Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

From Julie H., historical interpreter:

Happy Mother's Day, from all of us here at the Frontier Culture Museum!

We especially want to wish a happy Mother's Day to our newest mother, Lottie! Lottie gave birth very early this morning. She's quite protective of sweet little Inga!

 Come meet Lottie and Inga on our German farm!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

More baby lambs!

From Julie H., historical interpreter:

Today is a very busy day here at the Frontier Culture Museum! We had three baby lambs born today, two of which came late morning in the middle of a large school group from Fluvanna County.

The first one was born on our English farm. The baby Cotswold lambs have been arriving all week. I'll post some photographs of the ones born earlier this week, and then our newest little one. The Cotswold are an older English breed of sheep, and have a nice long thick curly wool.

Here's this morning's baby. Mama was very protective, and did her best to keep me from getting a good photo! Notice that Mama Sheep hasn't been shorn yet. Now that she's given birth, she'll be one of the next on the list to shear.
 She decided to take the newborn for a walk, farther away from me.
 Those little legs are only a few hours old, and they do wobble, but they can move!

The second two lambs arrived on our 1850s farm,and I think they're the last Tunis sheep for the season.
Mother Sheep licks her two lambs clean.
*****One of our visitors (who wished to remain anonymous) just sent a recording of the birth this afternoon! When our 1850s staff noticed the sheep in labor, they noticed that a head but only one leg were sticking out instead of two. That's bad. Our livestock director came immediately to push the baby lamb back in, grabbed both front legs, and helped the sheep give birth. The second baby lamb had the same problem, and our livestock director assisted again.
Of course, this all happened in front of 50 first graders. Ahh, the miracle of birth!
You'll notice in this video that as soon as the lamb is out of the mother, our livestock director swings the baby lamb back and forth. He is not hurting the lamb- he is helping clear its lungs so that it can breathe. Complicated births can be dangerous for both lamb and mother, and it is important to help get the baby breathing as soon as possible.

Wool Days might be nearing an end, but there are still plenty sheep left to shear! Call ahead and stop on by to see us shear!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Baby Lambs!

From Julie H., historical interpreter:

Happy Spring, everyone! Even though Mother Nature seems to think it's summer (90 degrees yesterday!), we are gearing up for our spring celebrations.

Many of you have been waiting for this announcement: We have baby lambs! They are all a week to two weeks old, and were born on our American farms. I wish I could've gotten photos up sooner, but between the unexpected snow storms, and our busy season with school groups, there's barely been time! Luckily, our facebook team posted the arrival of the baby lambs with an adorable photograph, and we also have some photos on our flickr page, taken by Jack Cameron. Here's two of them:

 These sheep were quite a novelty in the early 19th Century!
The Tunis breed of sheep, also known historically as Barbary Sheep, come from Tunisia in North Africa. They came to America at the end of the 18th C as a gift from the ruler of Tunisia, and were given to a judge in Philadelphia. Thomas Jefferson got the breed shortly after, and became a strong advocate for its use. It gives both a good meat, and a sturdy wool.
People in Jefferson's time were used to English breeds of sheep, which were primarily white, black, or grey. So a brown-faced sheep was quite exciting! And the most interesting thing about Tunis sheep, as you can see, is that they are born entirely brown, and slowly turn white after a few months. This made them even more desirable and popular, and the breed spread across the East Coast.

While none of my own photos of them on the farms turned out, I did manage to get these two little guys hobbling around our break room. Their mother died shortly after giving birth, so we've been bottle feeding them. I believe this is Cathy and Chrissy, named after the wives of the 1820s and 1850s farm families.

Check back again soon, because our fluffy white English lambs should be appearing any day now!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Farewell, Winter!

From Julie H., historical interpreter:

As winter fades away, and the snow steadily melts, we leave behind our winter hours and trudge forward into the costumed season tomorrow (March 11th). We've been quite busy this past winter on many projects. We got a lot of woodworking done, we re-built some old fences, made sausage from our pigs for the upcoming season, and did a ton of sewing.

Kathleen, an intern, helps mix sausage:
Here's just a small portion of the brand new shirts and shifts we cranked out:
And of course, we already posted on the baby animals born in this time, and our new horses that have just arrived. So I'll leave you with some winter pictures of the past few months, in case you couldn't get here to see the beautiful scenery yourself.

So we are now BACK IN COSTUME! Come by and see us!

Saturday, March 9, 2013


From Stacie H., horse handler & interpreter:

Chip and Mike are Percheron Draft Horse, they are 7 years. They are going to be an addition to the museum to help make deliveries to the different farms. The Percheron breed originated from France. They were originally bred for war use. The average weight of the breed is 1,900 to 2,600 pounds, and the average height of this breed 16.2 and 17.3 hands tall (one hand is four inches).  Make sure you come say hi!

Above is Chip and Mike checking out their new feeders.
 Look at the size compared to the barn!
 Catching up on my sun bathing...

We'll post some photos this year of them in action. There are many fields to plow!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

This little piggy...

From Julie H., historical interpreter:

Wow. We were just nearly ready to post all about the new Percheron horses, when we discovered these little fellows today! Now, counting baby piglets is almost like counting chickens before they hatch, so keep your fingers crossed that these guys will all survive! They move quickly, so it was hard to get a clear shot.

These are Ossabaw Island Razorback pigs. They were brought over by the Spanish in the 1500s to the coast of Georgia, and became the English settlers' hog of choice in early Virginia.

Readers, you should definitely come visit and see all the new baby animals, and the horses too. But if you plan to come Wednesday or even Thursday this week (March 6-7), call before you come! We're in the center of this mega snow storm, and we may be closed.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New FCM Family Members

From Julie H., historical interpreter:

Hi all! It's been a little quiet here on the blog lately. Our staff has been busy during our winter hours with many projects, like sausage making, fence building, and mass amounts of sewing of new garments for the upcoming costumed season. We're excited for the upcoming year, and there'll be a lot of posts in the near future on more farm & daily life activities. I'll have a few winter-themed posts up shortly, now that the bulk of the sewing is finished, but before we get into that, there are some exciting announcements!

Our dear Hallie, an English Red Devon, gave birth today!!! We haven't named the little heifer (female) yet, but we'll think of some good 1630s-appropriate names soon. We were expecting Hallie to have her little one next month, so we were quite pleased to see the wee thing this morning. Come by and meet her, she's so adorable!
Hallie's half-sister, Lottie, will be giving birth in about a month or two, so stay tuned for another birth announcement!

Also, for those of you who made it out to our Christmas Lantern Tours programs, you met some beautiful horses who pulled the wagons to the New World. We are so fortunate to welcome two Percherons more permanently to the museum, and their owner, one of our new staffers, will be working them regularly. I'll have more about Chip and Mike here in a few days, but here's a teaser photo of these handsome fellows:

Also, coming up, after the horses, we'll post photos from a beautiful snow fall from the other week, finish Part II of English Christmas Baking, and maybe even learn all about the recent thatching job on our Irish blacksmith shop. Check back soon, we'll be updating frequently again!