Friday, September 20, 2013

Rose Hill Manor Park & Children's Museum--The Other Buildings

Once done with the house tour, we visited several of the other buildings on the Rose Hill Manor Park. The first stop was the village smithy. The estate did not have its own smithy--one was added when it became a museum. Pat, our tour guide, led us into the smithy's building where we could see his work.

The Village Smithy

The building was dark inside. She turned on the electric lights and we saw the forge where the smithy built objects needed by the locals. She said that boys would be sent as apprentices at the age of seven and work for seven years as apprentices learning the trade. When time was up, the graduating apprentice was given a pair of iron tongs and a hammer. He then had to go off and find work. The forge is still in use on special days by a local man who loves working the metal and is good at talking to groups while he works.

The forge

The bellows and other equipment

The sales display

We also toured a more humble house, a log cabin. This building is more likely what regular folks would have lived in during the late 1700s and early 1800s.

The log cabin

Inside is one room with the kitchen, beds, and loft storage area all open. Pat said that a family with six children might live in such a house. The bed was used by the parents; a small cradle used by any small babies; everyone else would have slept on pallets, which were mats with straw stuffed inside. The pallets (and the bed's mattress) would have to be taken out regularly for airing, lest funky smells and bugs start crawling through. J wasn't worried about sitting on his pallet as he listened.

Fireplace/cooking area

Dining table

J listens on his pallet

J should have been worried though, because Pat brought up the fact that they had no running water in the house and no stream nearby either. In order to have water for daily use, a child would be sent with a bucket to the river. The empty bucket was heavy. What made water fetching even heavier was the two bucket system that involved a yoke for both buckets. J volunteered to try it out, but it was a little too heavy for his inexperienced shoulders.

One bucket isn't too bad...

Two aren't too bad either, with some assistance

We also visited the carriage house, which has about a dozen different carriages dating from the 1700s all the way to the early 1900s. Since the museum does not own the carriages, they asked us not to take pictures. The carriages include a few sleighs for snow. L asked which sleigh was Santa's but Pat didn't hear her. Or didn't want to.

Our final stop was to the ice house. In the winter months, servants would collect ice from ponds and possibly rivers to store the blocks in the 13-foot deep pit inside. The ice was then used, especially by the kitchen, to preserve food. Since the ice was stored in dirt, it wasn't very clean. So it wasn't used in drinks--no mint juleps on the porch. Kitchen workers would pack a large jar or barrel with ice and then put covered dishes with perishable food inside to refrigerate them.

Ice house

Ice pit

The other half of the ice house is the root cellar, where vegetables would be stored for later use. L was fascinated by this, mostly because they were storing her beloved carrots.

L blocks our view of the carrots

With the tour done, we walked around to the back of the house to the gardens, which provided vegetables for the meals and the root cellar as well as herbs for flavoring and for medicinal purposes.

Back of the Manor House

Some of the gardens

A nearby sign had one last activity for us to try. Hoops and sticks on a post let the kids to try out an old game. They had to make the hoops roll as long as possible just by hitting them with sticks. My wife tried hitting the hoops on the inside; I tried hitting them on the outside. L just had fun. J perhaps had more fun with his unorthodox use of the hoop.

L poses rather than plays

We had an extra-fun day visiting Rose Hill Manor Park.

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