Monday, October 6, 2014

We Had a Party Like it's 1799

Photo Credit: Rachael Anderson

This year's Living History Days at Leonard's Mills was great. I left Friday afternoon to setup the gear in the log cabin we stay in. Julia and Eden came early the next morning in time for breakfast before the gates opened at 10am. Even though the forecast warned of rain all weekend, very little actually hit us. Saturday was misting on and off but Sunday was totally clear and crisp.

Loaded up my new van.

Photo Credit: Rachael Anderson

Julia was in the cabin again this time demonstrating cabin living and cooking by fire with her sister and friends. There is so much to talk about regarding life in an eastern frontier log cabin. Food, traditional medicines, and even basic hygiene are regular topics. People are always fascinated by life in the past. Oh, and this was the year Eden was old enough to be breeched. He always wore the child's frock until now. (People always think it's a dress.) Now that he's a "big boy" he's got breeches like Papa. He had a lot of fun having more independence roaming around with his buddies.

 Eden breeched 


 Must be investigating something...

Fall is the best time of year in Maine

When the weather is clear, I prefer to setup my workbench outside the cabin. That way I can be around the family the whole weekend. This time, I needed a roof over my head so my friend, Richard Dort, a Leonard's Mills veteran, graciously shared the saw pit roof with me. Richard is the joiner who has been demonstrating there for over a decade building benches and teaching kids about shaving horses, spokeshaves, etc. He's great with the guests. I love watching him interact with the crowd.

Richard and I

Richard building a bench

Sunday was the same deal except Richard and I moved over to the hovel next to the blacksmith shop so that the pit saw demonstrators could work. We had a good ol' time. I was working on a cradle (co-sleeper version) for our new baby on the way. My idea was to start from rough sawn boards and work through to joinery in the weekend. With all the talking I did I only got to finished dimensions on the stock. I will get to the dovetails in the studio. Good thing I brought my example dovetail joint to show.

 Have tool chest, will travel.


I was very happy to be able to work out of my new tool chest at the event. I'm pretty content with the way the graining turned out on it. I'm relieved it dried enough to travel! Can't wait to finish with the banding and then varnish. Maybe this week I'll get to that. The chest is a great example piece to show the carcase's dovetails, the lid's frame and panel construction, handcut molding, and the sliding trays even let me show period drawer construction.


These work horses are awesome




Another interesting feature was seeing the restored 1910 Lombard Steam Powered Log Hauler running. One hundred years ago, this steam powered beast pulled up to 1600 feet of sleds filled with logs through the Maine woods.

And it's off!

Pretty amazing to watch this thing in action. Someone put a video up on YouTube of it. Check it out here.



 Dinner cooking


We are always tired after two full days of educating a wide variety of visitors, sleeping in a log cabin, and eating food cooked by fire. It's a lot of work but so worth it, especially when I get to meet some of the readers of the blog. You guys are great and I always appreciate it when you make a point to let me know you're following along here. We love to share our family's interests.

Photo Credit: Rachael Anderson


  1. I am going to try and make it to this event next year. I hope the leaf peepers don't have all the hotels booked then.

    1. That would be great, Ralph! I know you won't have problems finding a nice place to stay next fall.