Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why did the Ducks cross the road at The Farmers' Museum?

To get the the pond, of course!  Our Cayuga ducks were busily working in the field this spring after a late snow.  They forage much of the day for their food.

Ducks eat both plants and insects.  They looked very intent as they worked through the new grass near the pond.

They moved right into the pond.  Ducks have feathers and down that insulate them from the cold water.

They love to swim, and looked for tasty treats in the water.

Cayuga are "Puddle Ducks", not "Diving Ducks". They tip up and reach underwater for food, but don't swim underwater like a Loon or Cormorant.  They also splash water on themselves to groom their feathers.

If you visit us at The Farmers' Museum be sure to walk down to the Farm and visit the ducks!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Traditional Barn and Gate Hinges at The Farmers' Museum.

The Farmers' Museum has a wealth of traditional buildings, garden gates, and farm gates with forged hinges. 

Our hardware is purposefully not all of the same style.  That allows us to demonstrate a wide range of traditional hardware.

Pintle and Gudgeon hinges are found on barn doors and are usefull as hinges that carry a heavy load. The L shaped part that nails or bolts to a beam and forms the pivot is the Pintle. 

The loop on the Hinge Strap that acts as the bearing surface is the Gudgeon.   These are very strong and work well regardless of the weather. 

Hay loft door often have strap hinges with pintles and gudgeons.  These are on our Hop Barn and the Morey Barn.

Pintle Hinges are found on many of our barn doors and some of the field and paddock gates. The long strap of the hinge makes the door or gate quite strong.

That is important when Farm animals are leaning on the gate!  If my hinge broke that would leave me feeling sheepish!  There are some special purpose hinges on our grounds as well.  One of my favorites are the self-closing garden gate hinges. 

These are on the Dimmick House garden gate.

Cut at an angle, they use gravity to shut the gate automatically after it has been opened. They are quite handsome as well.  This is only a small sample of the many types and styles of hinges here at The Farmers' Museum.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Making Maple Syrup at The Farmers' Museum!

Each Sunday in March the Farmers' at our Museum prepare to gather Maple sap and boil it down to make Maple Syrup.  Here at The Farmers' Museum the public are invited to come visit, have a pancake breakfast, and to join the Farmers as they make Maple syrup.

The first step is tapping the trees.  Sap is drawn from the Maple trees using a spout called a Spile. 
A hole is drilled in the tree for the spile.

Each tree generally has one or two spiles and buckets.

In 1845 the buckets were wood.  We also use the tinned buckets that have been popular for the last 100 years.

We use our draft animals to help collect the maple sap.  Since 40 gallons of sap is needed to make one gallon of syrup there is a lot to haul!  Here is a picture of collecting the sap with oxen.

The sap then needs to be boiled down to make syrup.  The oldest method is to use an iron pot over the fire. 

The newer method is to use a flat bottomed evaporator pan.  Here is our pan over the fire starting to boil the sap!

Come join us on a Sunday in March to see traditional Sugaring Off! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Winter Snow on the Blacksmith Shop.

Winter is here in Central New York as we head into the Holiday Season.

Warmest Holiday wishes from all of us at the Peleg Fields Blacksmith Shop!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Candlelight Evening at the Blacksmith Shop - 2011

Our busiest night of the year is Candlelight Evening, Saturday Dec. 10th, 2011. Thousands of candles and several bonfires will light up our grounds at this yearly event.

Many visitors make a special trip for this event each year. It is the only chance to experience the whole Museum after dark! The Museum opens at 3pm and closes at 7pm.

It will be a busy night in the Peleg Field Blacksmith Shop. We will have 6 blacksmiths working in the shop Saturday night.

Our projects will include making large door hinges and forging a large cross pein sledge-hammer head. It should be a good night with lots of big iron being heated in the fire and worked at the anvil.

If you come to Candlelight Evening swing through the shop and say hello. We may not be able to talk long as we will have a lot of irons in the fire!  Come enjoy the candlelight, firelight, and hot mulled cider!  Best wishes for a Happy Holiday from all of us in the Blacksmith Shop.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Blacksmith Tool Making: Forging a Flatter.

One of the more unusual tools used in Blacksmithing is the Flatter. It looks like a strange square hammer, but is really a tool that is held on the iron and struck with a hammer. It is used to smooth out bumps and hammer marks from the finished iron.

This is a difficult tool to forge due to the huge difference in size between the square working face and the body of the tool. They could be made by forging from one piece or by forge welding two pieces together. We made one by forging it from one piece.  Blacksmith Eric is shown in these pictures.

The starting size was a bar 1.25 inches in diameter. That was upset while hot until it reached 2.25 inches in diameter. That requires the difficult and repetitive work of upsetting.

The body of the flatter then needs shaping. The hammer hole is hot punched through the body.

The tool is hot filed to get closer to the finished shape.  After it has cooled it can be filed to the finished shize and shape.

The flatter will be cleaned up, get a wooden handle, and be put into use.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tool Making: Forging a Tobacco Spear

At the Peleg Field Blacksmith shop we get to make or repair a lot of tools. This year the Lippitt farm experimented with Tobacco, a crop once common from Conneticut through New York and the Genesee reigion.

What is a tobacco Spear? It is a removable point put on a sawn piece of lathe. It allows you to harvest the tobacco by drying it on a stick hanging from the rafters. The point is threaded through the heavy stalk the and plants are hung to dry on the lathe.

How was it made? The hollow socket is made by cutting 16 gauge sheet metal to match our template. It is folded hot into a flattened cone-shaped tube. The edges overlap and will be forge welded.

Forge welding a hollow object presents some difficulties. How can you hit it to weld without crushing it? We made a mandrel that fits inside the socket and holds it while welding. That worked fairly well.
Socket and point parts.

The socket is fluxed and forge welded. Then the point, which is forged from solid bar, is inserted into the socket and that is forge welded into place.
Welding the point

The finished Tobacco Spear was sent down to the farm and was used in our harvest.

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