This wonderful farm is only 30 minutes by car from our current home in Princeton, New Jersey.
The mission of the working farm is to recreate life in the 1890-1910, to learn about the tools used then, the animals raised, and the way things were generally run and organized.
The Howell Living History Farm is run mostly by volunteers, and it’s free!
There are programs on most Saturdays throughout the year for visitors to lend a hand: maple sugaring, ice harvesting, potato planting , hayrides and even a corn maze in the summer. They also offer multiple-day programs for children 3 and up as a fun introduction to farm work.
We visited on Potato Planting day. Two sets of strong work horses pulled plows, with one or two people holding steady the heavy metal artifact and/or the reins. The plow made the rows where the volunteers rushed to plant pieces of potatoes.The horses then made new rows next to the last one, now full of potato cuttings, covering the freshly planted tubers with soil.
We had a great time as a family. Little M loved getting her hands in the soil, carrying her own potato bucket and working side by side with other kids and adults.
The farm also has lamb, chickens, oxen, geese and pigs. There were many fluffy and playful baby lamb that were close enough to touch behind a wooden fence. The horses too were gentle and accepting of the running, screaming kids.
For our little M it was a thrill to pet the humongous sweet-eyed horses, to carry her bucketful of potato cuttings and her own measuring stick for proper positioning on the soil, to approach the baby lamb and watch them eye to eye, to run around the green pastures and blow as many dandelion seeds as possible.
We returned to the farm recently for the Honey Harvest. We were able to see the whole process and left with local raw clover honey.
The weather was really hot and the little stream was a great relief. It was full of crayfish.