Archive for September, 2012

September 25, 2012 |  by  |  No Comments

Two days of rain and blowing winds at Weather Hill.  At the storm’s height I began to worry over how well Weather Hill’s 230 year old house might fair.  At such times I find solace in Eric Sloane’s sentiments concerning old American houses…if it has withstood 230 springs, summers, autumns, and winters, it will likely outlast me, too.

Eric Sloane and Descending Winds

September 18, 2012 |  by  |  No Comments

The beginnings of a gale at Weather Hill Farm.  Eric wrote of how winds descend from aloft so I took notice last evening of how fast the clouds were rolling in from the south – a portend of high winds and much rain.

A muffled series of thumps awoke me at 4:30 this morning.  Alarmed at first,  I came to realize that it was just the sound of large walnuts falling upon the roof from some of the great Walnut trees that surround the house at Weather Hill.  Eric indeed was correct – overnight, the winds had descended from aloft and were now helping to begin the lives of a new generation of Walnut trees at Weather Hill.

I did chuckle in the darkness over a joke my grandfather told me decades ago. An aged New England farmer called on a young  landscaper to help plant some Walnut trees the farmer had started from seeds a few years prior.  “Why do you want to plant those Walnuts?” the landscaper demanded, “they’ll take a hundred years to grow into mature trees!”. “Well then”, the annoyed old man replied, “you’d better get here as soon as you can and start planting.”

Eric’s tales of descending wind, that wind now working in concert with the Walnut trees to help shepherd their offspring to the ground, and my grandfather’s joke coalesced into the perfect tonic to help me drift peacefully back to sleep…

How to become a Friend of the Eric Sloane Museum

September 5, 2012 |  by  |  No Comments

Please consider becoming a Friend of the Eric Sloane Museum.  The best way to do this is to attend the October 6th Harvest Party on the grounds of the Eric Sloane Museum in Kent, Ct.  This fun, historic, and educational event is FREE and will include FREE admission to the museum, early American demonstrators working in the trades of lacemaking, candle dipping, redware pottery, blacksmithing, tinsmithing, basket weaving, spinning and carding, and early American tools.  Additionally, musicians will stroll through the grounds as artists paint and sculpt.  Food, drinks, and pies will be available for sale, along with pumpkins and other goodies.  Children are especially encouraged to attend – there will be lots and lots of games and activities!

Please bring friends and family and especially children to this event.  There will be information available on how to join as a member of the friends group, a group dedicated to supporting the mission of the Eric Sloane Museum and the  preservation of the museum.  Please consider joining on the 6th and additionally purchasing gift memberships for friends and family.  If you cannot attend the event but would like membership information sent to you, please email me through this site and I will make sure that information is sent to you.  Thank you and we hope to see you on the 6th!

September 3, 2012 |  by  |  No Comments

Started the old truck to take the trip over the mountain to see my farmer.  Once the engine warmed, it is easy to climb over the grounds where iron ore was removed in the 18th century.  The trees are beginning to show signs of autumn.  One of my favorites is the walnut – it’s leaves fall to the ground like large snow flakes, spinning and glistening in the autumnal sun.  The shape of the tree, more visible as the leaves fall, itself seems to be the shape of autumn.

My farmer is a gentleman who speaks softly.  I find him cleaning the cow pen under the large Swiss-German barn. He’s got a head set on, listening to what I assume is music, but I quickly learn I am wrong after he gives me a friendly wave and pulls the headset off.

“You’re not watching the Penn State game?” he asks incredulously.

“No, I’ve come for hay.  Do you have some for sale?”

He still can’t believe that someone who could be watching the Penn State game isn’t.  It isn’t the time for me to explain that I don’t watch television.  I am not sure he would understand anyway.  Our conversation drifts naturally to the weather and the impending harvest.

I thought of our encounter as I load the truck by hand.  How different our conversation would have flowed had it been 200 years earlier.  Today, through the magic and power of a myriad of forms of communication, we can both speak of a game that is being played in real time some 150 miles away.  I could only just imagine the topics of conversation of our 18th century counterparts, the surprise over news that might be a week or months old, two gentlemen discussing the weather and the harvest.

As I drove home back over the mountain, the truck groaning with the weight and the grade, I mused over these thoughts.  I took comfort in the idea that, despite a game being played and broadcast directly to my friend, my gentleman farmer and I still conversed about the weather and the harvest, a conversation that would have been enthusiastically joined by our 18th century counterparts…