Saturday, November 30, 2013

Preparing for the Holidays~ 19th Century Style

Every year my mom and I go to the Genesee Country Village and Museum for their Preparing for the Holidays event.  This is something we both look forward to all year long.  It's a full day of strolling through the village basking in the sights, sounds and smells of the season.

This is the first time we remember the temperatures being so cold.  It was about 23 degrees here today.  The snow adds so much to the village.  As we walked along through the village the snow was just crunching under our boots.  The smell of wood burning spread through out the village.  As we approached the Livingston Backus House we could smell Christmas in the air.  It was here they were baking fruit cake.

The closer we got to the door the stronger the smell of the fruit cake baking was.  I know it gets a bad rap as being horrible and down right nasty.  Let me tell you this was SO good.  We were able to sample the fruit cake. 

It had a strong molasses flavor with raisins in it.   It was so moist and flavorful.  The sample we had was made at a restaurant off site. 

They were actually making their own fruit cake in the bake oven.  I honestly could have pulled up a chair and just stayed there all day. 

Almost ready to go in the oven. 

It was so warm and toasty next to the hearth. 

At the Pioneer Cabin they were making soap.  They would have saved the ashes from the fireplace to make the soap. 

Out behind the Pioneer Cabin they were butchering pigs.  I did take pictures but I am not planning on posting it here.  It did bring back a lot of childhood memories of seeing my dad and grandfather butchering our pigs.

What I did get pictures of was the process of stuffing the sausage.  That is something that was very interesting to me.

Chopping up the pork to start the stuffing process.  The bowl on the table is store bought casings.  The bowl under the table is from the pig that was butchered.  There was a big difference in the quality of the casings.  One thing I learned today about this process is that the weather plays a big part of how flexible the casings are.  Like I mentioned before it was cold.  So there was a lot of trouble with the casings getting holes in them.

We also stopped in to see how they made candles.  Although the candle maker was on her lunch break we still were able to see the process.

They would dip the wick into the wax then let it dry.  It took a long time to get a candle completely finished.  They made a lot of their candles in the winter because they needed cold temperatures.  They would actually have the windows and doors open.  BRRR! 

Not only did we get a chance to stroll through the village we were also able to make some fun crafts.

One of the things I look forward to is making the pomander each year.  It's a citrus fruit with cloves in it.  This year I chose a lemon.

I just love the smell of cloves.  To me it screams holidays to me.  Combine that with the scent of a lemon and it is truly one of my favorites.

When making a pomander you start out by tying a ribbon around the fruit.  Then in any design you want you start poking holes into the fruit.  Then fill the hole with a whole clove.  Word of warning...your fingers will start to hurt after a couple of cloves.

We also made a Victorian placemat.  We glued ribbon around the outside of a piece of felt and then added stickers to it.   The stickers represented something that would have been sewn onto a piece of fabric. 

The next craft we did was a heart shaped cranberry string.  We put the dried cranberries onto a piece of wire then shaped it. 

Next we have the sweet bag.  It's a piece of fabric with rosehips, balsam fir needles, dried orange peels, cloves and crushed cinnamon sticks.  Also added is a few drops of something called Christmas oil.

I really did not want to leave here today.  There is something so peaceful about being here.  I am counting the days until my husband and I go back for the Yuletide tour.  I again want to thank the blog reader who paid for our membership this year. You have brought a lot of joy to us by this very generous deed!! 


Sandra said...

This place is on my bucket list, and going with you would only make it even better. I so enjoy your pictures every time you go, thank you Jen for sharing those with us :)

Have a wonderful weekend,

Farmlife Chick said...

Sandra is right. I love taking the tour through your photos. I can't wait till you go on the Yuletide tour either!:) I look forward to that post.

Sarah said...

Hi Jen,

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I have enjoyed looking over your past posts. The Genesee Country Museum is such a fun place to visit. I have visited a few different times over the years, but always in the summer or fall. The winter photos are just lovely! The fruit cake does look delicious. : )

May you have a blessed day!


Mrs. B, a very peculiar person said...

Hello again Jen,

Just had to leave one more note thanking you for sharing your day at the museum with us. I too LOVE living history museums / re-enactments.

By the way, your weather seems to be mimicking ours, however, I'm not sure it is quite as cold where you are. We are currently at 9 degrees with a wind chill of minus 8. Much warmer than yesterday's low of minus 27 / high of minus 4.