Save The Date! Threshing Bee
Saturday, June 9th
9am to 4pm
Patrick Ranch Museum,
Phone: 342-4359, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stepping through the Patrick Ranch Museum’s gates on Threshing Bee day is truly a magical experience! You, like the young Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, can travel to another time and place. With three clicks of your heels, you will be transported back a century in time to be overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of horses and men at work, tilled earth, cut dried wheat, primitive tractor engines popping, and the unforgettable sound of a steam engine’s whistle.
Horse and tractor drawn binders are cutting the fields of wheat, dropping it to the ground in tied bundles to be pitched onto wagons and transported to the thresher. The thresher separates the grains of wheat from the stalk, blows the stalks into a giant pile, and shunts the grains of wheat into burlap sacks. What a monumental increase in productivity from years before when the wheat was cut by farmhands using a sickle! The next step in the process is exciting, too! Some of the wheat is ground into flour and children can move to the biscuit making venue and make their own biscuits! From field to mouth in minutes!
The twenty-eight acres of the Patrick Ranch is teaming with activities for every age and interest. Small engine enthusiasts are set up under the shade of grand Valley Oaks, demonstrating the use of their specialty engines; a stationary tractor exhibit will be located in front of the grand farmhouse; and the ranch’s carriage collection will be displayed in the yard.
The University of California Master Gardner mini gardens offer a treasure trove of visual ideas! Visitors will be intrigued by live bee exhibits (all self-contained), including demonstration hives and bee beard demonstrations. The chickens will be in and out of their coop to let the little ones know that we really do get eggs from chickens and not from the grocery store!
Moving to the ranch corral, visitors are treated to stock dog demonstrations without equal! Al Viera, our valley’s own world famous stock dog trainer, brings award winning stock dogs and puppies to demonstrate their extraordinary ability to control and herd sheep! Observing the connection the dogs have with Al is an unforgettable moment in itself!
Another treasured experience is afforded visitors when they visit the working forges of the Patrick Ranch Blacksmith Club members. To watch the blacksmiths heat metal and work it into tools, or pieces of art, is a true step back in time! Tractors were not in wide spread use until the 1920s. Until that time, the world depended on the blacksmith for everything from farm implements to pots and pans and needles to nails!!
Kids, Kids, Kids! Providing activities for kids of all ages is always a major focus at the Threshing Bee. There are pedal tractors to ride, kids’ crafts, “fishing” in the fountain, rope making, and a challenge to pack a covered wagon for the trip west – an intriguing exercise for the entire family! Seniors and families can tour the grounds in a tractor-pulled people mover and pony cart rides are a popular venue.
The Grand, two-story, thirteen room Glenwood Farmhouse, built in 1877, has fireplaces in nine of its rooms. Four of the main rooms on the first floor have beautiful faux marble fireplaces, three topped with large, ornate mirrors. Every room in the house is furnished with family furniture, books, dishes, and vases dating from the mid 1800s to the 1930s. A tour of the house is a grand experience – definitely a trip back in time!
The food court offers a selection of menus for every age. Patrons are encouraged to enjoy their meals at tables and chairs placed on the front and back lawns. Live music is provided at midday. Wandering minstrels add a relaxing ambiance to your visit!
The Patrick Ranch Visitor Center, with its museum displays and gift shop is a “must see” destination at the ranch. The ever changing museum displays focus on multiple topics, from tools to nuts and bees. The gift shop is a shopper’s dream! There is very reasonably priced blown glass, exciting educational books for children of all ages, yard art, local food products, specialty bird houses, history resource books, and art work on consignment. It is a shopper’s paradise for those looking for the unique affordable gift.
The visitor’s Threshing Bee experience will be enhanced this year with train exhibits, including interactive children’s activities, model trains on display, and a discussion of the impact of the arrival of trains on local agriculture. The C&O Railroad reached Chico on July 4, 1870, bringing with it reliable transportation for the valley’s wheat crops, thus allowing us to develop into the “bread basket” for the United States! The Northern Electric was completed through Chico in 1906, bringing a convenient source of transportation and electricity to local communities. This will be a terrific addition that’s not to be missed!
By Jan Holman