A colleague who lives in Richmond suggested we come to visit Maymont Farm, which is actually in Richmond the city, surprisingly. It’s this huge expanse of land that has multiple types of gardens, farms, a barn, and seemingly endless pastures. In the late 1800s, a wealthy Richmond couple, James and Sallie Dooley, completed an elaborate Gilded Age estate on a site high above the James River. Upon their deaths and according to their wishes, Maymont, including its architectural complexes and the 100-acre landscape, was left to the people of Richmond. Sallie Dooley died in 1925, which was when the City of Richmond took control of the land. Until 1975, the Maymont Foundation took control under an agreement with the City of Richmond. They raised money and developed a long-term plan to allow the public to enjoy this space. Today, it is free to come visit with just a suggested donation of $5 per visitor, which is incredible when you see how beautiful and vast the space is. It really is taken care of quite well.
We visited the Italian and Japanese gardens of Maymont, and also the goat farms. I really wanted Kaia to see real animals in person. They allow you to feed them designated goat feed there. A nice visitor had extra coins for feed, so she gave them to me so Kaia could enjoy. Kaia seemed pretty unsure of what to make of the goats. She knew the sound they make (“baa baa!”), but when it came to getting too close, she got a little scared. I tried to model for her and feed the goats to get her more comfortable. She almost did at one point and willingly grabbed the goat pellet feed from me…. Until an aggressive goat head butted a smaller goat we tried to feed to steal the little goat’s food away! That’s when Kaia stepped back a bit and her desire to feed the goats waned, and she ran off! Maybe she will enjoy getting closer to animals when she’s a little older.
It was still worth it to watch her observe them and think about what they were in relation to her, though. My sweet baby is still learning her place in the world and deeply observant of all her surroundings all the time. It’s been amazing to watch her grow every day and fills me with endless joy.