|Yard work at the family estate|
|Grillin' with Dylan|
|Celebrating Holly and Grace's birthdays|
|Visiting Tower Hill|
|Stories for the niece|
|Eager to dig in to some roast rabbit|
|Jonny dishes out the real bacon|
Jon and Shelley have been the farm managers for two years, and they, along with a few other paid staff and volunteers, facilitate the smooth operation of the museum. Both Jonny and Shelley have many years of historical interpreting under their belt, and met while working at Plymouth Plantation. In addition to interpreting, Shelley also plays the harp at weddings, and is a talented and sought after musician. We loved listening to her practice, including the occasional harp renditions of modern hits such as "Paint it Black" by the Rolling Stones. Jonny is a great storyteller, and often regaled us with his historical and agricultural knowledge. He is also an amazing cook, and we were treated to such delectable dinners as goat and chickpea stew, pasta with pesto and scallops, leg of mutton, and roast rabbit.
|Visitors enjoying Breakfast in the Barnyard|
|Bo going to meet his fans|
|This tree formed a cavernous room|
|Holly likes rocks|
On Sunday there was a special picnic for museum members, after which we got to enjoy a historically correct, hearth-made meal of squash and beans from the garden, gingerbread, leftover Johnny cakes, and salt pork (meat from last year's pig, soaked in a wooden barrel of brine for the last nine months).
|The geese had a habit of ganging up on inanimate objects.|
For the rest of the week we did garden maintenance for two gardens, the first being the museum garden which is historically accurate both in its contents and layout. Shelley also tries to use only historically accurate tools and methods of pest control. The second garden is Jonny and Shelley's personal modern garden where they are free to experiment with modern organic methods. One of these methods Shelley was trying was growing potatoes in a 3'x4' potato box. The idea builds on the concept of hilling potatoes; in theory, if dirt is continually built up around the plant, it will keep producing potatoes, even to the height of 4'. Shelley tried it last year, but her first attempt did not hold up through the season, and she wanted a sturdier box. It took us a few days, but in the end we had an impressive box with removable slats.
|First haircut of the trip|
|Randy triumphantly displays his quarry|
|Haying with the help of a feral Lincoln|
|Holly secures the load|
Our next big project was ripping out the decaying floor of the chicken coop and installing a rat-proof replacement. We learned that you cannot replace one aspect of a 20 year old shed without affecting everything else. We measured the floor at least eighteen times, and every time we put one piece in it changed the measurements of the next piece, meaning we also had to cut and re-cut every piece of wood several times. After four days of work, we finally had new floor joists, a subfloor, a layer of wire, and then the flooring. Jonny and Shelley helped us finish up the project, and after putting in roosts, fixing a window, and securing the door, the chicken coop was good as new.
|The chickens were very helpful|
|Our finished coop|
Another byproduct of the storm was the flooding of the Cabriolet. A good rule of thumb for convertibles is that for every role you have in the roof, you should have one in the floor. Otherwise you end up bailing water out of the bottom with a milk jug and towels.
With our visit coming to an end, our last day was spent packing, cleaning, and taking their canoe out for a spin. After we got back from our row, Jonny and Shelley took us out to their favorite restaurant, the Beehive, which uses local and organic ingredients. Everything was crazy good, and we had a lovely, leisurely dinner. Right about the time were loosening our belts and trying to figure out how to stand up, they mentioned "so we really come here for the desserts," which were equally incredible. It was a perfect end to a wonderful visit.
|Holly has difficulty with the drop spindle|
|Getting a spinning lesson from Shelley|
|Randy, Holly, Shelley, and Jonny with Frankie|
|Shelley and her affectionate chickens|
|Randy enjoys weekly visits to NEGG, the local gaming group|