"Childhood is the world of miracle and wonder; as if creation rose, bathed in the light, out of the darkness, utterly new and fresh and astonishing. The end of childhood is when things cease to astonish us." ~ Eugene IonescoThe Enchanted Forest exhibit of children's playhouses at the Norfolk Botanical Garden only runs for another two weeks. Then the playhouses will go to the back yards of a few lucky children. We have visited Jack and the Beanstalk, The Crooked Man, Red Riding Hood's Grandmother and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Today we take a tour of that most famous of childhood farmers.... Old MacDonald. His barn was voted "Most Sustainable" in the exhibit, perhaps from the small garden at the side or the presence of succulents growing in shallow dishes on the side roofs. Several buildings at the gardens have roofs with "living plant shingles" and these help keep the buildings cooler in the summer.
Hanging from the large trees in the barnyard are two swinging horses, hoping someone will let down that dangling bale of hay so they can eat. Stairs lead up to a loft. On one side are windows or stalls, for the horses and cows; on the other side is a small farmer's market stall. In the back yard there is the farmer's cow and a slide out the back of the barn... this is probably another break in tradition, I don't know of too many barns with a slide out the back.
A mellow yellow market, vegetable patch according to the alphabet, and MacDonald's cow.... where are the chickens?
I loved all the nooks and crannys and small side doors and long windows; many places for kids to climb in and out of. And those horse swings, when I was a kid I was in to horses although I never had one or even rode except on rare occasions. I had a stick horse until graduating to my bicycle which became my tall graceful black stallion that let me ride like the wind, even though the bike was blue and with my penchant to falling off it lacked a lot of grace. I would have been in heaven to have one of these hanging horses... and the large tree to support them.
Only three more playhouses to go. All enchanting and I think the kids will be sad to see them go this fall. But, I am always curious to see what they will think of next... something wonderful I have no doubt! This mellow yellow barn fits right in for Mellow Yellow Monday.
PS: The correct spelling of MacDonald comes up... is it "Mac" or "Mc". I thought it was "Mc" but the designers chose the MacDonald version so we will just go with it. This children's song reminds me of the time my daughter took her teddy bear to church. Teddy was always with her, even in the hospital when she was first born. He was special. Press his tummy and he played twelve childrens songs... in a row. Old MacDonald was the first song. The thing is, if Teddy started playing he wouldn't stop... until the end. If you pressed his tummy again, he would simply start over... Old MacDonald. Well, her PaPa accidentally sat on Teddy after the hymn just before the pastoral prayer and the glorious strains of "Old MacDonald had a farm... ee-i-ee-i-oh" rang out across the silent sanctuary. Papa in his flustered state kept pressing Teddy's tummy to get him to stop and that only made him repeat "Old MacDonald had a farm"... over and over. At this point most of the congregation is in stitches, his face is red and we just had to take Teddy outside. He was going to play for about ten minutes. At least he didn't sing the words as well!
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