How Does Your Garden Grow? Flax!

Published on Thursday, March 07, 2013 By Melissa Prycer
This winter we planted one of our large raised bed planters at the Farmstead full of flax. We chose flax for this bed to test the bed and to test the flax. This particular raised bed hadn’t germinated much of anything for the past two seasons, and needed a lot of amendments to get back to productive condition. Flax is a fairly tolerant plant and will grow just about anywhere, and we knew if the flax didn’t germinate in that spot we would have to replace the soil more than we already had. The raised beds also needed something growing so that the soil didn’t wash away and pack down over our off season and flax has nice sturdy deep roots. Finally, we needed to test out golden flax and see how well it grows without much attention. We found that golden flax is just ab ..

What’s Cooking In The Village?

Published on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 By Melissa Prycer
Starting in March, the Village will be playing host to a series of monthly cooking classes highlighting traditional foods made from scratch. While we will be cooking in our various historic kitchens, the products and methods you take home will be usable in a modern kitchen as well. As the first part of our Meet the Village People series, I will introduce myself–don’t worry, you’ll meet everyone else in the coming months–so that you will know just who that person in front of the fire is when you arrive at class. When people see me cooking in the historic kitchens at the Village, their first question is usually “How did you learn to do that?” Well, I learned to cook in a historic kitchen while working at another historic village museum, Greenfie ..

What the Mama Fig Tree said to the Baby Fig Tree

Published on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 By Melissa Prycer
It feels like spring lately, but it is really the dead of winter and time to plant the future fruit trees of Texas. Back at the farmstead, we have just planted four dormant little sticks that promise to blossom later in the year. All are heritage varieties, meaning they existed during Dallas’ frontier period and might have been grown by a local farmer. We tried to choose some unusual fruits that will make visitors ask questions. We planted pomegranate, persimmon and plum. Just try to say that three times fast! We also planted a new fig tree, and that is a bit sad for us. We have had a fig tree for many years. They have a limited lifespan, and we must accept that our old friend is reaching the end. She once created so many figs that we had to practice traditional methods  ..

Heading to the library

Published on Wednesday, February 06, 2013 By Melissa Prycer
Last week, the American Library Association announced their Youth Media Awards, which includes the Newbery and Caldecott Awards. I always keep an eye on these announcements because a) I like to read! and b)there’s always a lot of love for historical fiction. They also release a list of Recommended Books in different categories, including Non-Fiction, the Amelia Bloomer List (“well-written and well-illustrated books with significant feminist content”), and Books for Reluctant Readers. As educators, we’re always on the lookout for great books about history to recommend to families. Though we haven’t had time to read all of the books listed below, here are some of the ones that caught our eye. Below are some books that both Elaina (Education Assistant) a ..

The Dancing Whatnot

Published on Monday, January 28, 2013 By Melissa Prycer
(/images/postimages/spool-whatnot.jpg) The whatnot at rest after a dance Its an antique, its a shelving unit, it moves with perfect rhythm, and that makes it a star of our museum collection. Valuable antiques by well-known makers are nice, but I don’t think they can compete with a quirky, one-of-a-kind item made by some creative individual in the past. We have woodworking tools redesigned by a craftsman to do a special job, and homemade rag dolls who love to attend parties with the fancy French playthings blessed with porcelain heads. The dancing whatnot is an enticing example of some unknown person’s determination and creativity. So what’s a whatnot? Let us start with what its not. It is not an object of any practical use. It was vital for the Vict ..

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