Well, I've told you about our visit to the green and town proper of Old Sturbridge Village. I've, also shared, what we found when we went poking into the glass and armoury displays and the school house.
Let me tell you about the farm.
As we were wandering around, we all got separated into groups. (It's wonderful when the adults outnumber the kids.) There was lots of learning going on and we were kind of meandering in whatever direction took each of our fancies. (My dad drifted over to the historic snack bar and got historic cookies and historic Boston baked beans. Thanks, dad!)
We finally all wound up going past the tavern, through a bit of wooded area by a pond and down to the sawmill. There we found daddy giving David a complete and detailed rundown of how the machinery worked. David was fascinated. Guys are so amazing to me!
My feet were beginning to throb and I took a lovely rest on a bench, just outside. (Next to a tree whose trunk bark looked like smocking on a little girl's dress.)
I spied a path and thought that it would take me to the farmhouse. (I have a thing about paths ~ I love them ~ always have, always will!)
We "took the path less traveled".....
But, what is this I spy?
Ghosts from the past!
Two friendly farmers had just finished their plowing for the day.
They were very interesting to talk to, even though, I guess, they must be tired after a long day.
We learned things like:
Have you ever wondered where the bizarre measurements for an acre came from? I have! I can never remember the numbers involved. It is the measurement of approximately how big of a square can be reasonably plowed in a day.
The oxen, train every day for 4 years. When they are fully matured in their lessons, they will know 24 commands, like Gee (left); Haw (right); Headup (raise your head); Furrow (walk in the furrow) and more.
Yes, the plowing was done for the day and it was time to feed the animals.
We followed the farmers and the oxen up the path and came to the farmhouse.
Because it was the end of the day and most everyone else had left, it was basically just us and the "ghosts".
This pig greeted me and said, "here is my good side," stuck out her leg and posed for quite a while. I beg to differ! Oh, well!
The farmer's wife had just finished giving the rooster a good talking to (hands on hips!) and was surveying the orchard.
The rooster went into the hay loft to sulk!
"Go away! I'm not coming down! My feelings are hurt! No, there's nothing you can say...."
I went into the farmhouse.
The very pretty farmer's daughter was taking a quick rest. She had just finished baking a rhubarb pie.
When we were in town, we had a chance to hear a wonderful story from a young man who was a colorful character.
It involved him and his friend, Jim. Jim and him had been best friends ever since they could remember. Although, they were best friends, they always were a bit competitive. You see, Jim, always felt like he needed to have more than his friend. If he even thought that his friend had more than him, he'd be green jealous and need to outdo him. They were still best of friends, though, even with the competition. Some of their happiest times together revolved around their great love of potatoes. They would often spend an evening by the fire roasting them on sticks. Those were great times, so we were told!
One night, a very dark night, these two friends, were coming home together and were passing by Farmer Bartlett's fields. That year, his potatoes were particularly huge, wonderful and abundant. It was, indeed, a bumper crop. Well, Jim and his friend thought that they would, well,..... that they could.............ease Farmer Bartlett's burden of work by helping him harvest some of his potatoes. Since it was such a dark night, they thought that they could do this good deed anonymously and give a quiet service to him. He would never know who had been so kind and helpful. After all, it's better to give than to receive and no thanks were needed by these two young saints. So, they loaded up they're pockets and stuffed potatoes down their shirts and put them under their hats, and, Jim, being a generous soul, stuffed his pants into his socks and loaded them up with potatoes, too.
Off they hoofed it, not wanting the embarrassment of being thanked, and, when they got to the cemetery next to the church, they thought, "well! This is a great place to see just how many potatoes we were able to help Farmer Bartlett out with." They tried the gate but, lately, someone had been locking it; so, Jim and his friend put a foot into the grate and hopped on over. Jim, however, having his pants loaded, lost two of those potatoes when he jumped. His friend beckoned and insisted that he come and hide in the back of the cemetery. Well, he felt a sense of urgency to get out of sight (even though it was a dark night) but, still...... it was hard to leave those two potatoes behind. Jim was assured that they'd go and get them later. Then they decided to divide up the treasure. It had to be very fair and square and everything even. I mean, if Jim thought that his friend had more, there'd be some sorrow. So, the potatoes were clearly and laboriously divided by Jim. "One for you! One for me! One for you! One for me! One for you! One for me!" and so on.
Coincidentally, as this dispersement was going on, Farmer Bartlett's son was returning home on foot from a very upright and righteous meeting that he had attended that night. As he passed by the graveyard he heard the voices, "One for you! One for me!" Well, if it hadn't been so dark you would have seen his face turn white as a ghost's! He gasped and ran full tilt all the way home. When he got there, he burst into the kitchen, all out of breath - completely gasping - he could barely get a word out! "Father! Father!....." gasp, gasp! "Spit it out, Son!" "Father, Father!....... I was passing by the church and I heard God and the Devil dividing up the souls in the graveyard!" Farmer Bartlett, being a settled and mature person, said, "now, just wait a minute! I'll go back with you and we'll get to the bottom of this!"
Off they went to the graveyard. As they approached, Jim was about done finishing up the fair and equal division of Farmer Bartlett's potatoes. Sure enough, farmer Bartlett could hear, "One for you! One for me! One for you! One for me!" Farmer Bartlett just couldn't believe it. There, indeed, was God and the Devil dividing up the souls! Well, those two young rapscallion "helpers" were done with their counting and stuffed the divided potatoes back into their pockets, shirts, under their hats (and, Jim, his pants again). They were just deciding to take the short cut out the back of the cemetery and through the woods to their home but Jim was a little slow moving because of the potatoes in his pants. When Jim remembered the two potatoes, lying in the dark at the feet of Farmer Bartlett and his son near the gate, Farmer Bartlett and his son heard, who they thought was God, but, was really Jim, call out, "What about the two by the gate?!" His friend (the devil) replied, "Just scoop them up and we'll roast them in the fire back at my place!"
To this day, Farmer Bartlett and his son are the most virtuous of souls and never, ever pass by the church and that graveyard at night!
(Thank you, Mr. Story Teller!)