but nothing else.  The cops are enroute.  um.  pit of stomach feeling ….  I know what it is.  The AC must’ve come on is moving Zoe’s balloons around.  She lovingly put one at everybodies bedside last night.  ADT guy says no matter, the cops will do a walkaround anyway.  ADT guy turns off the motion sensors remotely and we are good.  During this fiasco the kids have run themselves and the stroller down the hill, fallen over crying,  righted themselves, and are now attempting it again.  NOOOOOO.   We instead went inside the farm house down from the mill.  Neat.  Old.  Log Cabin.   I’m obsessed with log cabin fireplaces and this one does not dissappoint.  It’s huge with an open hearth and lots of cool iron works.  Love it. 

And we move on.  There are cows and horses in pens and we join the school group briefly while they learn to chop wood.  These kids are all dressed in period garb, too.  Seems the girls have been given some long dresses with aprons to throw over their shorts/shirts and the boys have all been told to tuck their shirts in their pants and have been given suspenders and hats.  It’s funny.  They seem about 7th/8th grade and aren’t too cool for this yet.  After a visit inside another homestead we wander around the pond to the old church where Zoe tell a story for the ‘kids’ (her dog and Avi) before we sing them out.  This is just like at our church.  Avi is not listening of course and is, instead, belly crawling in the sand under the wood burner.  He’s saying, “hot hot hot” and I can’t imagine they have it cooking, so I feel it.  Nope, cold.  Maybe he is learning about fire and woodstoves.  We join the school kids across the yard in the old one room schoolhouse.  They are getting a real lesson!  The two employees are dressed as teachers and have explained the behaviour expectations; one boy may get whipped already for not raising his hand!  Ah, he is granted mercy, and we begin our lessons.  We each have a slate to do some arithmetic and then spelling.  The teachers come around and check Zoe – they are impressed at her age and abilities.  Of course back in time kids started school at 8 or 9.  She soaks it up and loves using the slate just like in Little House on Plum Creek, which we’ve read recently.  In fact, she is even helping Doggy with her slate.   Avi is able to sit still as long as he is erasing what I write on my slate.

When school is out we wander over a bridge to a final small homestead farm that doesn’t have any employees in character.  I let the kids go nuts.  They use the old stick brooms, they jump off the porch, and then Avi finds a huge pecan stick.  It’s a struggle to snag it from him when it’s time to go.  I’m hot.  I’m tired.  I need ice cream.  So, we loop back to ‘town’ and finally visit the Drug Store.  I was forewarned when buying my tix that they had ice cream here….it’s a wonderful treat at the end of the day.  Zoe also chose to use one of her dollars (from graduation cards) to buy a stick of crystal candy which comes from Pennsylvania, of course.  Now we are all hot and ready to go, but Avi doesn’t want to ride in the stroller.  Instead he runs the whole way back to the museum…and promptly falls asleep in the car before we leave the parking lot.  Zoe eats her candy on the way home and talks incessantly about how when she and doggy lived back in time there was a complex (I can’t even remember the details) system of assigning grades that had to do with your age and favorite color. 

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