Thursday, October 10, 2013

Living History at Leonard's Mills 2013

Eden's six board chest works great for this event.

This past weekend we had our fall Living History event at Leonard's Mills in Bradley, Maine. We do this event twice a year and look forward to it every time. This is the first time Eden began to understand what exactly it is we do there. During our packing we began explaining to him how we are teaching people about what people 200 years ago did. He went into his room and proceeded to work through his pile of plastic modern toys and asked if these items qualified for 1790's toys. To his dismay most of his favorite items were not kosher. Finally at last he came in the house with an item he was confident about. (Somewhere in our discussion he must have picked up on the words 'old fashioned'.) He walked into the house with his treasure, held it out and asked, "Mama, is this mud ball 'fashioned'?" "Yes. I guess they had mud balls in the 18th century. You can bring that if you want."

It was the largest turnout they've had in over a decade. This little event managed to bring in about 1,500 people Saturday and Sunday. It was wonderful to see that many interested people but it was a lot of work. There were many moments that we realized our little cabin was engulfed in a crowd of people. Peter Follansbee, how do you do this day in and day out?

I set up my new portable Nicholson workbench (which I will post about shortly) outside the cabin and demonstrated preindustrial woodworking methods. I used the opportunity to make up the bottom boards for my traditional tool chest (also an upcoming post). In reality nothing really ever gets done during these events because there is so much talking and explaining. If someone has a rabbit trail question I always go there with them. I am there to educate after all.

Julia, her sister, and friends were inside the cabin cooking and sewing. They said they were non-stop talking with the guests. I think our jaws were ready to fall off by the end of the event. Eden was a blur running amok.

We also decided to bring the goats and a few chickens along. They were exceedingly more popular than we were. Not that I’m jealous or anything but we do work pretty hard to get things set up. I would be talking at length with people about the project I was working on, showing them ingenious work holding at the bench with the proper way to hold the tool and just when I’d begin to demonstrate the technique they’d look over my shoulder and say, “OH! Is that a CHICKEN!?” Dear me. A chicken, people? Ah well.

Boring stuff.

Every year we make efforts to make our presentation a little more authentic. We are not totally there but progress has been made. I anticipate next year will be even better. Our clothing, gear, and knowledge will be even more refined I am sure.

Wowsers! What a beauty!

It was a great weekend of simple living, wood fired food and sweet fellowship with friends and family.


  1. Amazing!!!!! I love this blog.

  2. Thanks, Freddy. I was spending time with Don not long ago and he said you and I really gotta meet up. He thought would get along well. One of these days I am going to make a point of it. I'm in MA every once in a while.

    Will you be at the Historic New England Furniture Workshop in a few weeks? If so, I'll see you there.