Thursday, May 31, 2012

Still time to sign up for Summer Camps!

Our camps are filling don't delay!

June 8, 20, or 27, 2012 (pick one only)
9 a.m.-noon
Be a 19th century Texan for a day! Wagons West is a program of hands-on activities recreating elements of a typical school-age child's day. The children wash clothes using a washboard and lye soap, card wool, grind corn by hand and weave on a child's scale loom. $15 admission includes materials and a snack. Reservations required one week prior. Program is for children going into 1st--6th grade. Registration form available here.

June 21, 2012
9 a.m.-noon
If you’re wondering what tools helped build the frontier, then this camp is for you! Join our skilled woodworker as he introduces basic 19th century woodworking techniques and helps campers complete a project of their own! $15 admission includes materials and a snack. Reservations required by June 14. Camp is for children going into 4th-8th grade. Registration form available here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gardening Tips for May...

by Master Gardener and Village interpreter Pat Kriener

May is for planting all day every day!  While you're planting like crazy, watch for some of our garden friends like hummingbirds. Haven’t seen any yet? Then check out the sections on annuals, bulbs, herbs and perennials to find common plants that will attract them to your yard.

  • Annuals – The garden centers are awash with the colors & scents of spring. Plant tropical hibiscus, Mandeville and lantana. Attract hummingbirds by planting butterfly weed, coral bells, impatiens, geraniums, hummingbird vine, nicotina , petunias,  pentas and shrimp plants.
  • Bulbs – Remember don’t get in a hurry to cut back your bulbs until they turn brown otherwise you will endanger the health of the bulb. Continue to add summer bulbs to the landscape. Bulbs for Shade – achimenes, alpinia. Arum, bletilla, caladium, clivia, costus, crinum, curuma, globba, hedychium, hymenocallis, kaemferia, oxalis, walking irks.  Bulbs for Sun – agapanthus, belamcanda, cannas, crinum, crocosmia, dahlia, dietes, eucomis, garlic chives, gladiolus, glorisa lily, habranthus, hymenocallis, iris, lilies, oxalis, tigridia, society garlic, zephyranthes.  Bulbs for Hummingbirds--cannas and Louisiana iris
  • Compost Bin – Make a new compost bin using an old trashcan. If it already has holes, that’s wonderful but make sure it has holes in the bottom for drainage  & holes in the side for air circulation.  Now just toss your clipping , garden & kitchen waste in it.  Don’t toss the lid.  Put some holes in it and make your compost bin critter proof.
  • Containers –Create a simple container garden to attract hummingbirds using pentas, petunias, salvias and hummingbird vine.
  • Greenhouse – Glass greenhouses are very hard to use in Texas form now until fall because of the heat, but if you have a plastic covered frame greenhouse now is the time to prepare it for summer by placing shade cloth over the top and leaving the sides open. Watch temperatures and airflow. 
  • Herbs –Plant basil, chives, catmint, lemon balm, lemon grass, mints, oregano, parsley, rosemary and many more. Herbs for hummingbirds--bee balm & hyssop.
  • Lawn – Mowing season is here! Make sure your blades are sharp and your equipment has had a maintenance check. Remember to fertilize according to your soil sample. Call the Extension Office for information (817-556-6370).
  • Mulch -Mulch & MORE Mulch- 3 inches of mulch is one of the secrets to gardening in Texas
  • Perennials – Another secret to low cost landscaping is planting perennials that come back year after year. An added bonus to using perennials is that they need to be divided now and then and then you have a free plant to put somewhere else in your garden or to share with as friend. In my yard I do not plant a thing in several of my beds, I just wait for the show. Plant an easy Hummingbird garden using perennials such as Autumn Sage, Hummingbird sage, Saliva and Turks cap.
  • Pests – Don’t wait for problems--release beneficial insects such as trichagrammas, predatory mites, ladybugs and lacewings to help fight damaging pests. Fire Ants are always trouble and spring is the best time to put out baits & beneficial nematodes. For more information on fighting Fire Ants, call the Extension Office (817-556-6370) for a free brochure,  “The Texas Two-Step."
  • Prune – Prune spring flowering shrubs and trees once they are done flowering
  • Roses – Ramblers and climbers should be in full bloom. Don’t let them get away from you. This is the time to pay attention to training and tying them on your structure.  May is the last month to transplant and plant roses without submitting them to undue stress in the summer heat.
  • Trees – Remember you can still plant trees year round in Texas but the summer heat can add undue stress on a newly planted tree and it will require more water and attention. 
  • Vegetable GardenPlant Now cantaloupe, collards, eggplant, luffa, okra, peanuts, peppers, pumpkin, Southern peas, squash, sweet potato, tomatoes, watermelons.  If your tomato plants are lush and green but have no fruit you may have given them too much Nitrogen.  Balance it out by adding greensand to your beds. Plant red peppers in afternoon shade. Make a teepee for your pole beans. Sit in the garden, draw a circle around yourself so you can fit into it, then construct a teepee frame out of sticks using your circle as a guide. Plant your beans around the outside of the circle. Yes...I think we should be able to have as much fun in the garden as the kids.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cooking Then and Now...

More from our TCC friends...

