December 4, 2023

Christmas on the Farm

In our little Pennsylvania Dutchie area of PA, we try to enjoy the seasons at the local German Heritage Center.  Each season they open up the farm and give demonstrations of life back in the olden times.
The buildings are all traditionally decorated with natural materials scavenged from the farm--evergreen boughs, holly and pinecones.
There were activities for the kiddies, including a petting area with sheep and goats, paper chain making, a pine cone bird feeder activity (the results of which we hung outside in our holly tree),

and of course a tractor ride!  Not exactly 1800s, but oh well.
This was the highlight for S.  It was darned cold out, so I brought a blanket with us.
He enjoyed it, especially going through the mud near the spent corn fields.
Not the best picture taking day though, with Dada at home enjoying some peace and quiet.  I would have liked to have gotten more, with better expressions too.

There's an old schoolhouse on the property, which is where visits from the Belsnickel occur.
In case your not up on your PA Dutch history, the Belsnickel is an impish fellow who brings coal to bad children, and has also been known to yield a switch to naughty bottoms.  He's usually dressed all in fur and wears a mask with a long tongue.  We chose to avoid him, after Soren's unexpected fear (which he has now overcome, thankfully) of the Abominable Snow Monster from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

There are lots of other cute little outbuildings, built in the traditional German style using mortar and logs or stone.
Again, I just love the simple decorations in the windows and on the doors.
We had our share of snacks too, from the cookie decorating building

and even inside the main house, where they were baking Springerkuche cookies in a dutch oven in an open kitchen fireplace.  It smelled so warm and cozy in there.

We didn't get a chance to hear the wandering carolers, or check out the Craftsmen's Guild shop, where one can watch baskets being woven and Hex signs being painted.  Hence is the life of a parent--not getting to see it all due to little wandering feet and hands.  And somehow I missed the Christmas Putz (Nativity scene), but we did enjoy our time on the farm. 
In case you're looking to add to your waistline, here's the recipe for the Springerkuche cookies.  The aniseseed is a nice touch.

Springerkuche (Springerle) Cookies
4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
4 eggs
1 lb. sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 Tbsp. aniseseed, ground
1 Tbsp. aniseseed

Sift together the flour and baking powder.  Beat eggs and sugar together until light and thick (20 minutes by hand, 5? by electric mixer).  Stir in lemon zest and ground anise.  Add flour mixture, stir well.  On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/2" thick.  Press wooden molds into the dough, and cut squares with a knife.  Place cookies 1/2" apart on a buttered baking sheet, sprinkle with aniseseed. Leave out uncovered overnight.  Then bake at 300 degrees for 20-25 minutes, but don't let it brown.


  1. Oh dear lord, I can't get enough of that cheesy grin xD

    And the faces he makes!! Makes me crack up ^.^

    That looks SO amazing-My family and I are big into the old fashioned settler day type events so this would be right up our alley :)

    Thanks for taking such great pictures! It looks like you both had some fun.

  2. What great photos. I love the skies.

  3. I know all about days out with a little one and no second adult to help so I can take pictures. LOL I have to say though, after seeing the photos you DID take, I would love to visit that farm. It's just gorgeous with all it's charm and detail.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe. It's on my list of things to try. :)

  4. I always enjoy reading and viewing the photos about places to go in your area...always looks like so much fun!


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