Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Day on an 1850s Farm in Waterloo

Let's see...it was a rainy Saturday...should I have spent it at home on the computer and watched television - - or - - spent it in the company of family and friends on an 1850s farm?
In today's mixed-up shook-up world, that was a no-brainer for me!
Yep! Once again we had another rainy reenacting adventure. So far it has rained on at least one of the days nearly every weekend that we have had a reenactment this season - only the first one we participated in back in early May gave us fine weather.
Now this last weekend in June was no different; except for a break for about an hour during the afternoon, there was a steady non-stop rain and much cooler than normal temps with highs in the low 60s...our normal high is in the low 80s this time of year.
But rather than say, "forget it! Let's just stay home!," we, instead, crammed ourselves into the time-traveling van and off we went, whirling back into the very wet past and landing at the farm we have considered our own for nearly a decade - Waterloo Farm located in rural Munith/Waterloo, Michigan. The good folks who run this farm museum have allowed us to settle in and create a home atmosphere here, and we usually spend most of our time in the sitting room, for the parlor is, of course, for 'special occasions" (remember when we were in the parlor last Christmas? How about at the Harvest Supper?). They trust us implicitly, and over the years we've worked to earn that trust.
And rain or shine, this farm and some of its outbuildings are so picturesque, as you will see.
So here I go, with camera in hand, snapping vignettes of the past while gathering my lost sanity.
I hope you enjoy the trip:
A cozy scene from the 1860s, especially with the oil lamps giving that little extra. Who cares about the cool wet weather outside? Not us! For we made the best of what could have been a bad situation.

This is our good friend (and travelling companion) Jackie in the foreground, and my lovely wife, Patty, spinning on her wheel in the background. As visitors toured the house, they witnessed a living history lesson that they would be hard-pressed to receive anywhere else. And, to be honest, the rain added a certain atmosphere that gave off a hominess that one may not get on a hot summer's day, though it would have been nice to have at least some sunshine!

Spinning is second only to crocheting for Patty. She loves to spin on her wheel, and I often will find her up as early as four in the morning, clicking and whirring, turning wool into yarn.

Our friend Jackie - one of the nicest friends we have. Oh, and she does a great Irish brogue when she portrays a washerwoman.

Here's my daughter: yeah, she's dressed a little fancy for a farm girl, but every-so-often she likes to 'dress up.' By the way, she's wearing a sweater my wife knitted for her.

Working in the kitchen...

On the last Sunday in June, Michigan holds an annual statewide log cabin festival. Beginning in 1987, Michigan Governor James Blanchard designated and signed into the Statutes of Michigan that "The last Sunday of June each year shall be known as 'Log Cabin Day.'"
There are hundreds of log cabins throughout the State, with a number of them built before 1840 (Michigan became a state in 1837), and throughout our 'mitten' there are celebrations from historical societies giving tours, showing historical crafts, and giving history lessons of the area in which the cabin still stands. In fact, the day after participating at Waterloo, my wife donned her period clothing once again and went north to Richmond, Michigan, and helped them to teach about the past with her spinning presentation.
Since its inception, Log Cabin Day has grown, in some circles, from the last Sunday in June to the last full weekend in June.
Waterloo has a log cabin on the grounds of their farm, though, unlike the house, it is not an ancient one from the 19th century. It, instead, is a replica built in 1976 of a 'typical' log home to give visitors an idea of what the original owners of the land and farm lived in before building the beautiful farm house (which is original). The cabin is a faithful representation of one from the long past and gives the visitor a very good idea of how our pioneer Michigan ancestors lived upon settlement here.
The log cabin which sits on the property of Waterloo Farm Museum.

No, Kristen was not with us on this day - this picture was taken in 2013. I just realized I have no photos showing the opposite side of the cabin except for this one. I want to show that there are indeed windows in this log house. I suppose having lovely young ladies can only enhance a photo, right Kris?

On this day, being that it was so cold and damp, I found a few Civil War-era soldiers sitting by the hearth to warm their bones.

My son Rob uses a period-correct straight razor to torture himself. Actually, that's not true: he learned from one who knows how to use one and does a very good job at giving himself a shave.

The inside of the cabin gives off a very impressive authentic look of 19th century living.

This young man sits upon a ladder to the loft where his bed is located.

Sitting in the cabin, staring out the window, and seeing a couple of horses and riders going by...yeah...life is good.

Upon seeing someone happen by on a horse, I jumped at the chance to get on one myself. My wife and I took riding lessons years ago, so I know how to handle a horse pretty well.

Each horse is different (obviously), and the most important thing for a rider to know when straddling a horse that you've never ridden are the signals and sounds that they are used to, and the owners gave me direction to help control the beautiful animal.

My daughter (taking the pictures) had never seen me on a horse before and had concerns, but she saw that I knew what to do as the owner directed the orders to me. Given a bit more time to learn his ways, I probably would have been able to take him for a ride. 
By the way, period clothing while on a horse - that was cool!

My son Miles: he's never been on a horse and would probably never give it a try, but he certainly loves the animals. He loves all animals.

The look on his face says it all: "I got this - it's all good!"

To me there is never a bad reenactment, no matter the weather; any opportunity I have to wear period clothing and present at a historical place is better than the alternative.
Believe it or not, I have had people tell me (especially very recently) that I need to stop "living in the past" and "accept the future."
To these people I say, "Do not presume you know me. Go back to your bars and unicorns.
I'm happy right where I'm at."

Until next time, see you in time.


1 comment:

Gina @ VictorianWannaBe said...

Oh I love it all, the antique furnishings are always so wonderful to look at, and seeing everyone in period clothing really sets the scene. Just perfect! Thanks for always sharing this with us.
Have a wonderful rest of your week!