Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Yorktown 18th Centry Farm

Yorktown, Virginia......... We found a museum where visitors can see a modest reconstructed farm typical of life in the late 18th century. This is the wood home that had a double bed, a cradle, fire place, table and stair to upper flat board where there were 2 mattes. It is for a family of 2 adults and 3 children. The kitchen was in the next building and beyond that was a tool shed and house for various jobs. The museum also has a recreated Continental army encampment with all persons were also dressed in the dress attire of the day. We learned about the English acceptable way of fighting.... Stand, shoot, fire, reload and do it again until you are shot, or the Commander says...."Retreat or Charge". Sounded like playing "chicken" to me. Thank God that Washington knew that this was the only way that the English would accept that you won the battle. I personally think it is better to shoot while hiding behind a tree.
This, believe it or not, is cotton. It stands about 8 feet tall. What a beautiful flower, don't you think? I did not know that cotton originally was a tall plant, I am used to seeing cotton growing close to the ground. Two other crops they grew were flax and tobacco and of course a vegetable garden. Tobacco brought in the money for the farmers and flax was used for oil from the seed and linen from the straw.

This lady is showing us how she (this was the job for the children of the family) would work the flax straw until it was soft enough to be spun into thread that is called linen. Crushing it at the end .... she then puts it in the area near her fingers and brakes the shaft. Then it was beat against a wooden board with a wooden knife. From there the straw was drug thru metal combs to remove even more and make it softer.

Yes, it turns out soft like this. It was so soft and strong..........I was in awe!!!!
Then she takes the soft flax and spins it using this spindle..... this creates the thread that is then turned into linen to make their tops, men's pants and women's skirts. I just could not believe my eyes. If they wanted they could also dyed the threat into colors using things like bugs, plants or other seeds. What an eye opener...... Who would guess....flax makes linen...... but with a lot of labor. WOW

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