Mountah Ash's Musings

The musings of a chronically ill girl named after a tree.

(Comments are virtual hugs. Please leave me some.)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Second day at the village

I was the only intern in today, and I was in Freeman farm in the morning, and the Dye station in the afternoon. Gloria was in the Parlor all day, and I was working in the kitchens with Victoria. We made Codfish Balls. Which sounds really odd, but according to the farmers, taste good. What they are, is Codfish, flaked into mashed potatoes, and fried in butter. We were interpreting a breakfast, so we made the codfish balls, and also some coffee.

I was grinding coffee for most of the morning, and whenever a kid came in, I would ask them if they wanted to try. It works quite well to get things done faster. I also roasted some coffee beans, in the roaster. Its like this small round metal tin on a metal stick. The bottom of the stick is placed in hot coals that you take out of the fire, and then you constantly rotate it so the coals heat the metal tin and roast the beans. When you would get them from the store, they were still the green coffee beans that you would get if you were to roast your own at home now. The longer you roasted them, the less caffeine there would be in them. Pretty cool fact I thought.

Okay so, how the codfish balls are made. We took the dried, smoked codfish, and soaked it in water overnight to rehydrate it. Now, the cool thing about the dried smoked fish is, you could rehydrate it 50 years later, and it would still be fine. I found that cool anyway. And so then, you take the rehydrated cod, and place it in a dish full of water, and place that dish on a trivet. If you don’t know, a trivet is kind of like a burner on your stove, but only the metal part. And you take that metal part, and place it on a bed of hot coals that you removed from the fire. Every once and a while you change out the water, to get the excess salt away, and replace the coals.

While that was happening, we mashed some potatoes. When the cod was done, and the potatoes were mashed, I had to go through the cod, and flake it, and take out all the bones. (Needless to say, my hands smelled like cod for the whole day.) Then, some of the cod was placed in some mashed potato, and formed into balls, and fried in butter over the fire. The farmers seemed to think it was quite good. When the first few were done, it was 12, so I headed off to “Visit Mrs. Bullard”. Aka, take lunch. It’s a bit of a long walk, especially when you are on your own. Also, my straw bonnet, just loves to catch the wind and choke me. But that is not an important fact. Haha

When my lunch was over, I headed off to the dye station. The two collage interns that were there, were named Laurel, and Sydney. ( Forgive me if I have spelled your name wrong!!) The dye station has become one of my favorites. Ask me and I will give you my whole speech on the matter. (Not that you want to hear it...) We were dying pink wool, with cochineal beetles. Yes, they are real beetles. They are taken off of a cactus in Mexico, and they are able to make the pink dye, because they eat the pink fruit of a cactus. In the 1830’s we were trading with every country except Japan, because they would not let anything in or out of their country. We would buy it at our local store, so at OSV it would be the Asa Knight store. They were about $5 a pound, which, in the 1830’s was a bit expensive, so you would not have many pink things. The Cochineal beetles are actually used in some things today. Some lip glosses, and lipsticks and some Sports drinks have it. I believe Gatorade is one of them. The more common colors would be green or brown. Green would be made with sage, which was found commonly in your garden. And the Black Walnut would make brown. Its really is my favorite station, even if it is far too warm.

After a long day at the village, I got home, and changed quickly and went Kayaking with my Grandpa. We were fishing from them, but I was mostly paddling around. My Kayak did not seem to want to hold still. It never stopped moving, and always veered to the right. I ended up talking to it… I was singing to myself the whole time too. I am usually singing. If you cant hear me singing, know I am singing in my head. It was really nice. Grandpa showed me a beaver dam that was hidden in the reeds. The only down side of the trip, was when he was putting the Kayaks back on the truck, and there were a zillion mosquitoes. I actually got a bug bite right on my blister on my toe. That is sooo annoying. But that also, was a great day.

