- Three young teens were galivanting around the homestead, checking out the features in the cabin (the bed, the stairs to the loft, the stove), the water pump, the garden, and the dug-out root cellar. As they were walking down into the root cellar, one asks another, "Is this the out-house?" My daughter who is nearby responds to him by saying, "You must be city boys. That is the root cellar, not the 'necessary'." I love it!
- A small group of retired folk were visiting with us and asking questions about life on the homestead. One gentleman asked me what my typical 'work day' looks like... "How many hours do you typically work in a day?" My response was, "Oh my! My work is never done. As soon as the sun rises, I am up and working to get breakfast prepared for the family. I then have to go out and care for the animals. I must pump water throughout the day for watering the garden, for meal preparation and for cleaning. There is laundry to wash. Clothes to iron. I constantly have to sweep and dust... the high desert is notoriously dirty. I can't keep up. During the hotter hours of the day, I try to sit on the porch and do a little sewing or mending." The same gentleman then asks, "Well, what do the men do?" "That is a great question, sir. I don't really know. They tell me they are hunting or working the land but we hardly see them. I tend to think they are keeping busy with their cards and ale. They always come home for supper, though." The visitors loved this! The women in the group insisted that things hadn't changed much. We all laughed.
- My little guy has become so comfortable, he is always taking off his shoes to splash in the puddles created by the water pump. When his hands are dirty, he isn't shy about coming up to visitors to wipe his hands on their trousers! Other times, he can be found atop the root cellar throwing pine cones down upon passersby. He is 'all boy'.
- The princess, on the other hand, is always eager to help. She demonstrate to guests how to pump water or beat the rugs. Whenever she can, she'll sit with Mrs. Lines to do needlework or learn how to knit. She absolutely loves learning new crafts. It is so fun to listen to her interact with guests. She is beginning to pick up on phrases that we adults use and is getting better at concealing her modern day experiences. Adults are always trying to trick her by asking if she likes bubblegum or has been to Disneyland.
- Two young little visitors (about 3 and 4 years of age) happened upon a large ground beetle. Their mothers about died, "Eeewwwww! Nasty! Put that down! Drop it! Gross!" My two young naturalists are drawn to the commotion and immediately pick up the beetle themselves. "Mom look!" I share in their enthusiasm and allow them to examine the specimen closely before I encourage them to return him to a safe, cool place so he can go about his day. It is unfortunate that some adults extend their own phobias onto their children. Kids have an innate desire to learn and explore their surroundings. I think we should take advantage of this.
Photos courtesy of Carolyn Waissman, museum volunteer.