By Barbara Burns
We might not be in Kansas, but we sure are in Catawba County — a county with a rich heritage of farming. While Kansas is flat, prairie land, our area boasts gently rolling farmland.
In another life, I suspect I was a farm girl — the life appeals to me. I suppose it’s not a realistic wish to want to live on a farm because the work is hard, demanding, and in the blink of an eye, or storm, entire crops and livestock are destroyed.
The farms I grew up with were on TV and in the movies. Lassie and Timmy lived on a farm. The Ingalls lived in a little house on the prairie. Actually, they lived in a cabin on a farm. Dorothy and Toto lived on a farm.
I lived vicariously on the farms of TV and movies rather than in real life. In recent years, as a reporter, I’ve been to several farms to write feature stories. Quite honestly, leaving was difficult. I felt at home and wanted to know about the lives of farming families.
For instance, I learned when you see a sign that indicates cattle crossing, it’s wise and a good thing to slow down. I sat for probably 10 minutes while hundreds of dairy cows crossed the paved state road from one pasture to another.
Quite frankly, I made sure the car windows were up, and why I don’t know — I locked the doors. I was amazed the cows didn’t stampede, and a good thing, too, because I didn’t see any cowboys around to herd the errant cows. Silly, city girl me.
In spite of my apprehension, it was fascinating to watch the cows plod along, one after another, head to tail, to cross the road.
I can count on one hand the number of farms in the county I visited. However, Saturday, I have an opportunity — and so do you — to visit nine farms in Catawba County.
Catawba County Agri-tourism Day is Saturday, and the activities are designed to be self-guided. Nine farms are listed on the tour. Imagine visiting a farm that raises Montadale sheep. Windy Wool Windings also has fleeces, roving yarns and weavings for sale as well lambs and lamb meat.
Visit LFR Farms and Greenhouses — a farm of more than 1,000 acres.
Of course, I’ve been to Ira Cline’s farm to pick strawberries in the past. Now I go to get fresh blueberries.
One of the farms — Bird Brain Ostrich Ranch — on the tour is unique in that ostrich are raised.
Red Wolf Farm offers a Civil War reenactment. Another tidbit — the 45-acre farm was the site of the Jenny Lind Iron Forge from 1804-1980.
I’ve heard of Buffalo Beals Animal Park but never been there. Here’s my chance to see elk, antelope, camel, giraffe, chimpanzee, buffalo, kangaroos, monkeys and other exotic and domestic animals.
The Agri-tourism Day also offers a working bee farm, Poovey Apiary, which is called an apiary rather than a farm.
Shady Oaks offers naturally raised fruits, veggies, honey and free-range eggs.
Watch for roaming beef cattle at Sipe Angus Farm.
The variety of farms on the tour is remarkable. Hats off the the farmers who are committed to preserve this agricultural way of live.
Take the tour and show the farmers your appreciation for the work they do.
A complete listing of the farm sites and directions to each one are in today’s Outlook.
Leave the city limits behind and start the tour.
Barbara Burns is editor of Outlook and a columnist for The Observer News Enterprise. Her column appears in the Thursday edition of The O-N-E. Reach Burns at email@example.com .