My first day at OSV

I was at Freeman farm all day my first day with another intern, Halie. She is one of the homeschooled ones. There is quite a lot to learn in the 4 main rooms. Fortunately, I am a quick learner. There were two staff people there, and then us two Jr. Interns. I was in the kitchen with one of the staff, Katie, (who I have been working with several times since) and we worked on a sponge cake. The other staff lady, Christie, knows a TON about freeman farm, and was with Halie in the parlor. Halie was working on a hexagon quilt, and Christie was knitting.
Katie did most of the interpreting for the first hour or so, until I got comfortable enough with what we were doing to tell people.

Once I started I was quite happy t o share the little I knew with everyone who would listen. Its just all so interesting. The sponge cake called for 12 eggs. Which, now, seems like a lot, but they would have had a ton of eggs because of their chickens, so it really was not that much. Katie and I took turns beating the eggs, and it took forever. Then we added the flour and things when the eggs had been whisked for about an hour. Yes, you read that right. It took about an hour to get it fluffy enough. The whisk is made of birch twigs tied together. We use birch because it is the only twig that will not add flavor to it. If we used maple, our food would have a taste of maple to it. Or if we used oak, it would taste of oak. And so on and so forth.

Now, Not only was paying attention to all this going on, but there were school children going around with clipboards. What they were doing, was a slavery petition to set them free. Katie did most of the talking for a while and I just listened to how she did it. It was very fun arguing with them and making them think. When we asked “Why?” Some would just say “It was wrong” and so we would say “Why is it wrong?” and make them think about it. One group said “Well they do the same things you guys do but” and Katie jumped in saying “Wait. They do the same things we do? Why are you not signing a petition to set us free?” and things like that. Some of the kids made interesting points. There were only 4 that made good enough arguments. Aka things besides “It was wrong they were not paid”. So I think I only signed like 3.

Around 12, Halie and I “Headed out to visit Mrs. Bullard” Which really is us going up to the staff area in Bullard Tavern for our lunch. We both had Freeman all day, so when we were done, we went back out. We were stopped several times on the way back for pictures and things, but we got there on time. If you have to be somewhere, you always leave a tad early, because you are almost always stopped for pictures or questions. Halie and I traded places, so I was sewing in the parlor, and she was in the kitchen with Katie. Christie had gone to lunch, so I was alone in the parlor for a while. Interpreting the parlor is interesting, because you are asked about the parlor, and also the rest of the house. I answered what I could, and when I did not know, I directed them to Katie, or when Christie was there, I directed them to her. It really depended on who was less busy.
The sponge cake came out wonderfully. It was nice and dense, and the frosting that Katie and Halie made was absolutely delicious. Consequently, the farmers thought so too. They heard that there would be sponge cake, so we pretty much got bombarded with Farmers looking for food. Haha It happens almost every day really. The village closes at 5, and seeming Freeman is at the furthest end of the village, we usually don’t have visitors there past 4. Then we start to clean up, and head home around 5. I had a wonderful first day, and, although I was wicked tired, I was also wicked happy. It had been a wonderful day.

OSV Traning day two

The internet is still down, and I figured it would be. It might not be on for a while. Forgive me if this is not the best or longest post, because I am wicked tired. Even though it is only about 7:40, I am just about ready to head to bed. So, this morning, Memere and Matante went to church, so Mom and Dad and Jenna (and consequently the kitten, Percy) dropped me off this morning. They all said goodbye to me, because they went home and are not going to come back until my internship is over. Although, I think Mom and Nana are coming up to visit me…

Anywho, I walked into the village with another girl who had just arrived. Check-in was done at Bullard Tavern, in the staff area. When that was all squared away, we were all waiting for Kim in the lounge type room and chatting and being odd. When Kim finished with what she was doing, we did a tour of the village, and learned what it would be like growing up there in the community, and how work would be with Kim. After that, we headed down to the Museum Education building and learned how to prepare a 19th century noon time meal.

