I'm back from my Pioneer weekend and have lots to tell.
Some parts were really really awesome. Some parts were, well, not....
We arrived Friday afternoon and fitted into outfits. Mind you, I had 4 layers which will explain why I look 30lbs heavier in the pictures than I do in real life. I churned butter and washed butter and baked cornbread in hot coals in a dutch oven.. We roped the bed Will stuffed the straw ticks and sewed them up. He also learned how to take care of the animals. I did the dishes in dishpans and learned that I must always keep the fire going with these little logs split for this purpose that burn in about 20 minutes. While I was working on something, I was ALWAYS keeping the fire going. We made up the bed. We finally ate a wonderful supper of pumpkin apple soup (which was made for us before we got there) and cornbread and butter. We were shown around the cabin and then our pioneer guide left us. We got to use the bathrooms up in first aid so we had 2 nighttime walks. The sky was clear and the moon was bright and we walked using a candle lantern. The village was gorgeous in starlight. I read by that candle lantern in front of the fire and went to bed.
Sleeping on the straw tick was not as bad as one would think but the bed was REALLY SMALL. It was a nice evening so we were not cold with all the blankets that we had and the fire (That I must always keep burning).
Morning dawned and we walked up to the bathroom. This was the best part for me. When we walked into the village we were in our outfits in the midst of all the historic buildings and it was beautiful and quiet. I turned and looked over my shoulder and could see the sun rising over the fields. I wish I had a camera but I won't ever forget that scene. For those minutes I WAS back in time. The square was full of fall color trees and everything was perfect. I was in my dream. It was really happy for me.
I made cornmeal mush for breakfast (and kept the fire going) that we ate with my butter and some maple syrup. Will took care of the animals-He even fed these ENORMOUS Oxen. I cleaned up the breakfast dishes. I kept the fire going. I went to pick vegetables in the different gardens around town. Will built a split rail fence.
When I came back our Pioneer guide had arrived. She brought a surprise. Her son had killed 2 squirrels that morning for us to SKIN AND EAT............. I backed away..... Will stepped up and skinned and disemboweled a squirrel. (for those of you who do not know my husband, this is NOT normal behavior for him) Those little rodents were washed and set in a bowl on MY TABLE IN SALT WATER WHERE THEY SAT ALL DAY WHILE I COOKED.
This is where is started to get harry. A pioneer woman, I learned, spends her entire life cooking over an open hearth and keeping the fire going. All of this while she tends to the children (luckily I did not have to do that) washes these enormous heavy pots and carries a lot of water with a yoke when her husband is off doing something . Trust me, it takes a lot of water to make a meal. It is very smoky in the cabin. (So smoky that when I cleaned my ears out later I had SOOT IN MY EARS) There were so many flies all over the food (and those soaking squirrels). I made a twirling pork roast (The squirrels were for Sunday-They were for me to FRY!!!! ) Rye and Injun bread, Mashed root vegetables and glazed carrots with herbs for the dinner (lunch) meal. It was really hot in all of the clothes. We had A LOT of visitors. Students and friends and family (My parents brought our daughter) along with the regular visitors. All of them wanted to know what I was doing/how I was doing. How did we sleep, etc, I was really excited to show them. I fell behind on the dinner prep. WAY behind. It takes A LONG time to make 4 things over one fire and let me tell you, it took me all day. When we were finally ready to eat Will was nowhere to be found. He was driving oxen around the village and bringing back a load of manure for the garden. All I had eaten was a bowl of cornmeal mush at 7 and a contraband banana from Kristin and Michael. We didn't eat until 3pm. By that time I was very hot and very tired and very hungry. I was also feeling very sick from the heat and smoke. I ate because I knew I had to. A little while later I threw up. I threw up for the next 4 hours in First Aid. It was rather embarrassing getting sick in front of museum goers and staff members.
There was a barn dance with musicians and real dancers and gaslight lanterns. I even got a pretty dress to wear because I got sick on the old one. I missed it all. :-(
The entire time I was in first aid my head was spinning and I couldn't get those squirrels out of my head (to the squirrels credit, many of the people who visited the cabin that day told me squirrel was really quite tasty. I do also realize that many people do eat squirrel. It is just not something I've ever considered eating and I was really having an issue with it)
We came home after the barn dance. I slept for 12 hours. We missed the entire day today.
I'm sad that it happened like that. I have not been this excited about something since giving birth. (I kid you not.) I would have really liked to experience the whole thing.
My friends who came back for the dance had a great time which I am grateful for as I was not there with them.
I learned a great deal which I will share over the next few days. The amount of information that our pioneer guide had was absolutely amazing-She was enthralling and can DO all of the pioneer activities that I was supposed to. She's the real deal! The people at the museum were great and even offered to let us come back next year for the whole experience.
Don't think I had a bad time. I had an awesome time. I learned a TON. I have A LOT of perspective. I got to do something most people never get to. It one of the most interesting things I've ever done. I just wish it didn't end so quickly. My husband had a GREAT time. A much better time than he imagined he would. He wished it didn't end so quickly.
At least now I know if the end of the world comes we can eat (or at least skin) the rodents in the back yard. My husband actually BROUGHT home the 2 squirrels and they now sit in my freezer.