My family and I have been historical reenactors for many years, and I delight in visiting living history farms wherever I am traveling. This summer on our trip through Texas, we happened upon the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historical site.
The farm was originally settled by the Sauer-Beckmann family in 1900. This turn-of-the-century Texas-German farm family went on to have ten children, one of whom served as midwife at the birth of President Johnson. The family sold the farm to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and it was opened to visitors in 1975.
Costumed interpreters carry out the day-to-day activities of an early 1900’s farm by feeding animals, gathering eggs, cooking meals, tending the garden, canning and butchering. Although I have visited many sites like this farm, I always find I still learn something new.
Here is what I learned:
- If you put a small ball of cotton on a string and tie it to the top of the screen door, the bounce of the cotton will keep the flies off the screen and discourage them from coming in the house.
- It is important to work smarter and not harder, especially when you have ten kids. (These ten kids, by the way, had their own bunk house away from the main house.)
- Filling pin cushions with hair from a lady’s brush helps keeps the steel pins lubricated and keeps them from rusting.
- You can store meat for up to a year if you submerge it in lard.
- If the lard goes rancid, you can use it to make soap.
- Use EVERYTHING! Turkey feathers make a good broom.
- Beauty is important. Put up blue wall paper in the parlor if you can.
- After all the hard work is through, it is still important to remember where your help comes from.
I will lift up mine
eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.