kitty companiona

kitty companiona

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Rural Life

Every year our small community has a Rural Life Festival sponsored by the United Methodist Church.

The focus is to celebrate our farm life heritage through demonstrations of traditional skills.  This is a community unifying event, with people of different faiths and ways of living working together to share their knowledge.  Old time farming methods, sheep shearing, herding with dogs, milking a cow, making butter and homemade bread, spinning, quilting, and woodworking were domonstrated.

So park your buggy in a shady place before the parking lot gets full, and let's see what's going on!

This is the McCormick reaper.  Maybe you remember from school that Cyrus McCormick invented this machine way back when and revolutionized the cutting of grain.  Before the reaper, all grain had to be cut by hand with a scythe.

Making the final adjestments before taking to the field.

The grain then needs to be gathered onto the wagon and hauled in to be threshed.  The men are preparing to hitch the horses to the wagon.

And off to the field we go.

Next is the plowing demonstration.  Three different types of plows were demonstrated:  the horse drawn, the tractor with iron sheels and the tractor with rubber tires.  All were equally effective.

Snazzy machine!!!

While the men are working away in the field, the women are baking bread in the oven of the cookstove, doing the milking and making butter.

The bread table was quite popular. 

No electricity or gas with this stove.  Your fuel is right there in the bucket!  Thank goodness there was a nice breeze blowing.  It gets awfully hot working with a woodstove.

The Amish men and women are preparing chicken to put on their large portable grill.  Zip says it's some of his favorite barbequed chicken.

Zip was my roving reporter for the day.  He didn't get pictures of the milking or sheep shearing. 
He liked the alpaccas!

And the working sheep dogs.  These guys are amazing!!!  They are so intensely focused on their task.

He listens to whistles and watches the body language of the shepherd while keeping his eye on the sheep at the same time!

After the sheep are sheared, the wool is cleaned and the spinners take over.

These women are members of the South Cumberland Fiber Guild which meets at the Shippensburg Public Library the 3rd Saturday of the month.  They are all very good spinners, some are knitters and weavers also.

Check out all the different styles of spinning wheel.  Oh, would anyone like a bottle of water???

This is Jim, a long-time friend and expert traditional cabinetmaker.  He made the lovely child's high chair to the right.

Here is his beautiful table with a few smaller items on display.  The little wooden boxes have tiny carved animals knobs on their lids. 

 Rides in horse drawn and tractor pulled wagons were offered.  There didn't seem to be empty seats!

It's been a long day!  Come on, Zip, hitch up the buggy.  Let's head home.


  1. Pat,

    What a wonderful day, I can only imagine, I would have so loved this. Thanks for sharing..


  2. Wow Pat! That reaper is quite the contraption! It's a good thing the Amish fellows know how to work the thing! All the hardworking people who did the work should be commended. I'm sure it was another hot day out there! Love the barefoot spinners! How was that B-B Que chicken? And homemade bread in a dye for!!! Loved all your pics and comments!

    Cathy G

  3. Looks like a fun day - isn't the food the best at those events!

  4. That reaper looks quite complicated! Thanks for sharing all those pics... I felt like I had just visited there in person. I enjoy watching those herding dogs too!

  5. I would have loved to go. Do they allow outsiders? If so, will you tell us when it will be held next year.

    Thank you for the wonderful pictures and descriptions.

  6. I still think you and Zip go the best places on the weekends! The pics so remind me of long lazy summer days spent on my aunts farm in Illinois when I was a girl. That reaper made me feel right at home!

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  8. Where was this event? It would be something Bill and I would enjoy going to. Looks like you had a fun day.


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