At my station, with two others, we made Pounded cheese, and churned butter. Other stations were vegetables, pies, rolls, and things like that. When most of the work was done, I helped with the dishes. And let me tell you, dishes covered in butter, being washed in a small sink, tend to splash. Now, when they splash, not only do you get covered in water, but also butter. So as you can imagine, wearing brown might not have been the best idea ever. I was also covered in a bit of flour. So, not only did we get to cook a meal, we also got to eat it. Did you know they ate off of their knife? It was considered improper to eat with your fork, and also they were rather sharp. The knifes back then (mostly) had a little spoonish thing at the end and so it is not as hard as you would imagine. We also learned a bit more about family life while eating our dinner. (which is what the noon day mean was called. Lunch would be a snack in between meals)

Finishing that up, we put the dishes into the dishwasher (I know right? How modern!) and headed off to Freeman farm. We gave the buttermilk to the pigs, and they were quite happy with us. I saw an intern that I knew from summer camps, and she showed us all the kitchen gardens, and the smoke house. Freeman farm has always been one of my favorite places. As we walked from place to place, Kim would school us on communication skills, and costumer service. We got to take rides on the Stage coach, the carryall, and the river boat also, which was a treat. All the other Jr. Inters are so fun, its so easy to get along with them!!
We practiced with the games, like graces (with the two sticks, and the hoop and you make the hoop fly by uncrossing the sticks) and the other one with the large hoop, and you would use a stick, and make it roll. We did races with that, and it got crazy. It was wicked fun though. When the day was coming to an end, we watched the hot air balloon being set off, which was cool. Then we left. I am in freeman farm tomorrow with one of the homeschooled interns. I don’t know her very well yet, but she seems awesome. If it is not raining we might be in the kitchen garden, but most likely in the kitchens either way. So yes, that was our training. I may have left out a few details but like I said, I am tired. I am like trying to not fall asleep. But I might just give in and go lay down…

Oh! One last thing. I have two dresses because I will be at the village a lot. However, one of the dresses does not fit anymore. That makes no sense because I have lost weight since the fitting!! So I need to figure something out about that. Anywho, thanks for reading, have a great day and all that jazz. (haha this seems lame and tiny compared to my last post!! Ah well.  )

