All one's must mean something besides being the first day and the New Year 2011. We spent it combining the old with the new. The Old Sturbridge Village is close to where we live and offers something of interest for everyone. It is quite different in the winter yet, is picturesque and serene, depending on the number of visitors, you can almost have the place to yourself.
My five-year-old grandson came along to see the animals. The natural dirt roadway and paths were heaping with mud and droppings from the horse drawn carriage. Their was no electricity then, nor indoor facilities. They lived "green" in New England. This is incredible. We don't have to go far to learn what we must do. The question is, can we? Would we?I don't know if I could stand the mud being dragged into the home. It is a life of hardship. Some had carriages that they were pushing around, and I felt sorry for them. The good news was that at least, it was a beautiful day to walk around. At least at five, Nate could walk and thankfully we didn't have to carry him.
We saw a man taking photos of the covered bridge from a distance, a rare sight-- as there are few covered bridges left. I saw one in New Hampshire once. He took an interest in the way handcrafted fences were joined through a hole, having been slivered by an axe to a point noticing that some were placed in v shapes. The only building he cared to go in was the school, because we told them that they heated with a wood stove, like his dad used to in the cellar. He looked at what was a primitive version of possibly a very small pot belly stove with the chimney of tin running straight up and across the ceiling to vent outside. He was interested in what people miss entirely, the water run off drainage systems of trenches and huge stones, primitive culverts. Everyone wants to go to Freeman farm to see the animals. We saw dark pigs, chickens, hens, a real hay loft, cows, bulls and sheep. Apple or cherry trees lined the edge of the road supplying the family with fruit, and within the yard piles of mulch awaits the spring. Plants were trimmed back, the old-fashioned way with a sickle. The duck pond was frozen over and they didn't have ducks and geese today, but then he spotted it, the grist and lumber mills. I was satisfied to know that is where wheat was ground into flour and lumber cut for all their building need. He was interested in the engineering aspect of it, the water flow into a waterfall, and huge wheel that operated the gear that eventually caused the saw to go up and down cutting the wood, or moving the large crushing and grinding stones. All of it was at a standstill, due to the icing which I would not have seen built up on the sides of the operation, but through his observation. We dodged the tracks of the droppings, leading us to walk on the covered bridge, he looking through the cracks at the water underneath and was awed by the view of the Quinebaug on the right, which offered boat rides in good weather.
One of my favorite houses is the wealthiest on the block of course, hoping to be able to go in and look around. But no, he had no interest this time, only in the garden with the huge rounded white trellis that grew grapes in the summer time. It had benches which looked out onto the water, (Quinnebaug), and had a bird's eye view of the beautiful covered bridge.
There were two other buildings that we got to go into, the general and gift stores, looking for a toy, like a boat. Several times, while walking he stopped to view planes in the sky as he does everywhere he goes, this time, though we felt as if we were in the twilight zone. No they would not have any planes, either! He left disappointed.
I thought about how much life has to offer him at his young age in comparison to the youth in those days. I wondered how much the world would change as he grows and what will it have to offer when he becomes my age. I left thankful.
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