Flossie’s Fridays: Week 45

Flossie wants to go ahead and invite you to an upcoming program we are having on September 26th. For the second year, we are participating in the Smithsonian magazine museum day live! event.

20150910_104204

You can learn more about the event and get tickets for two people to get free tours of the 1751 Palmer-Marsh House and 1830 Bonner House on that day!  It is a perfect chance for you to get a parent or another history loving adult to bring you to Historic Bath Site.  Flossie says to come by and have your picture made with her if you come so we can post the photos of your visit!

In addition to free historic house tours for two people, have we got a line-up of fun and FREE stuff for you to see and do!  Some activities will be near the visitor center, some at the Bonner House and one exciting event will take place at our state dock, located on South Main Street, across the road from the Palmer-Marsh House.  There will be awesome volunteers doing hearth cooking, making cornhusk dolls, and demonstrating ropemaking – you can make a piece to keep as a souvenir. There will be a really cool display about the real treasures of Bath Towne with associated activities.  There will be a “quilting” opportunity, but instead of using a needle and thread, you will make your quilt using fabric glued onto a piece of paper.

We are very excited that Mr. Scott Huler of the Lawson Trek project will paddle up to our state dock at 2 p.m. (or thereabouts……who can predict the water and wind conditions!). At 3 p.m. Mr. Huler will give a short talk about his project as he has retraced Bath Towne founder John Lawson’s trip from Charlestown, SC  (they later dropped the “w” to be Charleston) to an area near today’s town of Washington, about 17 miles west of Bath.  John Lawson was so important to Bath’s beginnings since he surveyed and laid out town streets, had a home here, etc. that Mr. Huler kindly agreed to include us in his trek – in fact, we’re the last stop!  We are looking forward to his visit and are very interested in his work.  Check out his website about the project at http://www.lawsontrek.com/.

Go to http://www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday/tickets/?no-ist= to get your free tickets through Smithsonian magazine!  We look forward to seeing you here on the 26th!

Flossie’s Fridays: Week 44

Flossie is excited to be back in contact with you again.  Fairy school has started up again (has yours?) and she took a tour of the Van Der Veer garden.  Historic Bath Site’s garden is located behind the 1790 Van Der Veer House, and it is also a memorial garden dedicated to Dr. Herbert Paschal who loved Bath and wrote a book about it in the 1950s.

20150901_144853

The summer plants are starting to die off and be replaced with fall/winter crops.  Flossie loves watching the pumpkin vines grow.  She will really be excited when she starts to see little pumpkins growing!

20150901_145148

Seeing the tiny rutabaga plants sprouting up after recent rains has been fun to watch, too.  However, Flossie thinks they STINK when cooking!  She hasn’t been able to develop a taste for this vegetable, but don’t take a fairy’s word for it – try them for yourself! Rutabagas are a root crop, so they will be developing under the dirt as they grow, like potatoes and carrots do.

20150901_145042

Today, many people garden as a hobby and enjoy eating the produce they harvest.  In the past, people really depended on their crops in order to feed their families.  Remember, there wasn’t a Food Lion or Harris Teeter down the road back in the 1700s!  Even well into the 1900s, it was sometimes hard for people to get to town from rural locations (imagine narrow dirt roads with big potholes after a lot of rain), so crops were stored in various ways to keep them good for a number of months.  Three methods of food preparation and storage come to Flossie’s mind from her garden lesson – burying root crops and cabbages in the ground and insulating them with straw was one way to keep food stored through the cooler winter months.  Another way to preserve some fruits (plums, apples), vegetables (carrots and corn) and even meat (fish and beef) was by drying the food by air, the sun or even in front of a fireplace.  The removal of moisture from the food helps prevent spoiling.  The third method Flossie learned about was salting the food.  The salt and saltpeter (potassium nitrate for the young scientists!) also work to draw out moisture that causes decay in meat and harmful organisms can’t live in that much salt!  Most hog killings, and other butchering (such as of deer killed on hunts) would take place in cold weather.  That way, the salt had the chance to work on preserving the meat before it could spoil.  There is a photograph of a smokehouse in the top photograph of this blog entry.  Some meat would be hung from the rafters inside the smokehouse after being packed in barrels full of salt for six weeks or more.  Have you ever tasted salty country ham?  That flavor would have been in much of the food eaten in days gone by.

Today life is different with the invention of electricity and refrigeration.  Although most people in America don’t have to depend on raising their own gardens or butchering animals we hunt or raise for food, it is a good idea to learn some of the old ways.  If you have a grandparent who wants to show you how to raise the best tomatoes or has hints on how to get a chicken to lay lots of eggs for you, pay attention!  It is important knowledge that is being forgotten over time and you may want to know how to do some of this stuff one day!

Flossie is tired now……..she loves sleeping on the marigolds because the flowers feel like little cushions!  The strongly scented marigolds are planted in Historic Bath’s garden because the smell keeps away some pests……since fairies are not pests, Flossie isn’t affected in the slightest!

20150901_145104

Grits Are Like Family

Our State magazine just tweeted about one of their latest issue’s articles. This Emily Wallace article is about that Southern comfort food called grits. Most people probably have a love/hate relationship with this food……for me, it is love.  My mother hated grits, but she often fed them to her family.  That practice also spells l-o-v-e to me, because the pot and bowls left behind are hot messes to be sure!

