Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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This morning, as reported by and organized by gridlore, Lisa and I headed over to Ardenwood Historic Farm to take on the Fremont Cornfield MAiZE. This was a pleasant 45 minutes or so, made easier by them providing us with a map. Lisa and I were there in our WSFS uniforms. I'm mildly annoyed with myself for forgetting to bring the tie with me, and I didn't even remember that I could have stopped by the house after the day in the park to pick it up; my mind was elsewhere.

After completing the maze, we went into the main park, which includes a horse-drawn railroad as well as the historic farm buildings.

Lisa and I have meant to visit this railroad earlier. We have experience with one of their cars, Southern Pacific 1010, a narrow-gauge combine that is one of only two railroad cars that has a Miller coupler. Miller couplers were an early semi-automatic car coupler that predated the North American standard "knuckle" coupler used today. This car was on display at the big Railfair 1999 in Sacramento. At Railfair, Lisa came up to the car, and recognized the coupler because we'd just recently read a book on old railroad technology, so she said, "Hey, Kevin, look! It's got a Miller coupler!"

At this point, four guys boiled out of the car saying, "Someone who knows what a Miller coupler is!" and they enthused over her and let her operate the coupling lever. We couldn't actually couple it with anything else, because there's only one other known car with that style of coupler, and it's at the Nevada State Railroad Museum. They had to use a link-and-pin coupler (with which Miller couplers will work) at Railfair.

After taking in the horse-drawn railroad ride to the opposite side of the farm, we walked through the park. We arrived at the demonstration kitchen, where pumpkin was the prime ingredient: pumpkin bread and pumpkin soup were on offer. This was good timing, as it was about time for my mid-morning small snack. It was pretty good, too.

Doug and Kristen left after a while, but Lisa and I ended up staying even longer; we took the long loop around the outside of the farm. Perhaps we've walked a bit too much; I've got a blister on my left little toe. We wanted to sample the pumpkin cheesecake that they had started in the wood-fired oven when we first arrived, but it was taking a long time to bake, and we decided to go ahead and leave. On the way out, we encountered one of the volunteers from the railroad, the Society for the Preservation of Carter Railroad Resources, who escorted us behind the barriers and let us examine the equipment close up.

After all the time on the farm, we were getting a little tired. We picked up some lunch and headed back to the hotel. I changed out of my uniform before eating; to my astonishment, I survived a trip to a farm full of dirt wearing an all-white uniform with only a minor bit of dirt on my slacks (enough so that we put them into the washer as I'm wearing them again tomorrow). I didn't want to push my luck by eating while wearing the uniform as well.

Last night, while driving home, the left headlight on my van burnt out. Lisa reminded me over lunch that we needed to buy a new headlight; I'm glad she remembered it! So after eating lunch, we headed over to Pep Boys and bought two headlights, on the theory that we should change both to keep the light even and retain the still-working light as a spare. As the sun headed for the horizon, we replaced the lights and decided that we've done enough walking today. Besides, we have enough stuff left over from lunch and last night's dinner to make a dinner tonight, so we're "staying in."

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