Monday, August 24, 2015

Indiana, Rensselaer - Saturday, August 22, 2015 - Fair Oaks Farm

Since our motor coach is still in the shop we rented a car and booked a room at the Holiday Inn in order to spend the weekend with son AJ, daughter-in-law Kim and the twins Jackson and Braelynn.  Friday evening we enjoyed the community spirit while watching the Rensselaer Bombers vs. the Kankakee Valley team. 
On Saturday the twins had two soccer games.  Jackson spent some time as goalie.
Braelynn got in on the action.
And then sometimes it was just a waiting game.

After the soccer games we headed just a little north to Fair Oaks Farms.  We had lunch at the “Cowfe”.

I chose half a Havarti pepper cheese sandwich and chili – yum.

We hopped on a bus to the Pork Adventure Center.

We had to “shower” before we went into the facility so we didn’t bring in any germs.  The more they waved their arms the more bubbles showed up on the wall.

When they stood on a particular spot on the floor their picture was projected to look like they were standing amongst a herd of hogs.

A mezzanine with glassed in viewing enabled us to see all of the times in the life of a pig.  These little ones were a particular favorite.

One more photo op before leaving the Pork Adventure Center.

The Pork Education Center back at the main complex is the newest facility at Fair Oaks.  This carved wood pig out front is just the right spot for a photo.

Jackson was really interested in some of the equipment on display.

Jackson was the one who suggested they should try the high flying ropes course.  He soon found out that might not have been a good idea. 

He did get just a little more daring – after a LOT of encouragement from those of us on the floor.  Encouragement was all he was getting from us, none of us were going to volunteer to go up and get him.  In spite of the height I think this is a pretty safe activity with the harness and strong cables they are attached to, but I wasn't going up to find out.
Braelynn on the other hand took off a little slow.

But she was soon off on a daring adventure.  These pictures don’t do justice to how high she was, I had to use the zoom to even be able to tell that it was her.

When everyone got back down to floor level we checked out the custom playhouse.  This is half inside and half outside the building.

The inside was so cute.  Having this in your backyard would provide hours of entertainment.  But, I think it would set you back a pretty penny also J

I got Jackson to take a break from exploring this old truck long enough to get his picture taken.

At the birthing barn we just missed seeing the baby calf born.  I’ve seen enough of them I’m not too disappointed we missed it.

The jumping pillows provided entertainment a couple of times during the day.  Getting their pictures on this thing is challenging.

Then we were back on a bus, this time going through the operating dairy barn.
Seventy-two cows are milked every 8 minutes in this carousel style milking parlor.
Look at all of the cows in the background – it’s going to be a long day.
The twins couldn’t resist the magnetic climbing tower at the Dairy Adventure.  Braelynn went first and got almost halfway up before sliding back down.
Jackson also went up about halfway.  Keeping three limbs in contact while rolling the other one loose so he could move up was really a challenge – those magnets were strong.

We finished up the weekend on Sunday with a barbeque chicken dinner sponsored by a local church at the county fairgrounds - what a great weekend!!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Indiana, Elkhart - Wednesday, August 19, 2015 - Linton's Enchanted Gardens

Yesterday we made the trip up to Elkhart to take the panel we had to have fabricated to repair some damage done when a lady ran into us last year as we were headed into Phoenix.  I know I’ve mentioned before that the manufacturer of our motor coach for some reason decided to destroy the molds for these panels so none are available.
It has been six weeks to the day since we left our coach at Charger Enterprises for repair of the accident damage and some other things that just needed repair from general wear and tear.  We also had some damage to this electrical panel that needed to be repaired from the front tire blow out.  All of these wires pulled loose from the eight or so switches that control the awning, steps, passenger seat, etc.  I know it’s time consuming to try to figure out which wire goes to which switch because it appears there isn’t a diagram available to tell you where they go, it’s trial and error.  But this is as far as they had gotten in six weeks on any of the repairs, the wires were pulled up so they were visible.  I’m usually a very patient, mild-mannered individual, but yesterday I lost it, I was royally ticked!  All kinds of progress seemed to be going on in lots of other RVs that came in after us and ours was just sitting there with nothing done but this group of wires hanging out.  After my rant we were promised that the work would be done by the end of next week “come Hell or high water” - we’ll see.

The nice part of our day was a visit to Linton’s Enchanted Gardens on Highway 17 just east of Elkhart.  Linton’s is supposed to be Indiana’s largest home and garden center.  It is also one of the Quilt Garden stops on the Amish Country Heritage Trail.  The Quilt Gardens are a free self-guided adventure you can enjoy annually May 30 through October 1.  I would really like to see more than just this one stop, but this one was amazing.

Linton’s Quilt Garden contribution this year is “Pink Swirls of Hope” which recognizes breast cancer victims nationwide.  The garden is based on the Pink Swirls of Hope fabric pattern.  A quilt incorporating this fabric is being raffled as a fundraiser by Linton.  The garden was too large for me to get it all in one picture even though I was standing up on a small bridge.

The garden shop is filled with all kinds of beautiful things for home and garden, plus women’s fashions, Vera Bradley and gourmet chocolates.
This mannequin looking like a tired gardener could be yours for a little over $1100.  Most everything else had very reasonable prices.  I loved the stained glass being displayed behind her, if I thought it would travel well I would have looked at it a little more seriously. 
Their Garden Café is a new addition which seemed to draw the ladies, Greg was the only man there but he didn’t seem to mind J  He enjoyed a root beer float while I went for something a little more substantial, the Enchanted Garden Sandwich – turkey, tomato, spinach on cranberry walnut bread with a horseradish spread.  On the side were veggie chips and a root vegetable salsa.  It was very good except for the salsa, it just wasn’t my style.  I had to “pretty up” my plate for the picture since I was halfway through my sandwich before Greg reminded me I forgot to take a picture.

There is a koi pond and small water fall next to the café making for a very enjoyable lunch experience.
After lunch we walked into the conservatory where I fell in love with this iron arbor with side panels and a gate.  If we still lived in a house it would have been going home with us – we even had the cargo van we rented to bring the panels up here, I think it would have fit.

There was an interesting assortment of items for fairy gardens also.  One of the fairy gardens might fit in the RV – something to think about, especially since the cactus we bought in Tombstone is struggling to make it.  We had to rescue it from the RV after about 3 weeks.

There is a wide display of fountains inside the conservatory and along the sidewalk outside.

Linton prides itself on hard to find plants.

Looks like this guy is worn out from plant delivery J

There are several areas kids would really enjoy.  There is a charge for the train ride and the paddle boats (one is a swan the other is a truck).  We just got a quick look at some of this because the sprinklers were scheduled to come on at 2:00 and guess what time we were there, yes 2:00.  Thankfully, they do one half of the garden and then the other so we were able to look around for a little while.

The play area is free.
The petting zoo has food for the animals available for purchase.  None of them looked like they were too hungry when we were there.

There are markers throughout the garden that tell you what kind of plants are featured in each area.  

What drew me to the Enchanted Gardens was all of these fairy tale structures throughout the garden that you can see from the highway.  If it hadn’t been “sprinkling” I would have explored them a little further.