Tuesday, April 29, 2008

If I could go from Logs to Riches...

Mark your calendars! It's almost time for our May events!

Friday, May 16, 2008: Timber Tales Storytime Log Cabin Village, 2100 Log Cabin Village Lane, Fort Worth. 817.392.5881. http://www.logcabinvillage.org/. 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. $3.00 for participating children, $2.00 for adults. Featured story: Henry Builds a Cabin by D.B. Johnson. Bring your 3-5 year old to the Village for an exciting step back into the world of 1800s Texas! Little "Villagers" can don bonnets, aprons, and vests as they gather 'round to hear stories of days gone by. $3 fee includes a story, fun activities, and a craft. Please call 817-392-6769 to make your reservation (required).

Saturday, May 17, 2008: From Logs to Riches Log Cabin Village, 2100 Log Cabin Village Lane, Fort Worth. 817.392.5881. http://www.logcabinvillage.org/. 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. $3.00 for ages 4-17 and seniors, $3.50 for ages 18 and up, 3 and under free ($2 additional charge to make craft). Can you tell a wickiup from a grass hut? Do you know what “half dovetail notch” means? Have you ever used the phrase “central hall construction”...and meant it? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then this day is for you. Learn about the types of homes that Texans built in the 1800s, see log hewing demonstrations, and build your own craft to take home. No reservations required. Cost is regular Village admission plus a $2 craft fee.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Reminders...we need you!

Have you noticed the cool links on the right side of the page? We hope you have...and we hope you'll use them!

If you have visited us recently, please take a moment to complete one of our surveys (either the "Group tour" or "General Visitor"). Your comments help us improve the visitor experience for ALL our patrons.

Also...remember that you can help us out just by shopping! Put that economic stimulus check to good use...and raise money for Log Cabin Village to boot!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Pioneer Times Innovation Awards Grand Prize Winner!

Log Cabin Village and the Log Cabin Heritage Foundation would like to congratulate grand prize winner Angel Escobar!

Every 4th grade class who visits Log Cabin Village is eligible to enter the Pioneer Times Innovation Awards contest. Entrants are instructed to select from one of the following prompts:

· Students may design their own dream log cabin. This cabin can be as creative and contain as many amenities (historical, not modern—No GameCubes or Satellite dishes!) as the student desires. As the students imagine their dream cabin, have them consider what might make their lives easier or be useful in their small home based on their experience at Log Cabin Village.

· Based on what they learned about frontier living during their visit to Log Cabin Village, students may create an invention that would have made life easier in the 19th century. This invention does not need to be completely grounded in reality; the more fanciful the better (i.e. an automatic chalk-picker-upper for the school)! While it is okay for students’ inventions to be something that actually exists, the design MAY NOT exactly duplicate modern devices (i.e. drawing a Maytag washing machine). The design needs to be original!

Angel's innovative "heated floor" design won him $1100 in savings bonds and the respect of all his peers. His entry beat out over 400 other extremely qualified candidates! Great job, Angel!

Ms. Linda Taylor, Angel's homeroom teacher at Chisholm Ridge Elementary, Angel, and Log Cabin Village Director, Kelli Pickard

Angel's prize-winning entry:

"My invention would be a heated floor. You could fill holes that were underground with hot coal or wood. You put the coal under a space in the floor. The floor would be made of slate. Slate is a rock that holds heat. The coal or wood could warm the log cabin floors in the winter. Then in the summer you could put cool water from the river in the hole to cool the slate floors down. That is my 1800s invention. I hope that if the 1800s pioneers were here that they would use it."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"It Belongs in a Museum!" How to donate artifacts to Log Cabin Village

Do you have an heirloom that you feel should be in a museum? Would you like to see an object that you presently own preserved for posterity? If you do, you may consider donating them to Log Cabin Village. From furniture to textiles to tools, the museum is home to many everyday artifacts that provide us with a fascinating glimpse at nineteenth century Texas life.

The museum also has an archival collection of letters, photographs, and other nineteenth century documents. So how did the museum acquire all these wonderful collections? Mostly, through individual donations from individuals and families!

