Sunday, December 13, 2015

Historic Schaefferstown Farm

I love farms and I love history and I have been to many historic farms. But I haven't seen an historic farm that is being used for modern farming.  Saturday we drove out to the Christkindlmarkt in Schaefferstown PA. The historical society has a mid 1700s farm property a little out of town and the people running the market said we could walk around the farm.
A volunteer and modern farmer is grazing the pastures with cattle and sheep. The historic society is selling grass-fed beef to the public, which I think is a pretty cool way for them to make money. The sheep, Shetlands I think, were happily grazing in the orchard on this beautiful day in mid December with temps in the 60s.
The sheep pasture was enclosed by a Gallagher Smart Fence. I have read about this system but had never seen it in action, although I am not sure how well it worked because at one point two sheep were not in the pasture any more. The farm also has two draft horses in pasture and a flock of guinea fowl.
My favorite building on the farm was this old sheep barn.
There were two or three stalls inside which all led out to the enclosed paddock. The hay racks were accessed from the back of the barn
and the sheep ate from inside.
I wish I had such a cool old structure on my farm.

There was also this mystery structure.
There were multiple drawers made of tin. Our first thought was a smoke house, but the tin drawers had solid bottoms which didn't look like they would allow any air/smoke circulation. Maybe one day we'll get out for a festival at the farm and can ask someone.

The farm also had a really nice old bake oven.
The tile roof was in great shape and had the beautiful tulip design embossed in the tile.
I have always wondered why the tiles are lined up in straight up and down in rows rather than alternating/staggered. Apparently the tulip design channels the water down to the middle of the bottom of the tile and away from the edges. What a clever design!

The farm is in sad shape and historic societies are always strapped for cash to maintain their buildings. There is work currently underway on the main house and I would love to see it renovated. We could just glimpse a nice hearth in the lower level and there appears to be one just inside the front door on the upper level.

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