by Farmer Erin
Recently a long-held wish of mine was granted. It involved medieval weapons, children, pumpkins and the best of Austin weirdness. Rarely do these things come together in the time of Covid, or in an Austin that is replacing real-hands-on-creative-weirdness with sanitized sameness.
To understand my longing, you need to step back a few years ago: when rare breed Guinea Hogs, goats, and chickens roamed our historic intown farm; when Farm Camp was six weeks of summer fun with kids ages 5-15 romping around the fields. In those days, the week after Halloween was busy — customers and busloads of children would come bearing post-holiday pumpkins eager to feed them to Spot, our enormous boar, or, if truly rotten, to donate to our compost piles. Our pigs were happy, and so were we, knowing our farm offered our neighbors an exceptional recycling option.
As pumpkins piled up at our gate, I daydreamed about launching these squashes skyward. I saw them splattering them all over the pig pasture — broken and ready-to-eat treats, the ultimate piggie fast food. All we needed was a trebuchet (or catapult)…but where to find one…
Figures Kami Wilt would know.
A couple of weeks ago, this authentic Austin gem and founder of the Austin Tinkering School started the wheels turning. She whipped together an event featuring one of her Tinkering students’ baby trebuchet paired with the grand masters of Texas Trebuchet.
Though there were no pigs to gobble the goodies, the day was perfect. Children in costume clutching their much-loved jack-o-lanterns lined up under a bright blue sky as the Buffalo Gals sang out bluegrass harmonies. Adults “squashed” their anxieties — writing “2020” or a politician’s name — on orange orbs sent careening, making explosions in and around our compost piles. Shrieks of joy echoed through the barn as heads too large to launch were tossed from the hayloft of the Big Red Barn.
Once again our farm was like the good old days — full of fun and frivolity.
Thanks for keeping it weird, Kami. What do you say we do it again next year?