this nature park near where I live, is about the best experience you can hope for - the kids are outside all day (which, in Florida, in June and July, is saying a lot) and they learn so much about the flora and fauna of their home state. It really is a very special place for kids.
Anyway, at the nature park is also a Living History Farm that demonstrates a Florida homestead from the 1870's and its daily operations. I decided last year* that I would start volunteering at least once a month while I was still in school, and devote more time after I graduated in the spring. My son (DJ, for "Dude Junior") decided he wanted to volunteer, too, because he would get to dress up like a little pioneer boy and have complete run of the place. He came out with me last weekend and, as it turned out, he was very helpful and involved in what was going on. One of the re-enactors showed him how to build a bird house so he could eventually show other kids how to make one, and he picked oranges and swept the steps leading into the farmhouse kitchen, and even helped other kids beat rugs.
The woman I was helping out on Saturday, Charlotte, made two very astute observations (among many):
1. Everything tastes better when it is baked in a wood stove, and
Both completely true!
So, apparently, this is going to be a thing with our family - I might not be able to come out every weekend, but the Old Man and DJ are filling out volunteer forms to participate and it's really exciting. This place needs all the help it can get with budget cuts and it is really doing a good turn for the community, connecting folks with Florida's pioneer days.
The photos for this piece come from Joe Klubertanz, who was nice enough to share his largesse of great scenes from the farm for this blog post!
*Let me qualify that by saying that I was "considering" volunteering once a month and was waylaid by one of the park operations people who very ably quick-talked me into committing to volunteer once a month (and I am certainly glad she did)