Thursday, May 7, 2009

Clearing My Head Before I Go To Work

I went to the Greenfield Village open air museum again today, where I met up with my friend, Guy. We both are members and enjoy walking the Village just to clear our heads, talk a little, and, of course, learn about our American past. As many times as I have been to Greenfield Village, I never cease to learn something new at each visit. This morning's journey found me concentrating on dairy houses and kitchen gardens. Most homes in the 19th century had both.
I cannot express enough the importance of these two necessities to daily life in the 19th century. To give a very basic overview: the dairy barn of course, was where milk would be made into cheese, butter, cream, etc., and was a much busier shed than many may realize, especially when one considers the cows needed to be milked twice a day.

Susquehanna House Dairy Barn

And the vegetables that would sustain a family from the kitchen garden were a necessity that we in this modern day and age, with our stores and fruit markets within minutes from our homes selling fresh fruits and vegetables 12 months a year, cannot fathom. Imagine going months without fresh vegetables... what was grown in these kitchen gardens sustained the family throughout the year, whether they ate the vegetables fresh during the summer and fall, or dried (in the wintertime and spring).
Many folks here in the 21st century have reverted back to kitchen gardens - we have an ever-growing one ourselves that my eldest son maintains.
Some even are lucky enough to live on a farm - not a modern mechanical farm, but a family farm where they grow what they need to eat, milk their cows for the milk products, and, at times, even use oil lamps for their lighting.

Candle Dipping in the Yard of William McGuffey

No, they're not Amish, just very traditional people that are living the way I believe we were all meant to live.
And I am truly envious of these modern traditionalists.
Which brings me back to Greenfield Village: this is why I go so often - - - I can step into the past, enjoy farm life, traditional crafts, horses and carriages, historical houses, and great company virtually any day I'd like (I have a member pass so I can go as often as I'd like).
And it's less than a half hour drive from my house!

A scene right out of the past!

I may not have that 24/7 traditional life YET...but I have what I consider the next best thing.
And, I have found that, aside from reenacting, my "extra" visits to the past are the perfect way to spend the morning before I have to go to that four letter word place known as WORK!



Mrs. G said...

There's a lot of truth in what you write; for most 19th century people understood that if you don't work then you don't eat! How's that for a sobering reality, lol? A lot of folks today are realizing that boughten produce just can't equal homegrown and are doing what your family is, growing what they can themselves. I applaud everyone's efforts, none of us are where we want to be, but we're traveling on the same road.


Historical Ken said...

Who would have thought that farming would make a sort of a comeback?
There's even talk of turning Detroit's vacant land into farm land!