The first reaction when you tell someone that you are going to a sheep farm is “why?” “Or haven’t you seen sheep grazing, border collie herding and sheep shearing at home in North Andover during the Sheep Shearing Festival?” So I will do my best to explain why we took this day trip to Qingjing Farm.
We took the HSR train to Taichung, and then got tickets on a tour bus to go up to Qingjing Farm. This farm is so popular that they run extra tour buses on weekends. Still wondering why everyone wants to go here?
Qingjing Farm is situated in Nantou County off of the Central Cross-Island Highway in Taiwan. Its altitude is 1,750 meters (5,250 feet) above sea level. The weather at Qingjing Farm is generally mild all year round. In the months from May to September, the temperatures averages between 15℃ and 23℃ (59-73 degrees Fahrenheit). So it is an ideal place to escape from the hot summer weather in Taiwan!
There was lots of cute sheep drawings, along with beautiful scenery at the farm. The Qingjing Farm also has an interesting history.
When the Communists took over mainland China in 1949, many of the minority groups living in southwest China fled to the Burmese-Thai-Laotian borders. There they joined the resistance forces in Yunnan. They fought against the Communists in Burma in October 1960; with each side suffering heavy casualties. These soldiers were ordered to retreat in 1961. Seventy-seven soldiers and their families emigrated to Pingtung, Taiwan. They were settled in the Qingjing Veterans Farm after one hundred days of agricultural training.
That is why it is sometimes referred to as Qingjing Veterans’ Farm.
Qingjing Farm lost money raising sheep for mutton, milk, and wool, and goats for meat and milk until the 1990s, when it was “discovered” by the tourist industry. Now the farm is very profitable catering to tourists, and the sheep and goats are mostly tourist attractions. This is the definition of a Recreational Farm, catering to tourists with agriculture as a small side industry. Qingjing Farm is one of eight recreational farms in Taiwan.
The wide grass plain is the most popular site on the Qingjing Farm. It has sheep grazing on the grass, and the beautiful central mountains of Taiwan in the distance.
And goats, although this one was sleeping instead of grazing.
The sheep are very friendly; and visitors usually can have their pictures taken with them. This is because the farm sells pellet food that you can feed to the animals. And on a summer day like this one, there were lots and lots of children feeding the animals. So most of the sheep here were too well fed to come over and take the food that this man is offering, as he tries to take a formal photo on the farm. I am assuming that this was a wedding photo shoot, because of the woman’s fancy dress.
June to August is sheep shearing season, and the farm holds sheep shearing shows. We did not bother to attend one, as we have seen plenty of sheep getting sheared during our years in North Andover. In fact, because I know what a good, cleanly sheared sheep should look like, I can tell that whoever is shearing these sheep is not doing a very good job. Many of the sheep looked like they were given very uneven “haircuts”!
There were also alpacas on the farm.
Their pasture area had some of the best mountain views! On a clear day, you can see Yushan, the tallest mountain in Taiwan, from Qingjing Farm. It was not clear enough to see the mountain on the day day that we were there.
Qingjing Farm was having a Windmill Festival during the months of July and August on another section of the farm called the Small Swiss Garden.
The Small Swiss Garden has been called “Taiwan’s Little Switzerland” because many visitors have said that this section of the farm resembles Switzerland. I am not sure if that is true because I have never been to Switzerland. But they were certainly trying to create that image here on this section of the farm. It also created more photo opportunities for visitors.
Do they have windmills in Switzerland? Well, they had one here, along with many smaller pinwheels stuck into the grass. The pinwheels are in the shape of a sheep in the grass background behind Jeff in the photo below. And they even had a frame that you could pose in, so that the photo would have exactly the right angle to catch the “sheep” in the background!
There were also painted wooden cow shapes scattered around this section of the farm. This one below was my favorite because of its border collie and sheep theme. It was also reasonably well painted. many of the other painted cows looked like they had been done by first graders (and maybe they had.)
The third section of Qingjing Farm is called Shoushan Park. The most notable thing about Shoushan Park was the large Chiang Kai-shek statue in the center of it.
After leaving Shoushan Park, we took a trail down to the visitor center. They were two trails down the hillside to the visitor center. One was a short boardwalk trail that went directly down the hill. The other was a much longer trail (actually a road) that wound down the hillside.
We took the longer trail because we were in no hurry to get home. I was really enjoying the comfortable temperatures; it was so nice not to be hot and sweaty when I was walking around outside!
There were vendors along the road near the visitor center selling local peaches. This area of Taiwan grows a lot of peaches, and they are in season in July and August.
Instead of eating fresh peaches, we ended up at Mcdonalds. For some reason, I was having a McDonald’s craving, and so I insisted that we eat both breakfast (in the Taichung HSR station) and dinner (in the Taipei HSR station) at McDonalds. This is very unusual for me, as McDonalds is one of my least favorite places to eat. Maybe I am getting a bit homesick, and missing American food.