It’s been a while since I last visited Kline Creek Farm and I can’t recall ever visiting in the winter. Given its close proximity to St. James Farm in Winfield, IL. I figured it was worth a shot given the building construction in progress at St. James Farm.
For those that are not familiar with Kline Creek Farm, it is one of northern Illinois hidden gems, not many people seem to know about this place, though that is changing a bit these days with the advent of Facebook and Facebook events etc which the farm uses to promote itself.
Kline Creek Farm is a 19th century working farm, and by 19th century farm I mean, both from that era and farmed using methods and equipment of that time… and by working I mean they do produce sell-able goods… corn, sheep, wool, honey, cattle, maple syrup (I think). It is run by dedicated volunteers… very dedicated! Even the volunteers must keep their attire when on premises to be in line with 19th century dress. In short this place is as close to a farming time machine as you’ll come across, it really is a wonderful little place.
There was no-one around at the farm when I arrived, not really a surprise, I was half expecting that. I figured it would be completely deserted, though of course there were volunteers around keeping the farm moving along. Having not been to Kline Creek Farm in the winter before I assumed they’d clear out the animals and livestock to other more modern equipped facilities… yea, I was wrong there!
As I wondered around the farm a volunteer spotted me with my camera and asked if I’d like to see the horses, ‘would love to’ I said. The horses had been out all night, the temperature here is in the teens (Fahrenheit). Apparently they always stay outside and it’s perfectly normal, the horses prefer it to being in a dark barn. The volunteers were bringing in the horses though for feeding time, the horses knew this and were quite excited for lunch time! They lined up around the gate in anticipation of heading in for lunch. Apparently there is an order in which the horses head into the barn, interesting, ‘in order of age?’ I asked, no no the volunteer informed me, the horses decide on the order and the order is always the same once they’ve worked it out!
Once the horses were taken care of, the volunteer (I really should have caught her name) asked if I’d visited the lambing barn yet, I hadn’t. Head down there she said, we have a couple of lambs! I was amazed, i always assumed lambing was in the spring, but at Kline Creek they already had two lambs and had lost a couple on arrival already. Off I headed to the lambing barn.
The lambing barn has a little walk way so you can view the sheep and lambs without disturbing them. A few minutes later the volunteers arrived to check on the lambs, I got invited in to get a closer look at the lambs, one was only three days old!
At this point I had my first ‘Leica experience’, why is it claiming an 8 second exposure, aaaa yes, that would be the lens cap!!
Almost at the end of the tour now, I headed to say hello to the cows, all also pregnant and err… enjoying the fresh snow that was falling on them.
I felt pretty lucky to have decided to head over to Kline Creek, its a great place and the volunteers are so dedicated and accommodating to visitors, not to mention knowledgeable to their subject. I highly recommend a visit if you are ever near WinField, IL. They’re closed to visitors on Wednesdays and Thursdays though. O and its free, but donations are always accepted. Also worth checking out their Facebook page, they post events there all the time.
Images taken with Leica M + Voigtlander Ultron 35mm f1.7