Monday, October 25, 2010

Life in a rural village

I just returned home from spending most of the week in a working class 1860's town...
We stayed in the original homes, were given local/seasonal food rations to prepare, and were to remain 'in character' during the entire event!
Mule cart traveling up the dirt road...
Ladies on the front porch
As neighbors, we were encouraged to enhance the sense of community by bartering and borrowing. So when we planned to bake a {birthday}cake for a young woman in the household, I was able to trade with a neighbor a few extra vegetables in exchange for baking powder :)
Local residents gathering at the General store...

An October evening by the warm hearth

Gone are the lavish dinners and fine dresses...

Many households struggled to make the most out of the frugal menu, as drygood prices continued to rise. For us, flour got so scarce to come by, it was priced at $10 for a little over 2 cups! Suffice it to say, we were able to get creative using the abundant cornmeal!

Inside the Mercantile
The carpenter hard at work on a project.

The town continues to operate the best way it can despite the present hardships.
~A handmade quilt in a simply furnished room.

The house cook & I prepared, cooked, & served all the meals for our home group,
which was about 20 re-enactors. Cooking and baking over the fire was a bit difficult at first, especially to keep the fire going at the desired temperature. We learned quickly though!
In front of the Courthouse
Down by the Homestead...

The women hand-washed, starched and ironed the clothes as a paid service.
As refugees (aka Spectators) came by, many questions were asked.
One young girl asked what I (as a house servant) would have to do.
I told her, "Anything that needs to be done!" Cooking, cleaning, washing dishes/clothes, running errands, accompany the ladies to town, hand-sewing/mending etc. Not to mention continuing to keep the fire going all day!
Preparing the batter for a honey cake, using "The young Homekeepers Friend, 1859"
The reciept calls for enough flour" to make a stiff dough" lol
ah, the days before exact measurements.... :)

A woman at the farmhouse washing clothes
One of the young women of the household volunteered
to help slice vegetables for supper that evening...
A country lane
The Lady of the house {on the right} with her relative, about to go into town.

As the afternoon sunlight shined through the tree's shadows,
you could see the wood smoke swirling through the air.
One of our neighbors washing dishes

A bowl of fresh-churned butter next to a jounal with a few handwritten reciepts.
Table setting for the residents of the house
Cooking sweet potatoes with our butter, cinnamon and molasses rations :)
Ladies in town
Due to the food shortage and desperation, many townswomen protested to the authorities-- Winter is soon approaching, and they fear they may run out of food if things don't change.
Men talking outside the courthouse

News, events and other information is posted
outside the Mercantile for the residents to read.

Horses and mules were a constant sight throughout the town--
an important part of transportation.
I have learned so much this week, and am exhausted!
I hope you enjoyed the pictures, I wish I could've taken more--Due to the authenticity aspect of the event, camera's are not appropriate to show! So many of these photos were from the last days of the event.
ps) It was an added pleasure to meet blog readers in the village
(who are fellow re-enactors as well!)
What a small world :)


Regan Family Farm said...

What fun! We would have loved to be a "refugee" :) It's been a blessing catching up with you. Please give my regards to your sweet momma...I think of her often.
Sending a hug from the farm~
Mrs. Regan

Grace said...

What grand fun! Dressing up for re-enactments are so fun. I participated in one the other weekend; however, for only the afternoon, whereas yours was a whole week!
Thank you for posting pictures!
Many Blessings,

Pioneer Beauty said...

Oh How Exciting..I am with my Dear Friend Kathy I would have loved to been a Refugee..Where did this take place..and is this something that happens often..?
You are very dedicated..that's for sure...Amazing to see what our Ancestors went through..and how they Forged this great land of ours..
In Christ
Mrs. Angelina

Atlanta said...

What an amazing experience! What I would give to have that opportunity! fun fun!

From Snowflakes To Hotcakes said...

This looks like such fun! You mentioned that there were spectators. Would you be able to tell us where this took place, or how we could be a spectator? Thanks!

dlogan said...

How wonderful!!! Do you mind sharing where this took place. I am interested in trying this, maybe. :)

Did you have a working bathroom? :)

Darby Logan

Lylah Ledner said...

ooh....i love your post...and your heart...

xoxo lylah

AuntLou said...

Thank you, so much for sharing these beautiful pictures and the explanations & captions.
God bless you and give you rest!

Santana Vitales (Hey That's Me!) said...

That looks so fun!!! I am gla dyou had fun and it looks like you did a great job!

Trish said...

