Monday, May 13, 2013

Shaker Village and Steamboat Ride - Harrodsburg, Kentucky

We went to Shaker Village (http://www.shakervillageky.org/) in Harrodsburg with our fellow homeschoolers on a fieldtrip today (May 13, 2013). Harrodsburg is around 40 minutes from our house on the other side of Lexington. The primary attraction was the sheep sheering, but the entire place was extremely interesting. The only problem was I was overly ambitious thinking I could handle my crew on my own... The other mothers were of course more than happy to help and were wonderful, but I still felt bad asking for their assistance since they obviously all have small children as well. We're going to have to come back here in the future with Daddy, Grammy and Grand-Dad. Or anyone who comes to visit for that matter, this place is really neat!
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One of the very first stops we made this morning was to watch the sheep being sheered. The kids all thought it was hilarious that they sit the sheep up on it's back legs. They were also impressed with the speed they managed to completely sheer the sheep.
 
We were also able watch someone card the wool and spin it into yarn. She also explained to us that the Shaker's used to raise silkworms (life cycle of a silkworm in the picture on the right) to make silk as well as wool. We were told that while the average American woman in the 1700 and 1800s had 2-3 clothing items the average Shaker woman had 120!
                                                                       
 We were able to watch the process of dying some maroon yarn. They were using Brazilian wood in order to get this pretty color. 
We were able to watch work on several looms. They demonstrated the finer work on a shawl as well as how rugs were woven.
 Reagan wanted to know what the large black "thing" was. Our guide told us the name (which I can't remember), but basically he said it's an enormous crock pot. I know the Shakers all worked together and that was the point, but still can you imagine cooking anything anywhere close to that size???
As well as the sheep sheering to cloak process we were able to watch various tradesmen at work. Here was someone working on wood/carving detail.
I think one of the most interesting processes we saw was broom making. Until the industrial revolution one of the products commonly made and sold by Shakers were their brooms.
 The kids were able to watch a blacksmith at work as well
Jackson didn't want to go into the music session so we decided to stay outside. That was fine with McKinley who was perfectly content to sleep. :)
We were also able to see examples of the agriculture of Shaker Village. They have some pretty big gardens! Again it's hard for me to imagine managing all of this even with the help of many other women!
I don't remember the name of the breed of these oxen but they are apparently quite rare. There were less than 100 left in the world before a farmer actively began working to bring the breed back. There are currently between 600-700 alive today with approximately 300 of those breeding.
After our visit to Shaker Village we drove around the corner for a Steamboat ride. Jackson was pretty excited about the boat, but once we got on he told me he was afraid of falling into the water. When we got home tonight he explained to Tim he was afraid the alligators or crocodiles might eat him. Needless to say we were pretty safe from the alligators and crocodiles and the only semi-aquatic wildlife we saw today were sunbathing turtles.
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Jackson was pretty excited about the paddles on the back of the steamboat
 Reagan, Maddie and Kennedy ready to go
 Jackson and Travis were ready too! We're sure going to miss these guys when the move next month!
 Jackson and Carter (who Reagan may or may not have a bit of a crush on...) She thinks he's super smart and especially knowledgeable of all things having to do with the Roman Empire. :)
 A few of our crew ready to go

 Missy K found a new buddy today in Ms. Erica. She somehow got Ms. Erica to carry her around quite a bit at Shaker Village and then plunked herself down next to her to snuggle for most of the Steamboat ride. Missy K is my silly and sweet girl for sure!
 We passed under this train bridge which for a short period of time was apparently the tallest bridge in the world. The bridge was originally built of iron and then later on steel was placed over it to strengthen it due to the increasing weight of trains. The process of changing it to steel took 2 years and was done so that the bridge was out of service only 1 day during that 2 year period. I believe they said the steel bridge was completed in 1911. It doesn't look quite so big in this picture but there are two tracks and trains can and do pass each other on this bridge.
 Sorry for the quality of these pictures! When we arrived at Shaker Village I realized I had forgotten my camera... Thank goodness for cell phones even if they don't do quite as good a job!
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This was such a neat day and a fabulous field trip! We will definitely be going back here in the future so if you have any plans to visit us, mark this down as a must see! :) Maybe we can even make it an overnight trip since I believe you can stay onsite! :)


2 comments:

  1. Good enough.

    We went there 30 or so years ago, but I don't recall much about the place.

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    1. It was very interesting! I didn't realize that Shakers didn't marry or have children. I also found it interesting that the religion has nearly died out as a result of the benefits of the industrial revolution which provided men better opportunities for taking care of their families. It was all really interesting. There are only 3 Shakers left alive today and they live in Maine.

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