Monday, May 24, 2010

Worn out, broken down, rusted, and busted!

Our blacksmith shop is 183 years old. Several more of our buildings are more than 200 years old. At the shop we have had to become skilled at fixing things that are worn out, broken down, rotten, or busted! Hinge pins wear down, latches get bent, tools break, and even floorboards wear through. A small but important part of our trade is to make the hardware, fasteners and tools needed to get our museum in fine fettle.
The most humble yet unavoidable need is for nails. We make a number of kinds of forged nails. Rose headed nails, common nails, two-penny nails, ten-penny spikes, and door nails perfect for clinching. Last year we used around 2,000 hand-forged nails. Once, when doing a major repair, our shop needed to make that many in two days!

When the farmers repaired the 1830’s plow, the wooden plow beam was worn, rotten, and missing hardware. Our replacement utilized the dimensions of the original and the rust stains indicating missing hardware.
Old hardware and tools often have corroded, bent, and broken bolts. Making new bolts, nuts, and washers is part of the restoration process. We replace fasteners with new ones made using the same methods and tools as the original part.

The Farmers’ Museum has a dozen buildings that are nearing two centuries of daily use. Our craftspeople and farmers are working daily using traditional tools. For the blacksmith shop it is not a question of whether things will get broken and need repair, but rather a question of what will need fixing today!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Spring Chores at the Lippitt Farm

Spring brings a wide array of chores at the farm.  It is time to prepare for spring planting and for all of the new animals that will be born.  The gardens and fields must be plowed to break ground for spring planting. The farm grows vegetable, grains, hops, and hay for the animals. One chore is plowing the fields and garden plots.  Here is the first plowing with the newly repaired 1830's plow!  Farmers Wayne and Marieanne are working with Zeb our Percheron to plow a garden plot outside of the Lippitt farmhouse.
The farmers fertilized the hop yard with compost last fall, and now are putting up the poles for the hop vines to climb.  This year's hop vines will be trained to climb the wooden poles.
Spring is also the season of births on the farm. Our Cayuga ducks, Dominic chickens, and turkeys are laying eggs. The farmers are encouraging broody hens to sit on the nests and hatch more young for the farmyard. The ducks have made a nest and are sitting on it dilligently.
Daisy Mae is a Milking Shorthorn cow and provides milk for the farmhouse to bake, make butter, and  cheese.
Daisy Mae had a calf in mid-April. The calf is 3 days old is this picture.  Help name our new calf!

Our sheep have just started lambing.  Here are the sheep enjoying the sunshine and one of the triplets born 4/26/2010.

Spring on the farm is a season of constantly changing weather, hard work, and pleasant surprises.
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