Hello Mia, thank you for sharing these wonderful photos. They give us a lovely glimpse into the past and make me wish I could experience this firsthand. A whole week sounds wonderful but I'm sure it was also a little wearying. You have a beautiful blog and I so enjoy coming here to spend a quiet time in your gentle company. Rest and be refreshed :-) blessings..Trish

StrivingSimply said...

I wouldn't have wanted to be a refugee, I would have wanted to be a townsperson! Where do you find these opportunities? I live in the mid-Atlantic region, and I know people (mostly men) reenact the civil war, but not everyday life.

*~Sarah Lynn~* said...

What a great time! I would love to do something like this. I love all of the pictures! :)

Kate said...

How nice! This is the kind of re-enacting I've always wanted to do. (I do 18th century living history.) I've always wanted to just live the life for a while.

I have a friend who does a LOT of camp and hearth cooking and even teaches classes on it. Her husband is her "fireman." At a re-enactment, he can get a fire started from scratch to plenty of coals for cooking and baking a 3 course meal for a party of 30 in half an hour!

I'm so glad you had a great time!

Stephanie Ann said...

The photos are great. That little town is so pretty. I wish we had more places like that around.

Julian said...

wonderful mia! beautiful pics, thanks so much for sharing.:) What a wonderful experience!

AJ said...

What fun! Great pictures. Hope you're able to put your feet up a bit and rest. :) Did you learn anything that you would like to do at home?

"The Smelly Lady" said...

Lovely! I would have loved to come visit your village. :-) Thanks for sharing.

WudIzThePoint said...

Quite a pleasant, interesting post.

Raine said...

That looks so fun. We had an historical site near my home town where they used to do this every summer, and another that had re-enactors year round. I always wondered how people got into doing that sort of thing.

Sophia said...

Goodness! What fun! I'm so glad you had such an opportunity!

Penny said...

What a wonderful experience!
I have always wanted to participate in something like that.
Thank you for sharing Mia!


D. Leigh said...

Absolutely fascinationg! Thank you so much!

Kassie Burke said...

Oh, what fun! I have always wanted o do something like this...just to experience the difference of time periods. :) I have a question though...Where is that and what is it called? I would love to go and see it.

In Christ,

Esther said...

That looks SO fun!! I've never done anything like that before!

Carmen said...

WOnderful pictures! I always enjoy your site.

AwaydownSouth said...

Hey, Mia. It was nice to see you again. Your pictures are lovely as always. I am still working on my Westville blog post.

Jennifer said...

What fun you must have had! The pictures are lovely. Thank you for sharing! I so very much enjoy keeping up with you and your family.
God bless,
Jennifer Williams

Bijou Beaute International Ltd. said...

Hi Mia,

First, I have to start by saying that I just love your blog. You have a very warm presence about you, and the stories you share are so interesting. I would have loved to have been apart of such a unique event. We don't have many events like this up in Michigan, except for those at Greenfield Village. I look forward to reading more about your daily adventures.

God Bless,
Miss Kelli

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your experience in words and phots, I truly enjoyed it.

patrizia said...

oh, this was so enjoyable! What fun! What a beautiful blog you have & such a blessing. Really enjoyed my time spent here.

Rejoicing In Him, Patrizia

Anonymous said...

WOW! where is that? I Wanna do it so bad! :)!!!!!!!!! oriana

Leslie said...

Wow, what an interesting experience. Great pictures!

shirley said...

Oh it looks so glamorous to play and imagine how it really was back in the day, but we all know how hard it truly was. Work was back breaking and had to be done no matter how one felt. Not like today! Thanks for sharing this adventure with us.

Colleen said...

I'm curious, in one of the pics you described your character as a 'house servent' so were you portraying a free person of color or a slave? Thank you.

Susan B said...

What an amazing opportunity to participate in something like this! I enjoyed all your photos. It looks like fun, though I imagine there was a big adjustment to re-enact something like this for a week's time. Thank you for sharing about your experience, I enjoyed it so much.

Hoop said...

Wow, what an incredible week. I wouldn't want to leave. I wish I could climb in your photos and join you. Memories to learn from and thank you for sharing. Selena

Acacia said...

Wow, Miss Mia! - Simply amazing!

Cassandra said...

That sounds like a fun and enlightening event!!

Jackie said...

Wow! That looks so interesting and fun!

I just discovered your blog this morning and it has made my day. Very inspirational! I look forward to reading more.

sarah in the woods said...