OSV Training Day one

I am writing this post on my laptop, on a word program. The tornado took out my Memere’s Phone and Internet, so this post might be a tad late in being posted.
The car ride up was uneventful, although Jenna did try to get as much annoying in as possible because I would be gone for 20 days. Silly thing. Anywho, Today was my first day of my training. I think it went quite well. I woke up at 7:00…Well I got up at 7. I woke up more like 5:40. When I did actually get out of bed, I got ready, by putting on my village shoes (which my Memere was kind enough to let me borrow) and eating breakfast. ( I needed to wear the shoes because of the costume shoot later, we did not need to be in our costumes yet)
Around 8 we got into the car, and we drove to the village. When we got there, we were about fifteen minutes early. There were two people already there, and thanks to prompting from my Memere, I soon found out their names. There are 12 people in my group including me, and 4 of us are homeschooled. I was sooo happy to find homeschoolers there besides me!! When Kim ( the intern director/ coordinator) arrived, we headed to the schoolhouse, to learn how to “Keep School”. We were almost through the lesson, when 3 little girls came in, and we got to test our teaching skills on them. After our School Keeping lesson, we walked/skipped/frolicked to the potters (which is really right across from the school house) and got our clay mugs. When we all had our mugs, we headed down to the mill pond, and learned how to teach fishing. I think one person caught two fish. The bread was VERY dry and crumbly, so it was quite hard to keep on the hook. We walked around the village a bit, and then headed off to the Staff Area of Bullard Tavern, to learn how to craft a hot air balloon. It was pretty cool, there are 6 sections that you glue together, and it…yea. Haha Its was really interesting. Taking a break to get our lunch, we headed down to the lunch area of Bullard Tavern, and ate our lunches as we chatted. I was talked to some girls about books we had read recently. One girl, had read most of the books I had, and loves the same kind. A homeschooler also. She was wicked cool. When lunch was finished, (we had about an hour in which to eat it) we hurried each other back up to the staff area of Bullard to continue our games training.
That day, there was an antique car show, so although we were supposed to get our Costumes at Fuller for the photo shoot on the Common, they were not leaving the common until 4:30, so we sat in the Towne House garden’s grape arbor for a while, and chatted, and discussed with Kim the proper way to act, and asked questions and things like that. When Kim told us that girls did not cross their legs back then because it was improper, all of the girls had to uncross their legs. It was so funny. Kind of a like it had be coordinated. We all changed the way we were sitting at the exact same time!! It seemed like 10 minutes but it had been like half an hour, so we were able to go get our costumes, even if it was a bit early. The girls changed in a big room downstairs and the guys upstairs. It was a little bit awkward, but we were all laughing and helping each other so it was not that bad. All the girls, when we had our bonnets on, were trying to go through doors, and forgetting about the large extension on our heads, and, consequently, smacking into door frames. We got used to it fairly quickly though. Its funny, because, although the girls costumes have buttons, the guys costumes, have by far the most buttons and fastens, so they take longer than the girls in getting dressed. So for once, the girls were waiting on the guys.
When we all had finished the laborious task of getting dressed in all our finery, we headed onto the common for our photo shoot. The camera man had us to a few different things. The 6 tallest of us, were told to stand shoulder to shoulder, and the 6 shorter, sat on a bench. Then we had to shuffle around a bit, but it worked out. Then, he had us all run towards the camera, In a slow, yet quick (if that makes any bit of sense) run. Then *dun dun dun daaaa* WE GOT TO HOLD A BABY SHEEP!!!!! It was like wicked light!!! And sooo freaking adorable. The little darling, tried to eat several of the girls dress collars though… When that was done, we were to “run the sheep” from one pen into another. Now, if you have never seen this before, it is not an easy task. The sheep do not like to be run. Aka controlled. Aka told what to do. And that is exactly what is happening. When you let them go on their own, they will go the way they are supposed to. But when they are told where to go with people standing there, they go the wrong way. We were set up in groups of threes along the way, kind of spread apart. I was in the first group, and they told us not to worry, the sheep would see us and move. Well…the camera man told us that. And a few others. Let me tell you, that is NOT what happened. See, I was standing next to a path, and the sheep decided to go onto that path…..Through the common…where we had just gotten all the visitors to stand on…I think I was able to make like 4 sheep go the right way, when all the other ones ran through the common. It was wicked funny, because all of us interns had to run around all the people, and most of the girl’s bonnets were being obstinate and not wanting to stay on our heads. It was interesting. The visitors seemed to think it was quite the show though, so hey its all cool. Then we all headed back and got into our street clothes. Huge difference let me tell ya. And that, was my first training day.

Of course, when I got home, the craziness continued. (No shock there, its my family) Jenna spend most of the car ride back to Memere’s making fun of my apparel. Both modern, and period clothes. Matante and Uncle Luke came over, and apparently we had to celebrate my birthday again because they were not there, and neither were Memere and Grandpa. So I got sung to, and of course I had to pretend like I did not care at all, so I examined my non-existent manicure, and tried not to laugh. Memere and Grandpa got me a TracFone!!! ( I laughed cause they spelled phone wrong…Haha) After dinner and dessert and all that jazz, we decided to play “win, loose, or draw” which, in case you were wondering, is a wicked fun game. There are a ton of random things that get said though. “don’t give the melting cupcake to the rainbow!!” was somehow gotten from someone trying to draw “Selling like hotcakes.” It gets quite insane. Alright, I think I should head off to bed. The time is 10:42, and I have to be up at around 7 if not before, so I will stop writing for tonight.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Internship, and baby chicks

Wow the past few weeks have just flown past! I am leaving for my internship tonight. I think I have like two days off. Haha. I am going to be "working" the entire time, exempt the weekends. I am so excited for this internship. Old Sturbridge Village is one of my favorite places in the whole world. I have practically grown up there. Or at least it feels that way. I have been going there since before I can remember. I cant wait. I will try to blog about it so all of you can share in my joy. Or for you to just read it and be like "Haha looser"...Although I dont know quite why you might think that. Either way, as long as you read it, I am happy. A few weeks ago, we got baby chicks. Mine is named Cassie. She is the only one who is not black and white. She is so adorable

She will sit on my shoulder while I am reading or on the computer, or just walking around. Anyway, I have to go for today, but I will try to blog soon. Have a great day!!