And, except for the 4th of July, to me it's the most historical.
Think about it - - - this is when all of the modern folk go to the cider mill every September and October, following in the steps of our ancestors, who also visited mills or may have had mills of their own and pressed apples into cider at their homestead.
So to visit the mills the way 21st century people do today is carrying on an age-old tradition.
Okay, I'll grant you the way most of the cider mills are set up today would not be familiar at all to those from long past times: mechanical singing hillbilly bears, mechanical skeletons sitting on the toilet in an out house telling awful jokes, bounce houses, haunted houses, and train rides, among other kid-friendly things, were obviously not around in the old days.
Nonetheless, it's the apples, cider, and doughnuts that are the biggest draw, and literally thousands of visitors travel to countless cider mills that dot the Michigan countryside every weekend from early September through early November. In fact, I believe Michigan is one of the top states in the country for cider mills.
Yet, as my description of many modern cider mills shows, most of the history is gone from the majority of these mills.
But that's where Greenfield Village steps in and celebrates this historically wonderful time of year in a historically accurate way!
Naturally, I visited while in period clothing so I could kind of place myself in some of the scenarios going on.
So...for the first part of this week's post, I thought I'd show you a few of my "then" pictures followed by a few of the "now" shots taken of our recent orchard visit.
Hope you all enjoy them:
|Welcome to the past...|
|Beer making in 1760.|
Yep - that's me, 2nd from right, stirring the hops.
Roy, the gentleman to my right (in the large brimmed hat) is not only a master presenter at Greenfield Village, but a master brewer as well, and he does things the colonial way.
|Here's a more 'formal' picture of Gigi & I.|
I love natural light imaging above all others.
|Over at the Giddings House, which was built roughly around the same time as the Daggett House, the servant girl was cooking with chocolate|
|Taking a rest...|
I am actually in a home built in the early 19th century here and presented as a home of 1915, but, one cannot tell by the surroundings, so the picture works rather well as a colonial piece, don't you think?
One of the 1812 reenactors brought a flail with them to show how wheat was threshed in the days before the threshing machine. Naturally, I asked if he minded me trying my hand at threshing.
He graciously gave me a quick lesson on how to hold and work the contraption (it is a sort of agricultural art), and, well, the pictures herein tell the rest of the story:
|Flails would be used to separate the kernels from the plant (or wheat from the chaff).|
|To flail, one stick is held and swung, causing the other to strike a pile of grain, loosening the husks.|
|With a flail, one man could thresh 7 bushels of wheat in a day.|
|Taking the grain to the mill to be ground into flour.|
|Yours truly on the farm ~|
|It's a rare occasion to have a McGuffey Cabin presenter cooking over the hearth and speaking to visitors. Fortunately for us, this takes place during the fall harvest weekends.|
|Continuing my walk into the future on an early autumn day...|
|"Hey! Aren't you supposed to be a farmer?"|
"Hey! Aren't you Sybil Ludington, the female Paul Revere?"
Oh my...the time-space continuum is all awry!
|Greenfield Village presenter (and 21st Michigan Civil War reenactor) Jillian very willingly posed for me here inside the Ford Home Kitchen to allow the fall splendor to shine through the back ground.|
|Meanwhile, in the cellar of the 1880s Firestone Farm, the ladies are making up a batch of sauerkraut.|
|In fact, during the harvest weekends, Firestone Farm presenters give a tour of their heirloom apple orchards to visitors, telling the history of the apples mentioned in the previous picture.|
Jumping up a few years...
|Inside the Edison House it is 1915, and by this time in our nation's history, Hallowe'en was becoming more of the holiday that we know it to be.|
|The Mattox House is one of the tributes Henry Ford had made to African American history, showing southern life of black families in the south in the 1930s.|
|Mama Jean: a true gem|
|This is just me trying to be "artsy" in front of the Mattox House.|
|Though I was dressed in my 1770s clothing, April had worn a style that, even though it was more 1960s, it reminded me of the 1920s or 1930s. She fit right into the scene here.|
But I also love celebrating Autumn...NOW:
Yes, we ---ZAP!!--- suddenly find ourselves back to the future...to 2016.
And just like I mentioned at the top of this posting, my family and I are but a few of the thousands who visit a cider mill and apple orchard during the fall weekends. Only, instead of patronizing those mills that have singing hillbilly bears and skeletons on the toilet telling bad jokes, we go to an orchard & mill where we can pick our own apples, buy cider & doughnuts, and maybe climb a haystack.
The no-frills-variety of mills.
Not quite like the kind our ancestors used to know, but rustic enough to have a sense of history.
|Here I am in the 21st century.|
And that's my grandson in the crate!
Pickin's are good this year!
|A tractor ride out to the apple orchards|
|There's my wife...picking the more contemporary Jonathon apples|
|My grandson, Ben, and I. This just might have been Ben's first time ever picking an apple off the tree!|
|In the crate it goes...Nonna's going to make apple pie with them!|
|My daughter enjoys climbing the trees to reach the apples.|
|No apple shortage here!|
|That's Ben on the right and his cousin, Hank (my grandnephew) on the left.|
Yes, they're in the tree as well.
|Raspberry bushes! We had to pick (and eat!) a few raspberries as well.|
|Our crate of apples. They make the kitchen smell great!|
And soon...a pie to make the entire house smell wonderfull!
There you have our celebrations of harvest time, past and present.
Well...part of our celebrations...the civilians of the Civil War reenacting group I am with - the 21st Michigan - also puts on a fall harvest presentation as well.
Check out the links below to see what we've done in previous years.
Anyhow, once again, I hope you've enjoyed my little excursion here.
Until next time, see you in time.
To learn about harvest history, click HERE
To learn about the history of apples in America, click HERE
To learn about a colonial harvest, click HERE
To read about our 1860s harvest celebration, click HERE
To learn about food preservation & cooking in the 18th century, click HERE
To learn about dipping candles, click HERE