Historical farm presents past perfectly

As a child, I’d often watch my mother slaughter chickens. She’d select a rooster from the flock, swing it around to get it dizzy and chop off its head with an ax. After she soaked the body in warm water to loosen the feathers, she’d pluck them out one by one. She’d then cut up the chicken before cooking it.

While that method of chicken preparation might make some squeamish, it was part of my mother’s routine. It’s also a way of life to the farmers at Slate Run Living Historical Farm in the Columbus suburb of Canal Winchester.

Poultry keeps the farm family supplied with eggs and meat. Feathers are used for stuffing pillows and mattresses. Hogs are important, too. They provide meat and lard for cooking.

Many tourist destinations dress people up in period clothing in an attempt to create a simulated atmosphere. There’s also the phenomenon of the petting zoo, where small, meek animals are corralled and presented to giggling children.

Slate Run farm presents both concepts in a family-friendly, yet authentic way. It’s part working farm and part tourist attraction that offers visitors a chance to get up close and personal with farm animals. Yes, the people at Slate Run wear old farm clothing, but pardon them. They’re working.

If you want to see a farmer plowing a field with help of a draft horse, this is the place. If you want to see a sheep being sheared, or a pig butchered, this is the place. If you want to see ladies canning tomatoes, they do that here too.

Slate Run is one of 15 Columbus-area Metro Parks that offers free educational programs. In this case, it’s what life was like on an Ohio farm in the 1880s. Rustic, rugged and highly entertaining.

For more information, visit www.metroparks.net/ParksSlateRunFarm.aspx.