Friday, May 15, 2009

Old World Wisconsin Rituals of Spring

Rituals of Spring at Old World Wisconsin

Just as Wisconsin's 19th-century farmers did when spring rolled around, farmhands at Old World Wisconsin will be busy in the fields on Saturday, May 16, during the outdoor museum's annual Rituals of Spring event. Visitors can expect to see farmers readying the farmsteads for planting, using stock dogs to herd sheep, and hand shearing them before farm women card, spin and dye the collected wool — all as it was done in the late 1800s. At 1:30 p.m. outside Caldwell Farmers' Club Hall, visitors can take in a sheep shearing contest between a father and his son.

Displays of woolen articles and artifacts related to sheep will showcase the animals' importance on 19th-century farms. The value of wool will be further underscored during a quilt turning — in which quilt historian Kathleen Lashley will peel back and discuss samples from a stack of the museum's vintage quilts.

Activities Range from Planting Sorghum to Beekeeping

Meantime, farmhands will be hard at work planting sorghum, a crop that was grown as a less expensive substitute for sugar. The historic gardener will be on hand, too, discussing herbs and their medicinal and culinary uses. Another activity will involve using our newly acquired rope-making machine to make rope that could be used as leads for the sheep, There will also be a demonstration of a small animal-powered treadmill, and visitors can join in activities ranging from soap making to shingle shaving.

Another completely new site feature will also be unveiled — an observation beehive that will allow visitors to see bees in action. The Children of the American Revolution, Wisconsin Chapter, has been instrumental in raising funds for this project. The observation hive was donated by Lapp's Bee Supply, and the Milwaukee-Waukesha Beekeepers Association provided the bees.

For complete details on admission, location and contact information, visit the Old World Wisconsin visitor information pages.

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