How fun! We love visiting places like this.

custom seamstress said...

What a great experience! I'm sure it changed your perspective in some ways and can make you appreciate today's modern conveniences.

Avonlea_dreamer said...

Oh! What an absolute experience! How marvelous to be so close to getting to actually step back in time!

Christine said...

What a great interpretation. So well done. I would love to visit there sometime.

Vicki said...

What an amazing experience, Mia! I wish I'd been there! :-D

Love in Christ,

Ashleigh said...

This town is so lovely! What an amazing experience you had!

Kim said...

Was this held at Westville? It looks like it - I love going there. Definitely love the house with the dogrun through it - thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us.

Rosie said...

Hello Mia,
It sounds like you had a lot of fun!
I would love to do something like that, although it seems we Northerners don't do as much in that line as you Southerners

Have a lovely day Mia,and say hello to the family from all the folks here for me.
Your friend, Rosie

lady Estelle said...

What a luck young women you are to have an adventure like this. It is one of my dreams to experience a weekend like this. I could learn so much even at my age. You are never to old to learn how to live a true wholesome life. I feel I still have so much to learn. Thanks for sharing as much as you did. God bless you. With much admiration, Lady Estelle

Kathie Truitt said...

Mia, I've named you "hillbilly debutante of the month" on my blog. It's late and don't have time to explain what that means but if you'll pop over to my blog hopefully you'll see that it's a great compliment. I have this contest each month and it's very popular but time schedule didn't allow me to do it justice, so I chose you and directed folks to your blog. Maybe at a later date I can have you be HDOM again and really do it the right way. I wanted to tell you this in case someone came over and told you. LOVE your blog, darlin'.
I can see your sweet spirit through your writing and have come to love you by reading your words. God bless you.

Mia said...

Dear Readers,
Thank you so much for your encouraging comments!! It was a great experience, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to spend so much time at a living history event.
We were at a recreated 1850s town called Westville for the event. (In Georgia)
This type of re-enacting experience doesn't happen all the time, but during the week they do have 19th century attired employees to give the tour.
Dear Colleen,
The time was 1863, so I portrayed a house slave. If the event is post-war, I usually portray a freedwoman. It was a unique experience (especially since all the reenacters were in character!)
Striving Simply,
Not all 1860 events are in the south, there are northern events I'd love to attend! But I'd love to travel over to the midwest for all the regency/victorian events I hear about!
Yes, we did have a working bathroom on site :) To tell you the truth, I didn't like it! It was hard to adjust from candlelight/natural light to all the bright lights of 'modern convenience'.
Again, I appreciate each and every comment--I'm all rested up from the event, and wish we could go right back! I actually got used to cooking (and baking) on the fire!


Mia said...

Dear Mrs.Regan(& family) and Rosie (& family),

Thank you for your warm regards sent to us, you both are household names here, and are in our thoughts often! :)

In Christ,

Nezzy said...

WoW, what an experience ya'll had. It takes this Ozark Farm Chick back to her early days on the farm. We made our own butter, washed clothes on the back porch and hung them out to dry. We had an outhouse and no runnin' water. Oh baby, have we come a long way!!! Heeehehe!

I enjoyed pokin' around in your charmin' blog. I promise...didn't mess anything up. I'm freaky neat.

From the beautiful hills and hollers of the Missouri Ponderosa, ya'll have a wonderfully blessed day!!!

Dani said...

What a wonderful concept Mia - thank you so much for sharing it with all of us. This is a moment of synchronicity for me as I have just this past week finished watching the BBC programme The Victorian Farm, in which they had three people live and experience Victorian farm life for a full year..

I am envious of the wealth of information you have garnered during your week - and am eager to read how the experience has / will affect your daily life.


Mia said...

Dear Dani,
Thank you for recommending the BBC programme "Victorian Farm"! We're looking forward to watching it tonight!
I have indeed learned alot through just those few days, and look forward to posting my experience soon :)

Tiffani-Joi said...

Hey there! I'm new to your blog, but I LOVE it already!! The picutures you take and have posted are soooooooooooo beautiful!!!
Love your "About Me"!
Will keep reading!

Rhonda said...

Hello Mia!
I so enjoyed reading your "Life in a rural village" blog! (Well I enjoy your blog all the time!)
What a wonderful experience to actually live out! I love cooking on an open fire with my dutch oven and cast iron pan. Nothing like it!
Your photos are fantastic!
Many blessing to you and your lovely family!
Rhonda <3

Andrea said...

