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.