The Perfect Day for a Picnic at Duke Farms

4 August 2013

Hello, dear readers and friends:

A warm, summer afternoon is the perfect excuse to have a picnic. As you know, I love picnics, and I still remember with much joy our magical picnic in the vineyards of the Western Cape, when Reggie and Richard took me to an open-air concert of their favourite South African singer, Sonja Herholdt. I think one can never have too many picnics.

“Paprika, is there someplace we can go to have a picnic?” I asked my hostess.

“Great idea, Flat Kathy. There is a fabulous place not far from here: Duke Farms, in Hillsborough, New Jersey,” Paprika said.

“Oooo… a farm? Will there be pigs and cows?” I asked.

“Sorry, Flat Kathy. Duke Farms was the estate of the very wealthy Duke family. They used this property as their summer home and now it is a park open to the public.” Paprika explained.

“So, no pigs and cows then?” I was disappointed.

“There are a lot of walking trails, picnic tables, ponds and birds. We might even see a turtle, if we’re lucky,” Paprika said, evidently trying to distract me from the fact that there wouldn’t be any pigs and cows.

It was a beautiful day for a picnic at Duke Farms - pity there were no cows, pigs or sheep, and that there wasn't even a Duke to introduce myself to
It was a beautiful day for a picnic at Duke Farms – pity there were no cows, pigs or sheep, and that there wasn’t even a dashing Duke to introduce myself to…

“I guess that’s OK, but can I at least ride with my head out of the sunroof on the way to Duke Farms? I do love the way it feels when the wind is in my hair.”

“Flat Kathy, I don’t think it is safe for you to ride around with your head sticking out of the sunroof, but I will let you pop it out while the car is stopped. Will that do?” Paprika asked.

“I suppose,” I said, a bit disappointed.

As promised, Paprika let me pop my head out of the sunroof of her zooty little VW Bug before we left for our picnic. My braids flapped in the wind and it was marvelous! We picked up Paprika’s friend, Ginger, and were off for our picnic.

I love the feel of the wind in my braids - and isn't this the perfect car for adventurous gals like Paprika, Ginger and me?!
I love the feel of the wind in my braids – and isn’t this the perfect car for adventurous gals like Paprika, Ginger and me?! *I* think we should go for a roadtrip in this car!

Duke Farms was beautiful. Ginger, Paprika and I walked for a mile and stopped to have our picnic by the Mermaid Pool. I searched for a mermaid, but I didn’t see any. It was so peaceful sitting in a meadow with only the sounds of birds chirping and cicadas buzzing.

Refreshed after our picnic, we took a different route through the park to get back to the car. Ginger spotted a crane sitting on a fallen log in one of the lakes. Paprika pointed out a row of 100 year old sycamore trees. Then we came to one of Paprika’s favorite spots in the park: The Old Hay Barn.

“Flat Kathy, this old barn was built in 1905 to store hay for the farm, but a fire in 1915 destroyed all but the stone walls of the barn. Doris Duke turned it into a statue garden. There’s one statue in there I think you are going to want to see,” Paprika said.

As I’ve demonstrated before (have a look at our visit to the Grounds for Sculpture), I like to have fun with statues and this garden was no different. I soon found the perfect statue for me.

“Oh, look! That statue is a body with no head, and I am a head with no body. We must get a picture together!”

Don't you love my new body? I wonder if I could borrow it...
Don’t you love my elegant new body? I wonder if I could borrow it for a bit…

Over the next day or so I’ll be helping Paprika and Oregano get ready for our trip out west to Colorado and South Dakota. I’ve had fun in New Jersey and now I’m looking forward to seeing a different part of the United States.

Yours in flatness and love,

Flat Kathy


6 thoughts on “The Perfect Day for a Picnic at Duke Farms

    1. I know, philosophermouseofthehedge – it was such a thrill! Do you know that we are on a little roadtrip out in the Midwest at the moment? I’m rather sorry that we couldn’t bring along the Bug.

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    1. I suppose you’re right, Paprika. It’s just that, sometimes, I do wish I was a little more… substantial, if you know what I mean. But I suppose then I wouldn’t be able to go for such wonderful adventurous trips around the world, as I’d be far too bulky to fit into an envelope, even one with bubble-wrap.

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  1. You look so happy and free sticking your head out of the sunroof. Very exciting, but I hope you usually wear your seatbelt.

    How marvellous that you’re travelling out west.

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    1. Yes yes, Paprika is very particular about putting on my seatbelt when I ride with her. She’s also been doing some muscle-building exercises with me, so that my back is stronger and straighter.

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