My favorite quote from Ms. Wallace’s article is “Grits are like family – a touchstone of place and identity.”  Food can mean a lot of things……….not just sustenance for the body. What foods speak to you of childhood mornings or cozy nights by the fire or the best dish you ate while visiting Charleston?

Find this article and so many interesting things about North Carolina, the state I love, at http://www.ourstate.com.

Flossie’s Fridays: Week 43

Flossie wants to apologize for not being out and about lately to visit with you.  She lives in the site manager’s office, and due to some medical treatments that Flossie’s human has been having, she hasn’t had the chance to get out of the office much!

Flossie just wants to say that she will be back to teach children more about Historic Bath Site by the time school starts back in the late summer/fall season.  In the meantime, she invites you to come visit and find out for yourself what is in Bath to enjoy this summer!  In the photograph below, she is playing in the Van Der Veer garden.

On Saturday, July 18th, we will have a special pirate re-enactment program….come see Lieutenant Maynard of the British Royal Navy as he comes to Bath to report to Captain Brand about the battle in which Blackbeard lost his life.  The pirates will set up camp and there will be afternoon lectures for the grown ups; the program is free and runs from 10-4. (The narrated arrival of the RN into Bath will occur at the State Dock area at 10 a.m.)  Ask your parents to sign you up for summer day camps about PIRATES, come take a tour of an old house and find out what a basement kitchen was like in the 1700s!  Come get a scavenger hunt sheet and roam the old village streets for yourself.  You can find Bath events at http://nccultureevents.com/ or call the site at 252-923-3971 to learn more about programs or the day camps offered on Thursdays this month.DSC04435

Flossie’s Fridays: Week 42

Flossie likes the edge drinking coffee gives her just before fairy racing, so she was interested in learning how much colonials enjoyed drinking hot beverages.  One way they might have prepared tea or coffee would be by using a beverage urn, much like the one you see in the photograph below.DSC04269

This artifact is made of painted tinware that was coated with an oil varnish and heated at a high temperature.  That process was called japanning (because its look copied Japanese lacquerwork used on furniture). The technique created a durable surface that has helped some of the original painted design remain, although much of it is now worn off.  There is a sieve under the lid on which Flossie sits.  That’s where you would place the tea or coffee.  Hot water would be poured over the sieve and then hot coals placed inside a tray on the back bottom side of the urn would keep the beverage warm.  You can see the spout on the front.  Flossie thinks this beverage urn is like a Mr. Coffee machine, just without electricity!

Gift Shop Additions

Historic Bath has a gift shop with a wide variety of items for sale such as books, t-shirts, flags, artwork, handmade crafts, and acid free kits for scrap- bookers.  We are attempting to sell more handmade and locally crafted items from North Carolina and Beaufort County, especially.

DSC04354 DSC04355

We have started to sell some new items and one new artist Mrs. Sutler Renee Ridenour.  She moved to Havelock, North Carolina in the 1980s.  She was born in the western mountains of Pennsylvania.  She started sewing and crafting as a teenager.  Her husband is a retired Marine.  Together they participate in Civil War Reenactments up and down the East Coast from Florida up to Canada, and west from Fort Macon out to Memphis, Tennessee.  Renee learned quickly that her sewing and crafting could help fund their reenacting hobby.  Historic Bath met Renee and her husband at the 150th Civil War Reenactment at Bentonville, North Carolina earlier this year.  She sells a variety of handwoven items such as Church Dolls, regular-sized Haversacks, small Haversacks, checkerboard sets, Ball and Cup, and Housewife Sets.  All of these hand sewn and hand crafted items sell in the range of $4 to $20 plus tax.

DSC04353

We are also excited to offer some scrapbooking supplies for our gift shop guests.  We are now carrying a Pirate and Genealogy scrapbook paper and sticker pack that Karen Foster Designs made.  These kits can be helpful in capturing those summer vacation or family vacation genealogy memories!  Kits are available for $8 plus tax.

DSC04347DSC04348

Roger and Lynne Gerber started Coast to Coast “C2C” because they love to travel.  They have visited 48 states and 38 countries!  Most of the traveling was done during the 1970s when they were part of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.  They started this most recent tour of the United States in 2014; once their kids flew the coop and got big kahuna jobs!  They traveled throughout the Midwest and Southern parts of the United States camping and trekking through everything from Waterfalls to Rain Forests.  Along the way they attempted to find small momentous to remember the places, people, and stories that they visited.  They could not find something to their exact cup of tea and decided instead to make coasters of the spectacular and unique places that they visited throughout the United States.  These coasters have little fun facts and dates about these historic sites and attractions.  Roger and Lynne plan on finishing their tour by 2020 of all 50 states.  They are hoping that these coasters can be the start of new adventures; that you and your family can start on your own!

DSC04345

Historic Bath Site is pleased to be one of the first historic sites and attractions in North Carolina to be included in the C2C.  We also have a coaster that is $2 plus tax that we are selling.  This is number 8 of the state wide tour of historic sites throughout the state.  The most eastern site noted is Bath, NC, the most southern is Fort Fisher and Fort Anderson near Wilmington, North Carolina and the most western is the Reed Gold Mind in Midland, North Carolina.  The first 50 people to buy the Bath, North Carolina Coaster will receive the State Capital Coaster for free!

My name is Chuck Guard and this is my first of many gift shop updates – feel free to drop by, say hello and share any ideas you may have for the Historic Bath Gift Shop.  Then be sure to buy something to support us!