Sunday, November 8, 2009


Several weeks back, in early October, T and I took a drive up north to visit Malabar Farm. I've wanted to visit for years, but PBS played their special on Louis Bromfield's life, and T got the urge, too. Louis Bromfield was on Ohio -born Pulitzer prize winning author. After living in France for ten years, he decided to move back to Ohio and bought a farm sight unseen in the Mansfield area, in 1938. As it turns out, the land was in ruins, and so Bromfield began his career as a soil conservationist in order to turn around his farm. He became known as an expert on the subject - hot on many people's minds, since poor farming practices helped contribute to the devastating dust bowl situation. He published several books on agriculture and the farm was turned into a state park after his death.

It was an outrageously gorgeous, crisp day when we visited. Not a lot was happening around the place that day, but there were hay rides. So, we walked around, checked out the animals and the buildings and caught a hay ride before grabbing lunch at the Malabar Farm Restaurant.

In the "petting farm" barn there were Clydesdale and pony, calves, rabbits and these hilarious turkeys. This one had zero fear of us, and very much wanted to know what we were up to. Outside were more cattle, a few sheep and these very serene looking goats.

Right next to the goats and sheep was the poultry house - that sign is the coolest, right?! If I ever have chickens, I will for sures be replicating this. The chicken were the highlight of the trip for me. They started checking us out, then gradually all wandered over. And when I say "all" I'm talking 30-40 chickens and couple of big turkeys. All making that back of the throat growly thing chickens do. We finally realized you could buy feed from a machine and then the party began! Those hens have laser like precision when it comes to grub, let me tell you. At first it was a little freaky having them peck away at my hand, but I finally realized it doesn't hurt, and they aren't about to miss the last little bit of grain.

The family house was right next to the barns and other out buildings. It truly looked out upon the chickens - which I can understand, they're so darn entertaining! We missed the house tours that day, but we did peek in through windows and saw the dining room/conservatory where Lauren Becall and Humphrey Bogart were married. They even have a replica of the wedding cake set up.

After walking around some more, we took our hayride. Not too exciting, but still beautiful. There was an obligatory tool-y guy trying to set up his new fancy phone the whole time, but also regular people out to enjoy a lovely day. The land really is gorgeous.

After the hayride, we made our way through lunch at the nearby restaurant. While the food was good - especially the bread - the service was incredibly slow, and our server's shift ended during our meal, so getting the check was a pretty long process. Once we got ourselves the heck outta that restaurant, we poked around the neighboring spring and veggie stand. The spring water really was amazingly good. I'm really actually sad we don't get it out of our tap!

It was a nice ride and a fun trip. I left with a drop spindle and roving, and of course, I'm now hooked on spinning. Looks like I'll finally have to start processing that alpaca fleece sitting upstairs! I think the next time we go up that way I want to hit Lehmans and see the Mansfield Reformatory.


Cheryl said...

looks like a beautiful day. I like that chicken sign too!

Amanda said...

I've only ever been to Malabar Farm when it was closed...I've always wanted to visit it opem! That is kinda cool that they have a replica of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall's wedding cake. I was OBSESSED with BOGART movies my Freshman year of college.