7/16/09

Horses & Flowers & The Olden Days

Nashville has a little gem of a place called the Ellington Agricultural Center.

Tennessee Sunflowers

It's great for kids. They can see heirloom vegetables and sunflowers growing in the garden. During Rural Days they can shuck corn, sheer sheep, and churn butter. During the Music & Molasses Festival they can see the molasses cooking and get a taste at the sorghum mill and go for a horse-drawn buggy ride.

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They can see what their room would have looked like back in "the olden days." Not a Star Wars Clone in sight.

I love this Little House on the Prairie stuff. I read every one of Laura Ingalls Wilder's books and I totally romanticize that life.

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Until I see an example of a typical kitchen / living room. I come to my senses pretty quick.

Ellington Ag Center has Summer Saturdays and last Saturday was not one I was going to miss because it involved horses. The Ag Center is the home of the Nashville Mounted Police. The horses are stabled and trained there. I used to drive through Ellington on my way to work each morning, as a sort of shortcut, and I'd see the horses out in the pasture in the early light and there is nothing like that sight.

Last Saturday the police horses were the focus of the day, with demonstrations and the stables open for you to walk through and meet the horses.

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This is Jose (pronounced hosea) and his partner. (Jose is the horse.) Jose and this officer have been partners for 12 years. The officer put Jose through some of his paces for us. One of the things Jose is trained to do is break up fights. Two men volunteered and pretended to fight - pushing and whatnot. The officer rode straight up to them and Jose just walked right between them. Then he used his head to push at one of them - walking forward, pushing, walking - until the man was cornered against the wall.

It was fascinating. It's hard to tell in the photo, but that is a really big horse. If he's coming at you - you will step off. The officer said even a drunk will move. No one wants Jose stepping on their foot. So, crowd control is one of Jose's jobs.

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The police horses also list "Community Good Will" on their job descriptions. People love them. This is Skipper and he has excellent people skills. He licked and slobbered my entire right arm. It was precious.

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All the Mounted Patrol horses are Tennessee Walking Horses. Naturally.

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Summer Saturdays are in full swing and are among Nashville's best summertime Free Things For Kids To Do!

What is the best free thing to do in the summer where you live?

12 comments:

Michele Renee said...

That is pretty neat--my boys would have loved to see those crowd control demonstrations. We like to bike ride on a greenway for free fun.

Amy said...

Hi Michele Renee! My husband and older son have been doing a lot of biking this summer too.

The horse breaking up the fighters was amazing! The officer said the animals are simply so large that people become more concerned about what the horse is going to do than whatever mischief they were up to. And the horse crowding and pushing the person with his head - it was very cool.

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

We went last July and the girls LOVED it! They loved the horses.

mo.stoneskin said...

The cabin photo makes me feel all "Little House on the Prairie" inside. Lovely.

topper said...

You're Nashville's best ambassador. They should pay you! It is a very user-friendly city with lots of fun things to do. I love the Harvest Moon festival where people of all ages from children to old men on canes bring their instruments and walk around the farm playing music. Some of them play alone and some gather into impromptu groups, and the crowd strolls along listening to whoever strikes their fancy.

Pop and Ice said...

That's very cool. Very much like "The Henry Ford" in Dearborn, Michigan. School kids from all over Michigan, at least once in their life, make a field trip to Henry Ford.

Rachel said...

That is gorgeous!!!!!
I love the horse pics (WOW)
but the flowers, Amy, they are just stunning!

I WISH we had someplace like that here.

Rachel said...

OH.

I totally read every LHP book and still have my entire boxed collection and will probably geek out and go read them again :-) thanks.

Vodka Mom said...

I LOVE that.

As a teacher, and a mother, it's just plain COOL.

Angie's Spot said...

I swear, every time you mention the mounted patrol activities, I remind myself that Nashville isn't THAT far from me and I need to roadtrip there already. Great pics and I'm going to make it there with my kiddos sooner than later!

Chattanooga has got some pretty cool summer activities, but Fall is when it's really happening around here. It's my favorite time of the year hands down. Festivals galore and color cruises on the river when the leaves start to change. Love it!

Tertium Quid said...

We love Nashville. It has all the virtues of Birmingham and Atlanta with few of the vices. On the West End, you can walk or ride a bike everywhere.

Sgt. J.D. Harber said...

Hay, I'm the officer on the horse and I wanted to thank you for spreading the word. Very well writen. Please feel free to come by the stable any time. We do about 600 events and assignments a year and we do a lot of those events at the stable for groups that come to visit. We always welcome visitors. Thanks again.

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