Heritage Days stirs memories (6-10-13) PDF Print E-mail
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN, Sentinel-Tribune Editor   
Monday, 10 June 2013 08:47
Makenna Rosbrock, 6, and her father Nate pet a baby chick during Wood County Heritage Days. (Photos: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
Chad Loomis (center) and Logan Dauer, 11, distribute corn onto the belt of a corn sheller.
Tate Zeigler, 4, looks at tractors.
In front of him whirred the old John Deere corn sheller, kicking up dust has it scraped the corn from cobs.
Schmiedebusch, like many from the older generation at Heritage Days Sunday at the Wood County Historical Center, was reminded of farming as a youngster.
"This is especially nice for us old folks. It brings back a lot of memories," he said.
For others at the annual event, the Power of Yesteryear farming displays were completely new.
"There's a lot of grown-ups who don't know what this is," Dave Hamilton, of Cygnet, said motioning to the sheller and grinder to make chicken feed.
"This gives everybody an idea of how things were done years ago," he said.
"They was pretty reliable," Hamilton said of the 1950s farm equipment that represented a simpler time.
Simpler, maybe. But much more work, visitors at Heritage Days found out as they strolled through the demonstrations on soap making, candle dipping and butter churning.
"I started this one this morning, and this is as far as I've gotten," Bonnie Rashleigh explained as she worked on caning a chair that was more open than cane.
Rashleigh said many people are amazed that a cane seat can be so strong. "How can a cane chair that looks like lace be strong enough to hold someone?"
Then she shows them how each weave goes six directions to add strength. The "lost art" was not easy.
"It took all day just to survive," she said.
Nearby, Karin McGilvery was stirring beef fat over an open fire. After several hours of stirring, that fat would then be added with lye to make soap. The huge loaves of soap then have to cure for several weeks before they are ready for use.
The misshapen bars of soap were multi-purpose - they cleaned dishes, laundry and bodies. Skin softening and sweet smelling ingredients were not added.
"Beauty wasn't really a goal," McGilvery said. "We are allowed to be particular. That wasn't an option in 1850."
In fact, some soap back then smelled downright disgusting, she said. Most soap was made after fall butchering season, she explained. And if the animal fat wasn't cooked down soon enough it would go rancid. But it still had to be used, she added. "It smelled like roadkill."
Visitors also watched the time-consuming tasks of blacksmithing, operating an oil rig and quilting. And they listened to music from dulcimers and fiddles.
Demonstrators showed children how their counterparts in the 1850s amused themselves. Going to the store for toys was not an option, so one boy showed how to make a toy canoe by resting hot coals on a piece of wood. Another poured hot tin into molds for tiny toy soldiers.
Lori Parrat, of the Wood County Park District, gave children the chance to play low-tech games like "buzz saw," often made with string and buttons.
"They love them," she said.
"The ball and cup is a favorite," she said, demonstrating the simple game of catching a ball in a wooden cup. "I ask some kids if they want to trade me their Play Stations, and they just look at me."
Children also got to try their skills dipping candles, going back and forth between the hot paraffin and a bucket of water.
"It doesn't take that long to make a good candle," Wood County Historical Center Educator Mike McMaster said as he instructed a young candle maker.
Children also got to hold recently born chicks and ducks. And those brave enough had the chance to pet Jade, a 1,800 pound dairy cow, or Bruce, the 5-day-old bull calf.
The experience was a learning opportunity for all ages, according to Shelli Morlock, who brought the cows to the event with her husband, Dan.
"I've actually had a few young adults ask if she's a dairy cow or a beef cow," Morlock said.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 June 2013 08:53

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