Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hey, look! Bison! Our Trip to Creamery Brook Bison Farm

After completing our schoolwork and heading to karate we came home for an early lunch.  We needed to eat early since we were heading out for yet another field trip today.

We piled back into the car to head to a bison farm.



A fellow homeschooler had arranged a tour of a local bison farm complete with pumpkin picking and decorating!  There were supposed to be 40 homeschoolers going and I wanted to get there a bit early to make sure we'd have a decent place to park.

We had a great time at Creamery Brook Bison, even if we barely had the 15 people required to host the event.  I felt really bad for the woman who put all her time and effort in coordinating the trip since she was thinking she would have a turn out of 40 people and by the time I arrived we were questioning if we'd even have enough to bother hosting.

Luckily we did end up with around 15-20 of us and we had a ball.

We took a wagon ride out to the field where the bison were out roaming and got to see them up close when the farmers put some piles of grain around the wagon.  The grain is a real treat for them and so that entices them to come up nice and close to the wagon.

getting ready to take off
Learning about the farm
On the way to the field we learned all about their business, how they used to be dairy farmers and why they slowly got rid of that part of their business.

We learned about the difference between bison and buffalo and how they got into the bison business.  We saw lots of males, females. and babies wandering around the field.

here come the bison
We got to pet them, hear them, and watch them do everything from eating, to peeing, to rolling in the dirt and scratching their backs on the trees.  On our way back from the field we learned about how bison were almost wiped out of extinction back when the government was trying to get all of the Native American Indians onto reservations and so encouraged the hunting and killing of bison in hopes of taking away their food source.

A baby getting milk from it's mom
Watching them all crows around us
Bison declined in numbers from millions of bison across the land to just 200-1000 left.  Luckily, the bison numbers continue to rise today.

We learned that bison milk is used to make mozzarella cheese and that all females that have had babies are called cows-- weather they be manatees, whales, bison, cattle, etc.

 We learned about the difference between antlers and horns and that horns do not denote males and females when it comes to bison.  Many of the babies had horns already too and they'll have them for life unless something happens to one of their horns; if they fall off they will not grow back. 

Checking out their split hooves

We watched this one roll around in the dirt and shake himself off
several times




On our way back from the field we also stopped to pick pumpkins.  The boys each chose their own for decorating.  I warned them to only pick ones that they could carry themselves, though we did help all the kids with the pumpkins getting on and off the wagon since it was quite a bit step.

We got to see the pumpkin patch up close at a time of year when they're starting to die back out.  We saw some rotten pumpkins and looked inside them, we also saw lots of bugs and worms.

The boys noticed that some of the pumpkins had smooth stems and some had prickly stems.  We even noticed a few prickly cactus type growths on the vines in certain places too.  I was thinking we needed to get a few books about the different types of pumpkins and what differentiates them.

I'm not sure which was bigger-- Ian's smile or his pumpkin!
Once we got back and off the wagon the kids were given stickers, buttons, pompoms, glue, markers, and paint to decorate their pumpkins however they'd like.

The boys had all made friends with another slightly older girl who is just as big a Minecraft fan as they are and they all chatted while they decorated.  My two youngest even made Minecraft pumpkins while Ian chose a more traditional vampire image.

They had great fun painting and creating outside in the fresh, sunny air.

As they finished painting and we let the pumpkins dry we walked around to look at the peahens, turkeys, dairy cows, emus, horse and bison up near the farm house.  The kids tried feeding the horses and petting the horse and bison.

getting crafty

Evan starts painting his Minecraft guy

Ian's vampire mouth

Alec made an enderman pumpkin

The dairy cows

the horse

Peahens

Emus
Some cool facts about bison
more details about the American Bison populations
 It was a great day!

Their completed pumpkins on our hearth 

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2 comments :

  1. A wonderful post. You took some terrific photos. Bison are quite interesting looking characters. I often wonder what God was thinking, creating each individual creation. Have a great weekend.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! They are very interesting and we learned so much about them.

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