Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Inside a Story: The Eighteenth Century Market Fair at Locust Grove

Autumn playsThree Graces with a little girl
from The Kentucky History Club
"We're inside a story, Mama," Noah remarked, his hair outlined in copper and gold against a sun-warmed log-cabin wall. A good choice for a story, and an excellent choice for a day. Clearest sunshine, air cool in the lungs but not biting, Locust Grove's trees at full color.

All around us, a busy market. It was the smells that made it most real: sides of pork spitted and roasting, Carolina rice in a giant kettle, the charcoal from multiple braziers and the blacksmith's forge, the fires from the big kitchen and the woodworker's cabin, cheddar cheese, roasting pumpkins, apples, unfiltered cider, crushed grass, straw, horse dung, and sometimes the odd scent of slow match or black powder.

Then there were all the sights, and the people to talk with and the stories to fall into. And the music: from military bagpipes to penny whistles to the human voice.

Trying yoyos.
Not one of us wanted to leave, and we had been there nearly the entire day: three of us were four years old and three, Jenni, Laura, and myself, were adult, and all six were as blithe as blithe. I want to go back inside the story!

Our Day, Narrated by Christopher and Noah

The bread and cheese wagon arrives.

Miss Autumn joins in the country dance.
Playing the drum and fife for stray coins.

Excited to buy good bread and cheese. They came wrapped together
with a twist of paper.
Munching on the bread and cheese...a second lunch,
hee hee.

The country dance.
A Continental soldier.
A German woman on her way to her camp.
They said the horses were a little spooked today.
The Braunschweigers with their German Shepherd.
When the boys saw these girls race to explore the springhouse,
they raced there too.
The pair of girls try to explain that the door
lock beneath was unpickable :}
The boys find water at the springhouse. We think that you
could store milk pails here.
Noah looks at the water. Just feet from the springhouse,
the actual spring bubbled from the earth, guarded closelt by trees and underbrush .
Noah explains that he thinks that the stream goes under
the springhouse.
The boys watch the blacksmith make
a double hook to hang from a ridgepole,
as Christopher explained to me later.
Christopher says the blacksmith was pumping air
with his bellows into his forge.
Chukka-chukka-chukka, sings the spinning wheel.
Demonstrating drawing the yarn. The spinner then
explored how all yarn is twisted, using roving and
willing pairs of children's hands.
The juggler on his ladder. Noah and Christopher
say that he had to take little steps with his ladder
forward and backward to keep fom falling over.
The soldiers were getting ready for a battle, says Christopher. And there I
am looking, says Noah, but I wasn't really fond of the soldiers.
In fact, we did not watch the battle...but when we thought it was
over, and came to peek, it was not over! Oops, away we went again.
Leading the way to the big kitchen, where a very large fire
burned in the enormous fireplace. The room was full of
vegetables, fruits, and cooks. Then the rat catcher arrived,
and said, "I heard there were some rats here in the kitchen."
But Christopher says, I think he thought the potatoes were rats.
[Sadly, I did not catch a shot of the kitchen.]
A view of the Continental camp. Christopher says he wishes
I had a picture of the candy shop. They bought maple sugar candy and
licorice but not gobstoppers, because they were too big.
Where our first lunch was cooked: we had Carolina rice cooked
in a giant kettle, mixed with roasted pork from a spit. There
were pumpkins roasting, but those treats were not for us, sigh.
Late afternoon cider.
Fun with Noah.
Exploring underneath the table.
More exploration, throughs cracks in the table.
The soldiers' retreat. Right now they are letting their prisoners
go, says Noah.
The very last scene...the day ends for us, while the soldiers and
their families get ready for an evening of feasting, singing, and company.
The day is over, says Christopher, and now it's time to go home and have dinner.


MrsC said...

How wonderful to see such a special day through two different generation's eyes!

ZipZip said...

Thank you! It has been so special that I can hardly contain myself. They each see different things and when we three put our thoughts together...it's entirely cool. This is one of the best parts of being a parent: sharing events.



Sarah said...

That looks like such a fun day! Is this in Kentucky? I just finished a book set in Kentucky during the war of 1812. Love this...thanks for sharing!


ZipZip said...

Dear Sarah,

You are most welcome. Yes, Locust grove is in Louisville, Kentucky. It's the former home of George Rogers Clark, and it's a very special place. Neat about your book. What's the title?

Very best,