Friday, October 31, 2008


Some of you in our area may have felt the slight rumblings of minor earthquakes last night. Earthquakes? In Texas?

This phenomenon is actually more common than you think here in the Lone Star State. According to the Handbook of Texas Online, "between 1847 and 1994 there were more than 110 recorded earthquakes of magnitude three or greater in Texas."

You can find more information about earthquakes here...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's almost cold and flu season...

So you may want to follow some of the advice found here...

This blog entry comes from a neat project being currently undertaken by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. They received a 2-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to process the papers of the Chew family. The resulting blog highlighting the process is both entertaining and enlightening, offering a fascinating glimpse into one family's personal history.

Check it out!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Another interesting tidbit from "Texas Day by Day"

On this day in 1845, two pioneer German-Texans, Friedrich Wilhelm von Wrede Sr. and Oscar von Claren, were killed and scalped by Indians at a place referred to as Live Oak Spring, ten to twelve miles from Austin, probably near Manchaca Springs. Wrede made an initial trip to Texas in 1837 and traveled and made notes of his observations in America. He returned to Germany in 1843 and compiled and published Lebensbilder aus den vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerika und Texas (1844). Wrede's travel book is a generally realistic account of the opportunities and difficulties of colonists on the American frontier, especially in Texas. The book helped to influence prospective German settlers to come to Texas, despite the negative effect of Wrede's own violent death in Texas the following year. Wrede returned to Texas in 1844 as an official of the Adelsverein. His companion in death, Oscar von Claren, immigrated from Hannover to New Braunfels, Texas, probably early in 1845. His family correspondence indicated his interest in the botany and wildlife of the New Braunfels area, and he collected turtles and snakes to sell to naturalists in Germany. He wrote Indianer bei Neu Braunfels im Jahre 1845 (1845), a group of essays depicting Texas Indians. The two authors were buried at the site of the massacre by United States soldiers, who gave them military honors. Wrede's son, Friedrich Wilhelm von Wrede Jr., settled in Fredericksburg but returned to Germany after the Civil War.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Jeepers Reapers! we had a great time this past Saturday!

Well once again we had a great turnout for our monthly special event this past Saturday. Visitors were able to help us thresh and winnow wheat; shell, grind, and press tortillas from corn; stuff pillows with corn husks; create bean bracelets; and see the blacksmith, candlemaker, and miller at work!

For your viewing pleasure, here is a video demonstrating the corn sheller and a slideshow of images from the day. You can click on the slideshow to enlarge the images and control the speed. You should be able to enlarge the video as well. We hope to see you here next month!

Be watching the blog within the next couple of weeks for a demo on how to make corn husk dolls as well...

Using a corn sheller at Log Cabin Village--Fort Worth, TX from logcabinvillage on Vimeo.

Friday, October 17, 2008

When educators mess up...

Did the title get your attention? Hope so...because THIS is a funny story. I was all excited about our upcoming event...all about harvest and fall schtuff. I came across a fantastic recipe for butternut squash ink. What could be more perfect! It's fall...there are butternut squashes EVERYWHERE...and what kid (or adult) wouldn't enjoy practicing their letters with butternut squash ink!

Except that the recipe is for butternut ink. No squash. Just nut hulls. Like walnut hulls. Color (or rather "un"color) me embarrassed.

Wanting to save face and to test the plausibility of actually creating butternut squash ink, I tried this project yesterday. It was not successful. You all saw that one coming, didn't you? I did, however, succeed in making a beautiful butternut squash dye--about 2 tablespoons worth.

The moral of the story? READ CAREFULLY...and have fun with your mistakes...

Enjoy a slideshow of the experiment! You can click on the slideshow for larger images and to control the speed...

Hope to see you here tomorrow! ink. :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The election that wasn't... least "wasn't" for Texas. Did you know that Texas was not allowed to vote in the 1868 presidential election, having not been readmitted to the Union after secession during the Civil War? Apparently this first Reconstruction election was somewhat contentious...

What a different 140 years makes!

In 1868, as it would be for the next several elections, the main issue was the Civil War and its aftermath. In the years before this election, President Andrew Johnson drew the wrath of the Radical Republican Congress in his attempts to bring the rebellious southern states back into the Union fold as quickly and as painlessly as possible. His political opponents felt that the South should be punished for their actions. The President and Congress clashed often. Johnson vetoed 28 bills during his tenure; Congress was able to override a record 15 of them (in contrast, FDR vetoed 635 bills; only 9 were overridden). Early in 1868, after Johnson ignored a law Congress had passed over his veto that would have required him to get Congressional consent before removing his Secretary of War, the House of Representatives impeached the President. He was aquitted in a Senate trial by only one vote. The Radical Republicans were able to set up a legislative agenda that, among other things, stripped the state governments of the southern states and replaced them with military districts, disenfranchised most white citizens who had supported the Confederacy, and gave thousands of former slaves the right to vote. For a while, blacks in the south with the right to vote actually outnumbered whites allowed to vote there. A fringe benefit (if not the main purpose) of these objectives gave Republicans a major stronghold in the South that would take years to erode. (

Thursday, October 2, 2008

October events...

Have you recovered from Harvest Homecoming? It's time for more fun!

Friday, October 17, 2008: TIMBER TALES STORYTIME --10:00—11:00 a.m.

Featured story: Anansi Does the Impossible: An Ashanti Tale retold by Verna Aardema. The adventures of Anansi the spider continue with this delightful tale from our West African ancestors about securing folktales for the people. $3 fee includes a story, fun activities, and a craft, all geared towards 3-5 year olds. Please call 817-392-6769 to make your reservation (required).

Saturday, October 18, 2008: JEEPERS REAPERS!--1:00—4:00 p.m.

We just celebrated Harvest Homecoming, but now it’s time to reap what we’ve sown! Experience grinding corn and wheat by hand, experimenting with squash, and using corn husks to stuff mattresses and to make placemats! From grain and grist to bread and toys, we’ll have it all...and you’ll help! No reservations required. Cost is regular Village admission plus a $2 craft fee to make a corn and seed necklace.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Recent fun in Waxahachie...

Our neighbors in Ellis County, TX, recently had a big event of their own! While we were busy with Harvest Homecoming, they hosted Texana: A Texas State of Mind.

Here are some neat videos of Caddo dances from the Blog for Ellis County Texas History.