I just have to say that these oxen were HUGE!! I don't know that I've ever seen any up close. And I have a much better appreciation for the scriptures that reference a "yoke" now. What a massive and strong piece of equipment!
We spent a great deal of time in the main house cooking. We fried potatoes in lard. Gross, I know. We made cornbread from one of the very first cookbooks in our state. We also helped make strawberry jam. And learned a ton of fascinating information while doing it!! All cooking was of course done how a 1860's woman would have done it. No standard measurement system yet. No refrigeration. No screens on windows. LOTS of flies. Eeeek! Only the very first primitive stove. It was a blast!!!
We pumped this water ourselves from the well outside and used it for everything from washing potatoes, cleaning dishes and making cornbread. When Rosebud looked inside the cup and saw all the dirt and crud in the cup she asked the "lady" what she was supposed to do with it? Surely she wasn't supposed to put it in the cornbread, right??? Yup, that's what we did! (Don't worry, only the animals get to eat all the food made in this kitchen.)
Wiping the cornbread pan with lard. Another fun tidbit of info is that their aprons doubled as hot pads! When working with the stove or oven they just grabbed their aprons.....so handy!!
Grinding sugar from big chunks into fine granules.
Yup....more lard for the potatoes. The potatoes were cut up into swirls that looked something like the very first curly fries! Very fun!
Bread crumbs for frying. They were hard as a rock!!
Water from the well. It was fun the first few pumps but it took both of them quite a while to fill up the bucket for the kitchen and boy were they glad that we don't have to do that several times a day!!
OK.....now this just fascinated me. Not sure why. Today they were shearing sheep all day. This is what we walked into. This is a young sheep who was doing anything but cooperating with the process. The farmer got a real workout trying to hold it down and shear it.
Every time this farmer repositioned, the sheep fought and struggled to get free. Until once again the farmer gently held it down by putting his leg across his neck. The farmer was as gentle and kind as could be and was only doing what he had to.....to keep the sheep safe while he sheared it.
Now, here comes the next sheep. A mother that these three farmers couldn't praise highly enough. They sung her praises the entire time they sheared her. She had birthed twins multiple years in a row, she had birthed a strong ram, her babies were strong and healthy.....and she cared for all her babies well, better than most.
Look at how calm she is. She's not fighting them at all. She's not struggling for freedom.
She was completely at ease as if she knew that when they were done her babies would be able to find milk easier. That she would be cooler this summer. That these gentle farmers would never harm her. She completely trusted them. It was truly amazing to watch these two animals react so very differently to the same gentle farmers. One fought and struggled and made things so tough for itself during the process. The other completely trusted and relaxed during the process and it went much faster and smoother! I think I could take some lessons from this mother!