If you do have an object that you would like to donate, first ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the object from within the time period the Village interprets (1840 through 1890). Objects dating earlier than 1840 may be appropriate if they were still in use during this time period.

  • Is the object relevant to Texas history?

  • Does the object have a recorded history or provenance? In other words, can you determine who used it, for how long and for what?

  • Is the object in good condition?

If you answered yes to all these questions, your object may be a good candidate for donation to the museum! If you would like to discuss the possibility, contact us. The museum will then determine acceptance based on the factors above as well as whether the museum has any foreseeable use for the object, if the museum has excessive objects similar to that one, and whether the museum can properly care for the object. Who knows, that wedding dress that your great-great grandma wore can indeed become a museum piece!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Just like the old days...

A power outage at the Village today afforded us the rare opportunity to show folks what it was really like "back then." The cabins looked much different dimly illuminated by natural light. Our school groups LOVED the experience--they didn't want to leave.

Life without electric light, while annoying at times, is also strangely peaceful.

Here are a couple of videos illustrating the importance of windows and natural light to those living without electricity. Pardon the quality of the video...it's a little rocky (hence the reason I'm an educator, not a filmaker :) )...

The first video is from our Marine School...a place with a lot of windows...

The second is from the Seela hands-on cabin. No window...but a lot of darkness.


Power outage at Log Cabin Village, Fort Worth, TX--Marine School from logcabinvillage on Vimeo.

Power outage at Log Cabin Village, Fort Worth, TX--Seela hands-on cabin from logcabinvillage on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sleep tight?

Even though the whole "sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite" saying more than likely doesn't originate with the rope bed, being comfortable certainly did mean that you needed to tighten the ropes now and again.

We have a rope bed here in our hands-on cabin...and today was rope-tightening time! So if you've never understood how a rope bed works...watch and learn...

Tightening the Rope Bed at Log Cabin Village, Fort Worth, TX from logcabinvillage on Vimeo.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Busy weekend!

We've had a lot going on at Log Cabin Village the past few days! We had Timber Tales Preschool Storytime on Friday, "Thyme for a Cure" and our Pioneer Times Innovation Awards Ceremony on Saturday, and Wichita Bob on Sunday! Wow!

Be watching the blog throughout the year for entries from our Innovation Awards winners. Photos and details about Saturday's ceremony are coming soon!!!!

Thanks for your continued support...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

New look for our Log Blog...

What do you think? (come visit our home page if you're getting this via e-mail or in a reader. Don't forget to refresh the page!)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thyme for healing...

Note: the information provided here is for educational purposes only. Before using any plants and their derivatives, you should seek the advice and training of a qualified professional and your personal physician.

Okay...now that the disclaimer is out of the way...let's talk herbs. We have a wonderful herb garden here at the Village, and an even MORE WONDERFUL group of people who manage it: The Greater Fort Worth Herb Society. Why herbs at a frontier Texas living history museum, you ask? Herbs played very important roles in the lives of our ancestors. Early Texans used them for cooking, cleaning, and healing. Although we are still unraveling the mystery of "natural" healing, we can acknowledge that the pioneers were definitely on to something.

We love the annual "Thyme for a Cure" event for a few reasons. It gives us a chance to collaborate with our Herb Society volunteers and highlight their hard work. It allows us to illustrate different aspects of health and medicine. And finally (and perhaps most importantly), it gives us the opportunity to make all sorts of goofy puns using the word "thyme" (this is second only to the pun chances with "corn" and "Maize Days" in the fall).

Just for fun, here's a list of herbs and other plants early Texans may have used (and why) in everyday life:

Lamb’s Ear (aka "woundwort") – may have been used as a bandage

Lemon Balm – This herb was used to make tea, and the leaves were put in bath water. Pioneers also chewed the leaves to help get rid of a headache. Insomnia, bacterial infections, cold sores, calms nerves

Feverfew—fever—Native Americans used it for burns

Artemisia (Wormwood) —“mountain” fever

Lemon Verbena—well-being/love (aromatherapy), tea, lemonade

Lemon Balm--sedative, inhibit growth of fungi and bacteria

Rosemary – Pioneers burned the plant to make the air smell nice, and to keep the bugs away, nervousness

Mint – This herb was used in cooking, and to make tea. Pioneers also chewed on the leaves to cure bad breath. They also thought it could cure hiccups, upset stomach.

