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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go back in time to live and work on a Victorian era farm like in the movie Far from the Madding Crowd which was just released on Blu-ray and DVD? Thanks to an adventure made possible by Fox Studios yesterday I joined a handful of mom lifestyle bloggers including Real Mom of SFV, One Sleepy Mommy, Mom Me Must Haves and their kids -- along with a some others -- to do just that at Apricot Lane Farms in rural Moorpark, California about an hour and a half drive from Los Angeles.
The romantic drama Far from the Madding Crowd, based on the literary classic of the same name by Thomas Hardy is the story of a young country girl named Bathsheba played brilliantly by British actress Carey Mulligan who was nominated for an Oscar for An Education who inherits her uncle's farm. This is in Victorian times, remember, when a woman inheriting anything of much value was almost never heard of.
|Image from Fox Studios|
Filmed on location in the English countryside, the setting's landscape -- replete with natural rolling hills and sheep and other farm animals -- plays as critical a role as do the storyline, costumes and characters. So it couldn't have been more perfect that Fox transported our group to what was dubbed "A Day in the Life of Bathsheba" to give us the opportunity to experience first-hand what her life must have been like.
Following a picnic lunch next to the Garden Barn, Farmer John Chester welcomed us to Apricot Lane Farms, the old-fashioned working farm he and is wife Molly established in 2011. It's important to note John is not only creating a beautiful pesticide-free sustainable organic farm here, he is also realizing his dream as an award-winning documentary filmmaker capturing life on the farm with his work appearing on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday on OWN.
Then we were off with John and some of his staff of 40 farm hands to explore the biodynamic pastoral 210 acre spread rich with an eco-friendly man-made lake, orchards, crops, flowers, bees, and farm animals. The first stop was to see where the free range chickens live and to gather some freshy laid eggs from the beautiful and docile hens.
After a short 10-minute walk up a steep dirt path we paused for a moment to catch our breaths as we looked out over the view of rolling hills and neatly lined rows of fruit trees dotting the landscape below. We learned that the lush vegetation exists thanks to the farm's good to the earth practice of allowing the grass to grow naturally around the trunks of the trees to trap moisture below the surface.
Compared to a typical modern farm that does not protect the ground from erosion and sun exposure, Apricot Lane Farms has reduced its water consumption by more than 30% -- that's really to be lauded considering that California is currently in the midst of severe drought. This is the same way farmers did it back in the day before modern sprinkler systems and drip irrigation were invented.
The next stop was a highlight for all of us. We got to get up close and meet Emma, the mommy pig, and her 11 darling little red month-old piglets including the runt of the litter named Thumbelina. What an awesome moment it was to see this 600-pounder gently nurse her babies and how careful she was not to accidentally lie on top of them while they were drinking her milk. Emma, BTW, is quite a celebrity around here having been featured in one of Farmer John's touching and beautiful farm shorts Saving Emma which you can view below.
John practically had to drag us away from the cute piggies to show us the rest of the farm. Next up we made an unplanned surprise stop at the stables where everyone got to hold and cuddle some baby chicks. The look on this little girl's face captures the moment perfectly.
Our journey back in time culminated with a demonstration of how age-old techniques are still used to herd sheep on this farm. With the help of white protective Bernese Mountain Dogs which blend in with the flock and keep away the coyotes, we watched as the sheep were moved into a new pasture thus preventing the grass in the previous field from being overgrazed. Prompted by John on horseback and a few shepherds on the ground, seeing the flock move as a group was both fluid and beautiful. In fact it is reminiscent of what you can expect to see when you watch Far From the Madding Crowd.
Want a little romance in your life as summer begins to wind down? You can journey back in time and relive the Victorian age, by watching the new movie which is now widely available in-store and online on Blu-ray + Digital HD or DVD. Readers note: don't leave this page before you enter the giveaway to win this wonderful picture.
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About Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is the industry leading worldwide marketing, sales and distribution company for all Fox produced, acquired and third party partner film and television programming. Each year TCFHE expands its award-winning global product portfolio with the introduction of new entertainment content through established and emerging formats including DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox.
Far From the Madding Crowd
|Image from Fox Studios|