Lilia Rodriguez
Professor Blank
History 1301
20 April 2012

Hungry? No time to sit down and have dinner or lunch? Not a problem at all, because you can drive to any fast food place and your hunger problems will be solved in a matter of minutes. With so many fast food places now a days as an option to have a quick meal we have lost appreciation for  the work put into preparing our food.                                                                                             
Not so long ago preparing a meal was not as easy as going to a super market and buying the ingredients ready just to be cooked. According to Courtney Hybarger author of When Dinner wasn’t Quick and Easy “fruits and vegetables were grown on the farmstead and families processed meats, such as poultry, beef and pork”. In the 1800s families did not have the option of simply going to the store and buying what they needed. Everything had to be grown at home for example “spices (nutmeg, cinnamon), seasonings (salt and pepper) had to be ground up with mortars and pestles (Hybarger)”. These families actually had to make their foods out of scratch and sometimes this process was an all day thing. They did not have the convenience of being able to go to a store and buying food that just needed to be popped in the microwave or cooked on the stove. In the 1800s there was a huge difference in technology as well.
Refrigerators an electronic appliance that we consider a necessity to keep our foods from spoiling was non existent in the 1800s. In the 1800s to keep meats from spoiling women used a process of curing. In this process meat was dipped in “brine or salt and then exposed to sun and wind” (Bogan). Fruits and vegetables on the other hand were placed out in the sun or near a heat source (Hybarger). It is interesting to say that with very limited resources people managed to be creative to surpass such obstacles as to how to preserve their foods. Another creative tool was how they cooked their food.
We might have microwaves and stoves but in the 1800s none of that existed. Without stoves in the 1800s, women used what was a Dutch Oven (Hybarger). They placed this oven in the hearths of brick fireplaces where they used different types of fires and flames to cook their meals (Hybarger). For example in todays time you might be used to running down to a Churches Chicken or KFC if you have a craving for some chicken but in 1800s as Fannie Farmers states in her book The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book cooking a Roast Chicken required a long process. For the chicken you first had to dress, clean, stuff and truss it, then you had to season it and while it is cooking you had to be checking and turning it so it will not burn (Farmers 251). This process might sound pretty easy and something that many do at a Thanksgiving meal but imagine not having a stove with an oven and having to cook it over a fire.
While in the 1800s cooking was an all day chore because they had to make everything from scratch and they had to make the perfect fire, today all of that has dramatically changed. Now in the 21st century we can count on refrigerators to preserve our foods and we have stoves and microwaves that are life savers. Besides that we now even have a number of restaurants and fast food places that provide us with a quick meal without all of the hard work that was needed in the 1800s.

Works Cited
Cracker Women Cooking Outside their Poor, Rural Cabin in Georgia. 1800. Painting. Web. 20 Apr 2012.
Farmers, Fannie. The Boston cooking-School Cook Book. Little Brown: 1918. 251. Print.
(Farmers 251)
Goldman, G Jason. Your Brain on Fast Food. 2010. Scientific America. Web. April 20, 2012
Hybarger, Courtney. "Cooking in the 1800s." When Dinner Wasn’t Quick and Easy. Web. 20 Apr. 2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lessons from the Native Americans

Faithful blog followers may remember that we've had an ongoing service-learning partnership with Tarrant County College--Trinity River Campus for a few years now.  Every year, dedicated students come tour the Village, help us preserve the cabins by raking leaves, and research and write blog entries for us.  

We will publish these entries here for you to enjoy over the next few weeks.  Thank you so much, Professor Blank and students!!!!

Andrea Winburn
History 1301
Lisa Blank

Lessons from the Native Americans

Life as a pioneer, most definitely contained struggle and hardship.  Plenty of new experiences took place in these pioneers lives. They were traveling through landscapes that were foreign to them and encountered Native Americans, who were also foreign to them.  Pioneers included people from all walks of life, including women. Pioneer women have been described  to be, “weary, overworked…taken from her happy home, and thrust onto the frontier with all of its threats and dangers”(Williams). They have also been  romanticized as a “strong, brave, moral woman who headed West as a sort of civilizer and Christianizer of the frontier”(Williams). 

Many women had to endure encounters with Native Americans and were pressed with the duty of protecting their families and defending their belongings.  One account of a conflict with Native Americans comes from Mrs. Samuel A. Maverick, “Two Indians rushed by me on Commerce Street and another reached my door, and turned to push it just as I slammed it to and beat down the heavy bar…One had stopped near Jinny Anderson, our cook, who stood bravely in front of the children, mine and hers. She held a great stone in her hands, lifting it above her head, and I heard her cry out to the Indians: 'G'way from heah, or I'll mash your head with this rock!'”(Looscan).  There was also quite a bit of fear amongst women as they encountered Indians for the first time along the trail westward. “They were the first Indians I had ever seen, and to my frightened vision, dressed in their long mackinaw blankets with eagle feathers in their hair — my thought was that they would kill us all, and take my baby in captivity” (Williams). One woman, Catherine Haun, described her group as performing drills in order to prepare for a possible Indian raid upon their camp.

However, after repeated encounters with groups of Indians, the pioneers soon learned that most Indians actually posed no threat to them. As the two groups became accustomed to each other, they were able to interact in different ways, like trading food and learning how to craft different items. Indians that were encountered along the trail, also acted as guides for the pioneers. The emigrant women took note of the differences between their culture and that of the Indians.  They noted the dress and the jewelry of the Indians. “A piece of scarlet broadcloth edged with several rows of white beads decorates the top of the moccasin and from either side of this extends around the top of the quarters a little drop curtain effect fringed by making fine cuts an inch deep around the edges”(Williams). 

Overall, pioneer women’s ideas and opinions about the Indian peoples changed. They were first seen as worrisome and fear invoking, but soon many women learned that some of the Indians they encountered were civil people and learned a great deal from them.

Works Cited
Looscan, Adele. "Texian Women by Adele Briscoe Looscan." Texas A&M University. Sons of Dewitt Colony Texas, 1997. Web. 19 Mar. 2012.
Williams, Carol. "My First Indian: Interaction Between Women And Indians On The Trail, 1845-1865." Overland Journal 4.3 (1986): 13-18. America: History and Life with Full Text. Web. 19 Mar. 2012.