Oregano – Pioneers used this herb in their bath, to make tea, and they made it into a lotion that they used for pain and swelling.

Sage—cough and cold, upset stomach

Cat Mint – Today called “Catnip,” the dry leaves of this herb were burned to put a calming scent in the air, fever, babies with colic or colds

Lavender – Pioneers would rub the leaves on their body to keep the bugs away. They also used it to make tea to soothe headaches and make their breath smell nice.



Parsley—upset stomach, diuretic, vitamin C

Tansy—vegetable dye, leaves collected for food

Thyme--deodorant, local anesthetic, antiseptic

Skullcap—relaxation, exhaustion

Trumpet vine--Brought from the East Coast and grown for home beautification

Hollyhock--Cultivated for home beautification

Clove Currant--Fruit and leaves collected for food

Soapwort--Leaves and stems collected for making soap

Wild Onion--Leaves and bulbs collected for food

Prairie Sage--Leaves collected for making tea

Mexican Plum--Fruit collected for food

Crested Iris--Collected and grown for ornamental value

Wild Ginger--Roots collected and used for seasoning

Passion Vine--Fruit collected for food

Harison’s Yellow Rose--Brought from the East Coast and grown for home beautification

Butterfly Weed--Roots collected for food

Sassafras--Roots and bark collected for making tea

Beebalm--Leaves collected and used for seasoning

Wild Garlic--Roots collected and used for seasoning

Redbud--Native tree grown for home beautification

Blackberry--Fruit collected for food

Wild Plum--Fruit collected for food

Yucca--Roots collected and used for making soap

Sunflower--Seeds collected for food

Horseradish--Roots collected for food

Links to more information...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Storm Damage...

As storms rumbled through North Texas early this morning, many folks in our area found themselves without power and greeted by large limbs scattered everywhere.

Here at Log Cabin Village, we were pretty lucky. We do have some limbs down (and Bobo Woods across the street has A LOT of limbs down), but we still have power and none of the cabins were damaged.

We hope all our friends and neighbors are okay as well!

Here's a slideshow with some photos taken this morning...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Pioneers were "green" before "green" was cool!

Since we celebrate both Earth Day and Arbor Day this month, I decided that it might be nice to recognize our ancestors and their "green" ways! They were earth-friendly out of necessity, but you can follow some of their ways of life, learn a little, and make a big positive impact on the earth!

Here are a few ways that 19th century Texans were "Green:"

1. Because of distance from supply lines, our ancestors were often quite self-sufficient. They used local merchandise, grew their own vegetables and grains, and ate what was "in season." Eating "in season" and buying local can benefit us now, also! Your produce travels an average of 1500 miles before it gets to your table. This means that vitamins and taste are sacrificed, and lots of fuel is burned in the process.

What you can do: Try to buy local whenever possible. Support your friends and neighbors. Or grow your own fruits and vegetables! Go organic if you can... Check out gotexan.org or your local extension office for more local information...

2. Our ancestors were recyclers! Leftover dish water was used to irrigate the garden. Clothes were handed down, stitched up, patched, and eventually shredded into rags to use for quilts, rugs and other necessary items. Beef tallow was made into candles. You get the picture!

What you can do: Participate in your local recycling program. Donate your gently used toys and clothes to local charities. Reduce your overall "consumption" so that there's less to recycle!

3. Waste not, want not was a way of life for our ancestors. Our Native American ancestors used every part of the bison when they killed it. Non-edible parts of vegetables were composted into mulch to naturally fertilize gardens. Tools, implements, and furniture were repaired rather than repurchased when they broke. Parts of the corn plant were used for everything from back scratchers (corn cobs) to mattress stuffing (corn husks)!

