Tuesday, June 19th
The list of places I wished I could share with my daughter was certainly too long to fulfill for just 48 hours in New York. So I had to settle to take her to Indian Ladder Farms, a place that overwhelms the senses with amazing views, the fresh flavors of just-picked produce, and of course, the smell of cider donuts baking around the clock.
On site, there is a short hill you can climb up to picnic tables with a breath-taking view of the surrounding Helderberg Escarpment. They have a fragrant and dense herb garden that I just love to run my hands through until I smell like mint and lavender. While known primarily as an apple orchard, there are also acres of raspberry bushes and cherry trees. Of course, Little Miss only cared about one thing:
Seriously, I'll be picking sand out from under this kid's fingernails and dumping it out of her shoes for the rest of her young life.
Since I think we were still feeling like two jumping beans after having spent so much time in the car, today's objective was to let her run and dig as much as possible. The farm also features a small petting zoo, which is to say that had about 32 goats, 1 donkey, and a Scottish Highland Ox. Only the goats approached the fence to be pet (fed) while the ox remained in the shade of an old barn and the donkey only concerned himself with his corner of a bail of hay. Of the non-pet-able creatures, there was a fat, lethargic bunny, chickens, and a really mean-looking turkey. Recalling a turkey attack a friend recently endured while out on a run, I made sure we kept little fingers away from its fence.
The goats were cute enough, though, and she was happy to see and pet them, although they begged like dogs for treats.
We were there with friends - cool friends, who had change to get dried corn to feed the goats, unlike her totally unprepared Mama who didn't have a quarter in her wallet or anywhere in the car.
After a picnic of not-so-great organic yogurt (you can't always win trying to be healthy) Nut Thins, garlic cheddar cheese curds (don't knock it til you've tried 'em) and a ton of raspberries, it was time to pack up and head back to the city.
Back at the couple's house whose porch we've been crashing and yummy food we've been stealing, my little girl - sleep deprived and exhausted from an afternoon in the sun, or so I thought - plugged on like a little Energizer Bunny. I had made sort of a joking promise to my friend that he could be the God Father of our child, although we're not religious, and realistically if anything happened to us our immediate family would take over in raising our child. Still, the least I could do is let him steal her for some exclusive one-on-one. This included hopscotch on the patio stones where, back in the day, waaaaay pre-baby, we may have once played drunken "full contact" hopscotch. At the end of the night, Little Miss had some new BFFs (especially since he and his wife were - again - way cooler than Mommy because they had Dora and Diego on Netflix).
What's the most unique or unexpected animal you encountered at a petting zoo? For us, I'd say it was the boars (or maybe they were just really big pigs) at the Greenville Zoo. They just don't strike me as very fun to pet. Also, I'm immature, and just want to say, "Mmmm... I'm craving some bacon..."