How Much Milk Does A 1 Year Old Need Daily Billings Farm & Museum – Vermont All Rolled Up in One

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Billings Farm & Museum – Vermont All Rolled Up in One

During my very enjoyable experience visiting Billings Farm & Museum in Woodstock, VT, I kind of felt like I was doing a mini-tour of the whole state. This working farm and museum seem to combine and embody all of Vermont from several different angles:

1. Its history

2. Success in preserving land and forests

3. Introduction of good agricultural practices

4. Tourism.

Historical figures George Perkins Marsh, Frederick Billings and his granddaughter Mary French Rockefeller and her husband Laurance Spelman Rockefeller are key players who led to the Billings Farm variety. Marsh and Billings were instrumental in highlighting and implementing the following:

1. After felling forests, it is necessary to systematically replenish new trees. These are needed for new forestry, of course, and also to prevent flooding and soil erosion.

2. For agriculture, protective measures are needed to prevent erosion of fertile agricultural soils.

3. For agriculture, procedures are needed to improve agricultural production, such as crop rotation, fallow use of selected portions of land, and tillage procedures that provide alternatives to traditional top-down methods .

4. To promote tourism, set aside portions of public land that can be used for camping, tourism and exploration.

5. For dairy farming, use of scientific practices to promote milk production and the efficient use of milk production in the churning of butter and milk derivatives.

Marsh and, from 1871, Frederick Billings, were the first two owners of the farm. They saw the need for the above improvements in practices and vigorously encouraged them throughout their lives. Billings, a railroad executive, read what Marsh wrote on the subject and tried all his life to put it into practice. He has planted over 10,000 trees on his farm and adjacent areas. His daughter, Mary French Rockefeller, inherited the farm and married Laurance Rockefeller. Thanks to this union, they continued their efforts.

By the end of the 19th century, decades of aggressive forestry had stripped most of the land. Photographs from this era graphically show how barren much of the Vermont landscape was. The conservation and educational efforts of the above people have helped show how systematic replanting and controlled forestry would preserve the tree population, prevent flooding, rejuvenate the natural beauty and landscape, and generally work in everyone’s interest.

When visiting Billings Farm, one way to start is at the museum on the second floor of the visitor center. It offers fascinating presentations of the history and all related aspects of the farm, from the 19th century to the present day. Many exhibits vividly depict farm life in ancient times.

State-of-the-art dairy farming with Jersey cows is described in another exhibit section. These cows need a large supply of hay to last them through Vermont’s long, harsh winters. Billings has developed a premier cow herd that has won numerous awards over the years. He also established an intensive system to measure their health and productivity.

Harvesting maple syrup is another agricultural specialty of Vermont. When the sap is drawn from the trees, it is heated in special kettles. For agricultural use, temperatures of 238 degrees Fahrenheit are required, while for more specialized use, slightly higher temperatures of 240 to 245 degrees should be achieved.

Apple orchards and apple picking have always been an important part of Vermont farm life. The museum describes how this fruit was picked, stored and used to make an endless variety of family foods.

In decades past, before sophisticated refrigeration, large amounts of ice were needed. Even today, the ice is still widely used to provide historical demonstrations. Modern saws with safety protection are used to cut ice in streams and lakes. The ice is then lifted from the water and moved onto racks for cooler storage.

After covering the many museum exhibits, here is a very enjoyable and informative film about Billings Farm. It includes the historical development of the entire farm, from the 19th century.

This can be followed by a guided tour of the 1890 Billings Farmhouse. The structure was built as a residence for the farm manager, then considered a prestigious position. Many features were included in the house that were way ahead of their time, such as running water. In the basement, a mechanical device ensured the automatic churning of butter on a large scale. In short, all these amenities were aimed, already at the time, to make Billings Farm a commercial operation, and not just a family farm.

George Aitken was the first manager of Billings Farm, from 1890 to 1910. He took over day-to-day management of the farm in 1890, the year Billings passed away. He and subsequent managers lived in the house for decades well into the 1980s.

The farm tour program includes several cooking demonstrations. These emphasize the kind of traditional foods prepared on Vermont family farms. Often the air is filled with the smell of rhubarb pie and other staples. One gets a sense of satisfaction that previous farm families were able to derive from their productivity.

For those taking a break, a dairy bar, attached to the house, offers a variety of tasty dishes and drinks.

In a free-standing barn, adults and children can see the herd of dairy cows and horses. For the sake of safety for everyone, people and animals, shoes must be disinfected before entering the barn. Often children can see newborn calves and horses.

In separate pastures, Southdown sheep are also kept on the farm. Due to their feeding habits, sheep seem to require grass that does not interfere with the types used by cows and horses.

Other farm structures include a chicken coop and a wagon barn. Berkshire oxen and pigs have their own quarters.

The farm’s history describes how, in 1890, it produced 5,000 pounds of butter annually. Billings Farm started a successful commercial dairy operation in the 1940s. Due to the sheer size of the growing American Midwest, Vermont eventually lost its previous leadership in dairy production. Even so, today the state continues to provide many innovative techniques in healthy agricultural production and maintenance, as well as forest sustainability, which benefit the entire country.

All in all, when visiting Billings Farm & Museum, a good time and an educational time can be had by all. They have many programs to appeal to all different age levels. To borrow a phrase, I can honestly say that I would love to visit Billings Farm and Vermont again and again, until “the cows come home”.

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