What you can do: Do some composting of your own! Buy only the food you need and be sure to eat/freeze all of it (and eat your leftovers). Repair things around your house rather than discarding broken items to purchase new. Get creative with ways to repurpose common things! Make "throwing away" your last and final option...

4. Our ancestors didn't use disposable cups, plates, utensils, sippies, paper, bags, etc. They used slates for school (paper was too expensive to be "wasted"). They washed and reused their tableware. They used fabric tablecloths.

What you can do: Just say "NO" to disposable unless absolutely necessary. Use your paper sparingly, and use the back side of discarded paper as "scratch" paper. Carry your own water bottle rather than drinking from plastic. Take your own bags to the grocery store. If you really need to use disposable tableware, try eco-friendly options like these or these.

5. Early to bed...early to rise. Yep...our ancestors followed the sun when they set their workday. Candles and lamp oil were in limited supply, so in general, 19th century families were up with the sun, and in bed when the sun went down. They took advantage of natural light so that they could make the most of their limited resources.

What you can do: Take advantage of natural light as much as possible. Turn lights off when you leave a room. Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents when possible. Unplug appliances that are not in use to prevent the "phantom load" phenomenon.

6. Our ancestors didn't have "digital waste." Period. What I mean by "digital waste" is that they didn't have computer monitors, televisions, stereos, mp3 players, and other electronic items with potentially dangerous components that they needed to dispose of.

What you can do: If there's anything we currently excel at, it's coming up with tons of "digital waste." So how can we safely dispose of it? First, if your item still works or only needs minor repair, you might try freecycling it. Perhaps someone else can bring it to life! You can also check with your local Environmental Management agency. In Fort Worth, you can contact them here. Many computer companies will take your old computers back, so investigate those options before you buy new, and support those companies with recycling programs! Encourage television manufacturers to help further recycling efforts as well!

7. Our ancestors built their homes with nature in mind. They took advantage of natural shade, they situated their homes so that breezes would run through "dogtrots," and they used natural light. They also used local, earth-friendly materials.

What you can do: If you are building a home, keep nature in mind. Contact local agencies to help you determine how your home can be more "green." In Texas, find out more information here.

These are just a few ideas. From your experiences with Log Cabin Village and life on the Texas frontier, what else can you think of? Leave us some comments with your thoughts...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thirteen things to look for when you visit...

It's time for another "Thursday 13!" May we present...Thirteen things to look for when you visit Log Cabin Village!

Handcrank blower

Map of the United States and Mexico in 1847

Charlie the cat

Dry sink

Two-faced doll

Wagon Wheel

Candle lantern

Metate y mano (mortar and pestle)


Firepit for cooking

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Almost Thyme for our April events!!!

Friday, April 18, 2008: Timber Tales Preschool Storytime Log Cabin Village, 2100 Log Cabin Village Lane, Fort Worth. 817.392.5881. http://www.logcabinvillage.org/. 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. $3.00 for participating children, $2.00 for adults. Featured stories: The Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomie de Paola. Bring your 3-5 year old to the Village for an exciting step back into the world of 1800s Texas! Little "Villagers" can don bonnets, aprons, and vests as they gather 'round to hear stories of days gone by. Fee includes a preschool story, fun activities, and a craft. Please call 817-392-6769 to make your reservation (required).

Saturday, April 19, 2008: Thyme for a Cure? Log Cabin Village, 2100 Log Cabin Village Lane, Fort Worth. 817.392.5881. http://www.logcabinvillage.org/. 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. $3.00 for ages 4-17 and seniors, $3.50 for ages 18 and up, 3 and under free ($2 additional charge to make craft). Herbs and flowering plants were an important part of life in the 1800s. Visit with members of the Greater Fort Worth Herb Society, identify some basic herbs in our herb garden, and learn how herbs were used to treat illness, hygiene, cooking, and more. Find out about 19th century medicine, experiment with planting, smell herbs as they season old-fashioned recipes, and make your own flor de papel (paper flower). No reservations required.