Saturday, October 22, 2011
I Want to Live Here
Every year we look forward to Deutsch Country Days in Marthasville, MO where volunteers reenact 1800s life in this German settlement. In addition there is now a 1700s section, The Osage Trail, dedicated to the Osage Indians that populated the area at the time. Exhibits include fur trappers, bow making and various type of shelter from teepees to earthen homes.
They demonstrate the spinning and dying of yarn. (I want to do this)
The lanes are lined with crafting shops- pipe making, wood turning, brewers of root beer, candle dipping, cross cut sawing, scrimshaw- on and on. Many are hands on, child and adult alike. On a corner here and there might be penny whistle players or a guitar and hammered dulcimer duo playing joyful waltzes to sad, mournful tunes.
A rainbow of colors, these hand made brooms line up awaiting the journey to their new homes.
The mule powered sorghum press is quite an attraction. Visitors line up as the sorghum is boiled and poured into crocks for sampling. Go over to the general store and try a sample or two of sorghum puffs too-some are chocolate covered! Delicious.
Thirsty? Then come over to the apple press for a sweet drink. You can walk away with apple butter, jellies, candies, cookbooks and of course pretty souvenirs of your day.
The barn yard offers visitors a chance to interact with cows, goats, chickens and pigs. The goats stole the show, of course.
The beautiful woven beehive trio sits on display and not for sale. At the time the settlers would use a basket to entice a swarm of bees; however, to extract the honey they would need to destroy the hive which also destroyed the bees. They discovered that by stacking the baskets, the bottom two having holes on top, would act similar to a modern day super so they could extract only the honey leaving the bees in the other chamber. These are not the preferred method of beekeeping but demonstrates how the settlers lived.
A Missouri beekeeper association member, along with they Honey Queen, was on hand to demonstrate modern beekeeping plus selling wonderful jars of honey, honey straws flavored with peach, cinnamon or other tempting flavors, candles, cookbooks and of course wax. I purchase my honey a bit closer to home for the allergen benefit but did partake in some honey straws, a turned dipper and some wax.
The Osage Trail section was high up the hill, a little challenging for me on the way down due to knee problems. The Fur Trappers would demonstrate the techniques of trapping and tanning hides. Knife makers, bow making, mud baking ovens, flutes and flintnappers were sprinkled about. You could try your hand at tomahawk throwing and making fire starters from charred cloth.
Taylor has claimed her room- one with a view!
We tracked back to the wash building and kitchen demonstrations (see my earlier post on Janet Hurst cheesemaker)where the children could try using the hand agitated washer. My nephew was wringing out the wet fabric, granddaughter Taylor awaiting her turn. How wonderful it would be if all the children lined up to try these chores would be that eager with today's chores!
Soon it was time to say goodbye to the steam powered saw mill, the soap makers, corn husk dolls, needle crafters and life that looks good to me. We'll be waiting for next year.
Their next project is the Timber Frame Barn Project that, according to their website:
"The "Barn Center" will accommodate one hundred guests for meetings, banquets, overnight stays or receptions with full kitchen facilities, as well as antique shows, art and music exhibitions. An elevator services all three levels to provide disable access."
Their Heritage Foundation:
"Through the gifting of the Hostkoetter Family, the Luxenhaus Farm German Heritage Foundation, the University of Missouri-St. Louis, projects a teaching facility enabling year-round access for an educational, hands-on working farm during the homesteading period of German America."
They also offer classes (folk art link) for beginning blacksmithing, bowl turning, dulcimers, tin smithing, scherinschnitte (intricate paper cutting), basket weaving and woodcarving among others.
I want to live here.