We are back from our field trip part 1

This past week the family and I disappeared to the mountains of NC to do a little R&R and to take a field trip to another farm. SWMBO had procured for me for father’s day this tour to Carolina Bison outside of Asheville, NC. It coincided with our family trip to the mountains and was on the way so as usual, great thinking SWMBO.

Planning a work related trip for hubby was very smart because I don’t vacation well. I need to do something to justify my time, whether its educational or productive. I’m not good at sitting around. Normally on a trip like this, I get up extra early and break out my laptop to do some blog posts, read some trade publications, do some bookkeeping, etc. That lets me get my work done. Then when everyone else wakes up, we go into vacation mode.

However when we arrived at our cabin I found we had no 4G signal. No 3G, in fact we had no Gs at all. I had a big “No service” on my cell phone. But as pretty as this cabin was, surely it had wi-fi.

Nope

I spent Monday – Thursday with no internet and no cell signal. In theory it sounds wonderful. In reality, I was not able to do anything and emails, texts, tour bookings, questions, and work all backed up on me. So thank Goodness SWMBO had booked this trip where I could do something productive and see some critters.

We arrived at the farm about 20 minutes late because in the mountains GPS was sketchy and we simply guessed wrong on how long it would take to get there. But they were very accommodating and worked us right in. The farm is located on 600 disjointed (separate tracks), and gorgeous acres way up in the mountains. They list their tours as being part of Asheville but in reality they are a good ways from Asheville, maybe 40 minutes or so. The first thing I noticed was their farm didn’t smell like pigs. Something we are slowly working on here on our farm. We have slowed the input side of our pig business dramatically. Now we need to just work down the existing stock over this fall and the winter.

I also noticed they had a great yard area for kids to play, including an awesome tree house and picnic tables on a deck. This is some of what I’d like to do at our store but we have some bigger fish to fry first. Did I mention we are reducing our number of pigs?

We quickly signed away our lives with a liability waiver, something we don’t require here as we are protected by agritourism laws. But it got me wondering if we should anyway. Maybe they have this as a holdover from the past. They have been doing this since 1985 and the protection laws were put into place in the last decade or so.  Dr. King wasn’t there to ask so I guess I’ll never know but maybe I’ll check with CFSA and see if they have some ideas or best practices.

Sitting in the parking lot was a tractor pulling a mobile hay wagon. hay-wagon

They had removed some of the side bars and installed a bench seat directly down the middle of the wagon. It looked like about 30 people or so could ride in the trailer. I’d never thought of using a hay wagon before as a tour trailer but with its very low deck height, it really made for a good trailer. Plus with the bars it kept people in and critters out. I filed this one away for a future idea. Where am I going to find a worn out hay wagon? Hmm.

After loading up, we headed out past different animals on our way to see the buffalo. I noted that they had what appeared to be a lot of erosion on the farm however I wasn’t sure if it was actually from tractors or from animals. I did keep a keen eye out as we progressed. But first, fizzy critters.

Buffalo at the King farm
Bison at the King farm

First, it’s neat to see bison. After all the cowboy movies, and stories about the old West, it’s just neat to stand in the presence of the herbivore that used to rule this country and drive the ecosystem for animals and man alike. But more about them, in the next post.

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