I wake up excited for the day, even the morning song does not shake me! During math class we learned about place value. We used “rice sacks” to represent numbers of tax dollars that the “egotistical king” had collected. We had to use our fingers to keep track of and record three different number systems : base 2, base 5, and base 10. By the end of math class, my brain was very confused because it was tough to adapt to base 2 and base 5 – I have always just known about base 10.

Billings FarmDone with math for now and here comes a new experience. Billings Farm in Woodstock , VT is a farm from the early 1800s, which at one time  was owned by the Rockefellers. At the farm there is a washing room that smells like Dove soap. Washing clothes the old-fashioned way is hard! First you have to get the clothes wet, then scrub them and put them through the wringer, and last you have to hang them on the clothesline.

The most interesting part about today was making butter. It took a while to make and in the end it did not taste like much of anything  – too much energy for such a small amount of tasty pleasure! sheepsmile

— Liam

All you have to do is take milk and separate the creamy fat out of it. You take the cream and churn the cream with a daisy, a glass container with a handle that operates a spinning internal spatula. After we were done churning, there was a crunchy part – butter, and a liquid part – buttermilk.You then just have to drain out the buttermilk and you are left with delicious butter! This I think is very interesting because it seems like butter making would take a really long time, but the churning was done easily.

— NolanBillings Farm

Billings FarmAmazing! Being on the farm to me is one of the best feelings ever. As we walked into the cow barn I could smell hay. I noticed that the cows were so thin their bones seemed to be under just a thin layer of skin. I asked our educator Stu about this and he said that the cows were Jerseys, just naturally thin. He assured me that they are okay and here at Billings Farm –  a farm that was turned into a museum to represent a farm from the 1800s – they feed each of their cows ninety-five pounds of food per day. I never would have guessed this because of how thin they are. I was very surprised!

— Julia Billings Farm

Today we visited Billings Farm, met animals, made butter, made observations, and even washed clothes. We made butter in a room designed as a creamery, set up as it would have been in 1809. One of the machines in the room was one that would separate cream by steaming and it would flow into the end of the machine’s two-part body. Instead of using a wooden pumper to make butter, we used a hand mixer and a long wooden bowl. Objects were laid out into which we poured liquid and strained the solids. It kind of looked like scrambled eggs.I finally understood what was needed to make butter. I was mostly interested  that the leftover liquid is buttermilk. I have tried buttermilk pancakes and like them a lot. I have always thought, though, that buttermilk is made separately. The process that we used to make butter took about thirty minutes. I wonder if most people in the olden days made butter the way we did it. I hope to find out soon.

— AntonBillings FarmBillings Farm

“Hmmm,” I explained, biting into the savory oyster cracker with its homemade butter spread on top. We had just spent fifteen minutes making butter. The most surprising thing is that buttermilk is a by-product of butter making. Buttermilk is extracted from butter because it is the milk-leftover. The buttermilk is white, but butter is yellow because it ultimately contains carotene, a compound naturally occurring in grasses that has been ingested by the cows. We spent the afternoon at Billings Farm, a historical museum built in the beginning of the 19th-century; of course all the tools we used were from the same time period. We used a daisy churn, an enclosed container that has a “whisker” inside. The coolest thing was when we used the daisy churner and saw the liquid change to a solid.

Billings FarmThe creamery was floored with bare cement and held a large churner meant for huge quantities of butter, a creamer, and a temperature cooler. Another thing I did not know is that there are three stages in the process of butter making : cream, whipped cream, and butter. In the end we were rewarded with more oyster crackers spread with our own hand-churned butter.

— Jakob Billings Farm

Today, the 31st of January 2013, the fourth day in Vermont: One of the events was taking a trip to the Billings Farm in Woodstock. One of the things I learned at this over-one-hundred-year farm is how clothes were washed and dried in the early 1800s. The wash room had two drying racks and two different machines to wash clothes. The first machine was red and looked like a cradle filled with water. It was called the Snow White Washer. Pushing up and down on the handle of the cradle agitates the clothes.Using the second contraption, I took a lady’s stocking and put it into two inches of water contained in a copper-covered sink. I cranked the stocking in between two stone cylinders of a machine called a wringer to squeeze out the water, and I then set the stocking on a drying rack. Instead of just throwing clothes in a machine, pressing a button, and walking away, you have to take time out of your day to clean the things you wear everyday if you want to wear clean things everyday!

— Cole

“Why do we use numbers?” asked Melinda. My classmates and I had a variety of answers. Melinda was teaching us about place value and ancient number systems. Given a stack of items, the counters used five fingers on one hand; once one counter uses all five fingers, the next counter raises one finger, indicating one set of five items has occurred. So, when it is written, it would look like 10 (base 5) but would have a value of five. This is a system that may have been used in an ancient civilization.

— AJ