What a pleasure to see these beautiful photos. Despite your kind attempts to protect the identities of your fellow reenactors with judicious cropping of the photos, I recognized some of them, as they are my friends in the reenacting community. (Even recognized some of their dresses from the rear!) Thank you for rekindling in me a desire to return to reenacting, and to return to the simple joys and beauties of 19th-century life.

I owe a debt to Kathie Truitt, who linked to your blog from her own. You are a truly lovely and gifted young woman, and God has graced you. Blessings to you and those you love. I hope we may meet in the 19th century at some point.

Bria said...

How wonderful! If only we could go back to those good ole days!

BTW Giveaway at my Open Book Review blog!

Heather said...

oh my goodness! what an amazing event! It has always been a fond dream of mine to do something such as this. Fully immersed in a time gone by....what a fantastic opportunity, thanks for this little glimpse!~

Mia said...

Dear Ms. Andrea,
How fun that you recognise some of the reenactors--it really is a small world when you start attending and participating in living history events :) I'm delighted you enjoyed the post and came over via the link! Thanks!!
Thank you again for everyone's comments, I'm so glad y'all stopped by :)

Grace said...

This is an inspiring blog.

What a wonderful opportunity you had to participate or a whole week of reenactment. The photos are a great representation of the place.

There was an old saying, " A woman's work is never done", sounds like you filled your each of your days with cooking, cleaning, washing, mending, and errands.
A few years ago, there was a special T.V. program aired for several weeks, , called the Frontier in which whole families, pledged to live exactly like the Pioneer days, grow their own food, etc., some of them had a hard time.

Do you have any recipes on your blog?
Blessings to you.

Mia said...

Dear Grace,
Thank you for the kind comment! During the event, my work certainly was never done :) I am familiar with the PBS program "Frontier House"!! Thank you for the recommendation :)
I'm so glad you're interested in the recipes--just scoll down the sidebar and you'll see a list of labels :)


Lady Kara said...

How beautiful and peaceful! You are so blessed to have these opportunities. You also have a wonderful family.

God bless!

Davis Family said...

Ah! How incredible!!! That must have been so much fun!!!

Mrs. Stam said...

Love how you all were dress! Looks like so much fun!

Haha for exact measurement! I use texture, if it feels right then I have enough flour etc :-)

Troy said...

As always, your photography is marvelous!

shannon said...

Mia I'm glad for you to have had such a wonderful time but have issues with the roles you're expected to play Yes its wonderful for you to experience roles that you ancestors may have had to live but to place the colour divide still in 2010 is very disturbing wouldn't it be a great experience for any person no matter what colour to have a slight experience of being a slave (I say slight as we all know the horror's that many slaves went through apart from not beinging able to call their soul their own)I'm sorry if this is upsetting for you not my intention. Not being american gives one a bigger picture I think a more kingdom (HIS KINGDOM) focus, alot of the time we struggle with our homeschool books because of the strange american veiwpoints and the way they justify the most ungodly behaviour in the name of God or God's supposed mandate. I mean were they really all that different than the Spanish; apart from a few did they really take the land for God or for themselves Did they really love the indians (who
christ died for) as themselves laying down they lives so that they may be saved This is without even going into the slave issue many of whom were God's trophies with their amazing faith truly they must be held in high estemm in heaven and we have so much to learn from their beautiful example I Think these would be good issues to discuss with your parents as they seem very wise.
God bless you as you seek to glorify His name and thank you for your lovely blog.

Mia said...

Dear Ms. Shannon,
In response to your comment " place the colour divide still in 2010 is very disturbing wouldn't it be a great experience for any person no matter what colour to have a slight experience of being a slave.."
First of all, thank you for your comment, I'm always eager to hear from my readers!
I honestly believe that its all in the 'spirit' of the way the re-enactment is held. In this case, it wasn't disturbing at all, but rather a tiny glimse into the society of the early 1860's. In this particular area during that time, there were thousands of slaves, and a *very* small amount of freed african americans. There weren't many re-enactors portraying slaves at this event, so I decided to portray one, in the spirit of authenticity. I didn't have to, but I wanted to.
Me portraying a slave wasn't to emphasize the 'color divide' but to attempt to portray a very real part of the 1860's (that you may not usually see at events)--slavery.
Throughout the event, it wasn't awkward, but rather appreciated, because not just anyone chooses to play this role. It was important to me to portray a Christian slave woman who lived during this time--and it was a memorable event that everyone who attended seemed to really enjoy!!

Love in Christ,