Sunday, May 17, 2009

Take Me To The Fair

Yesterday, world's-most-patient-husband and I took a jaunt to a historical site called the Claude Moore Colonial Farm, in McLean, Virginia. The park shows life on a tenant farm in 1771. Among Virginia's many historical sites, this one provides a different view of colonial times than Williamsburg's townspeople or Mount Vernon's rather well known wealthy landowner.

This was the weekend of a Colonial Market Fair, when people would have gathered from across the countryside to buy and sell their wares, take a break from their labors, and socialize a bit. What an unexpected pleasure it turned out to be. I might just have to add it to my annual calendar, in the long dry spell between Maryland Sheep and Wool and the Fall Fiber Festival.

There was a pub.

There were market stalls with all kinds of handmade items, like furniture, and jewelry, and toys, and clothing, and soaps, and mobcaps and sewing trinkets. There were well- costumed and engaging interpreters everywhere, mingling with the modern-day visitors.

There was lunch rotating on the spit. And there were no outside vendors, with sodas and fast food. The lunch offered to visitors really was what was being cooked here, offered along-side sausages, and butter-cake, and all manner of authentic fare being prepared on the spot.

There were turkeys roaming around, calmly picking their way hither and yon at a stately pace, minded by a patient turkey-herder.

And, what do you know, there were spinners. And very chatty spinners they were, too. From them I learned that wool from Hog Island sheep is a favorite of re- enactors, since, rare though it is now, it's an authentic breed raised commonly at the time. That's what they were spinning here, and the roving had a nice bouncy feel.

(World's-most-patient-husband's comment on seeing the spinners? "Now I know why we had to come." But I didn't know they would be there, honestly! It may have crossed my mind that it might be a possibility, its having been a necessity of colonial times and all. But it wasn't a plot! Not really. :)

I found a couple of irresistible things for myself at the stall with the sewing supplies: a sheep molded of beeswax from right on the farm, and a needlecase simply wrought from warmly rich-looking wood. And from the full-time giftshop out front, a jar of local honey.

I'm not sure what to do with a beeswax sheep, but I loved him, so home he came. He looks alarmingly like something edible, though, so I think I'd better keep him out of the kitchen and out of danger.

I thought I'd use the needlecase to hold the tapestry needles I use for knitting projects, to seam up and sew in ends. It would be a nice change from the plastic tube that the Chibi needles came in. Unfortunately, I hadn't reckoned well; the needles were a half-inch too long to fit. My cross-stitch and needlepoint needles, on the other hand, fit quite nicely. So I'll still use and cherish my little holder.

Just not as often.


Robin said...

I love these kind of events. Used to do Plantation Days at Ashlawn Highlands. Was always sooo much fun!

cathy said...

There were rug hookers there, too. Is that what you used to do? Did you dress up? Fun!

Anonymous said...

That looks like such a great day!