What says autumn in New England like wandering around a reproduction 1830’s village while sipping on a warm apple cider? Or, at least, what says New England in the 1830’s?
On Monday, Tom and I watched a cobbler making men’s work shoes. The women wore satin slippers – a poor choice in a place with so many horses, but fashion and practicality haven’t been related for centuries, apparently. A potter made clay mugs on a potter’s wheel, which a farmer might have done in his free time for a little extra money (and I mean a little – 3 cents per mug). And we watched a printing press demonstration. The press was one of the first places in the village where women were employed, using their skill with needle and thread to bind books. Generally these women were related to the printer. Otherwise – a woman, working? – how unseemly!
It made me winsome for hand crafts – women sitting in their kitchens knitting socks and mittens and baking pies. Lucky for us, if I don’t get around to making that pair of socks it does not mean that my feet will go cold. It’s a luxury to find these tasks quaint and enjoyable, while back then it was constant labor.
The highlight of the trip, of course, were the baby oxen. Here are our new friends, Doc and Blue. We warmed our hands in their fur; these two were like ovens. They do a little work, get a lot of attention, then graze and nap. A fine life for an ox.