Thursday, July 29, 2010

I scream, you scream, we all scream for HOMEMADE ice cream!!

By: Erin O'Brien, Agricultural Programs Intern
Today’s entry came straight from the activity tent at the Junior Livestock Show. The activity tent was filled with fun things for kids to do while they were visiting the show – they could ‘milk’ the fiberglass cow, create their own flowers from a coffee filter and pipe cleaners, color and cut out a 3D barn with barn animal puppets, make butter, discover the history of the Junior Livestock Show (this year was the 63rd show!) and... make homemade ice cream!

History Lesson Time!

Ice cream was favored by the Caliphs of Baghdad. Arabs were the first to use milk as a major ingredient in its production, sweetening the ice cream with sugar rather than fruit juice as early as the 10th century. Today, New Zealanders consume the most ice cream per capita at 27.5 quarts per person, per year! They are followed by Americans, who consume 23 quarts per person, per year. (2007)

It’s actually quite simple to make your own ice cream, if you follow the steps below. The Farmers’ Museum’s lovely and talented Mary Margaret Kuhn will show you how.

Step 1: Gather your ingredients (and your eager assistants!)
To make vanilla ice cream as we did, just follow this recipe:
(Did you know that vanilla is the most popular flavor of ice cream? 28% of all ice cream purchased in supermarkets is vanilla!)

1 Cup heavy whipping cream
1 and 1/2 Cups Half and Half
3/4 Cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
Ice cubes
1-2 Cups Kosher salt
2 Plastic ice cream “globes”, (you can also use a 1b coffee can to pour all the ingredients into and duct tape it shut, and put it into a 3 lb coffee can, and pack the ice cubes and Kosher salt around it to achieve the same results)

Step 2: Pour heavy cream, half and half, sugar, vanilla, and pinch of salt into the smaller part of plastic globe (or 1 lb. coffee can)

Step 3: Pack in the ice cubes and kosher salt tightly all around the smaller part of the plastic globe (or in the 3 lb. coffee can)

Step 4:  Roll it! If you have many eager assistants as we did, have them sit in a circle with plenty of space between each other. Roll the globes back and forth. (Or 3 lb. coffee can, also sealed with duct tape) Pretend it’s a hot potato and pass it by rolling it as fast as you can! Sing songs with ‘rolling’ as the theme. (Like ‘Proud Mary’) Roll the globes for 15 minutes or longer. (With coffee cans, it’s advised that after 15 minutes, you open the larger can and dump out the ice and water. Open the smaller can and stir the ingredients. Then reseal and repack the cans. Roll for 10 more minutes.)

Step 5: Open the globes, (or smaller coffee can) serve and enjoy! Don’t forget to thank a cow!

For other ice cream flavors, go to this website.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Celebrating our Carousel Volunteers

By: Keith Rohlman, Public Programs Intern
A few weeks ago the County Fair at the Museum had some special visitors: Karen Psilopoulis and Joseph Zupan and their students from Leptondale Elementary of Wallkill, New York. Now, you might be asking “why are these kids and their teachers special?” Well, it’s because they, along with other students from Wallkill, volunteered their time to help us make a nameplate for the Empire State Carousel. Not only that, but they are the first elementary students to visit since completing a nameplate. So, to celebrate their visit today, the students were treated to a ride and a special thank you from our Vice President for Education, Garet Livermore. Garet thanked both the students and their teachers for their hard work in helping us to decorate our special carousel. Gwen Feldt and her class from Plattekill Elementary visited on the 16th of June, and we thanked them for their hard work as well!
Our carousel has over 100 nameplates like the one carved by the students of Wallkill, but it still has many empty spots. So if you’d like to help us represent your hometown on the carousel, just contact Mary Margaret Kuhn to get the process started. Her e-mail address is and her phone number here at the museum is 607-547-1423. It is free to volunteer and there is only a $25 refundable security deposit for the plate we send to you. You can decorate the plate how you like and send it back, and then you too can be a part of creating the only museum exhibit you can ride!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Junior Livestock Show: Dairy Goat Wrap Up

By: Erin Crissman, Curator

I know about dairy goats! Frankly, I would have never guessed that dairy goats would ever occupy even a small part of my brain. However, I am so happy to have spent two days in the dairy goat ring at The Farmers' Museum's 63rd Annual Junior Livestock Show.  The kids and their animals were so impressive.  It was a pleasure and a privlidge to pass out ribbons to all of the participants.  After two days, I felt like a parent proudly watching their children at the Parade of Champions at the end of the show.  I updated Facebook fans with some pictures along the way.  Here are some more pictures of me handing out ribbons, as well as some of the kids with their goats.

The very first class of the show is Novice Showman. These are kids who have never shown an animal before. Judge Carri Batt was wonderful. She helped the participants learn about how to show their animals, always put the animal between you and the judge, smile, make sure you look at the judge, and never cross behind your animal - always in front!

Here is novice showman Jasmine Wheatley with her Nubian named Caramel.

Each class for Showmanship (based on age) and for each breed received a Grand Champion and a Reserve Grand Champion.

Here's me handing out ribbons. At first I was very confused about who got what ribbon. By the end of the two days, my ribbon partner Sarah and I had it all figured out. This goat is called a LaMancha.  They don't really have ears.  They are also the only American breed of dairy goat. (See, I learned some stuff!)

When the kids and their animals entered the ring, they walked their animals around so that the judge could see them.  She would eventually tell them to stop and each kid would "set" their animal so that its legs and head were positioned appropriately.

The whole show was very educational for me and good for my soul. I saw kids helping each other and showing pride in their animals and in their work in breeding and raising them. It was amazing. 

Secretly, this was the best part. Who cares about all of the dairy goat breed details when you can see this?

Here is Evy Crumb of Nobarn Farm with her Nigerian Dwarf:

And Judge Carri Batt attempting to evaluate the animal. It was the only one in its class, so automatically received the grand champion. She (the goat, not the judge) was very feisty and would not stand still for evaluation, so Carri just picked her up. Later, on the microphone, she described why this little Nigerian was deserving of a ribbon and added "superior snugability" at the end of her comments.

I agree that this goat does, indeed, have "superior snugability."

I can't wait for next year!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Residents of the Children’s Barnyard

By: Keith Rohlman, Public Programs Intern

The other day, Kajsa and I decided we needed to introduce y’all to the new residents of our Children’s Barnyard. So the other day, I got out before the school groups arrived to take some photos of our four-legged friends...and the chickens, too. They were all a little antsy to be fed, but some of them were nice enough to pose for some pictures.

First, we have Hansel and Gretel, our two Cheviot lambs that were born at The Farmers’ Museum on April 25th. They were a little shy, but after enough tries I finally managed to get both of them in the same photo, which is more than I can say for the goats.
We have two breeds of goat at the barn. First off we have three Boer goats named Holly, Ginger and Henrietta. They were born on the first of March and are on loan from the Baker Family of the Just Kidding Farm in Richfield Springs.
Here is one of the Boer goats:

We also have Tessa, who is an Alpine dairy goat. She was born on April 14th and is on loan from Karen Fisher of Swamp Hill Farm in Jordanville. The goats were really fidgety this morning, so it was hard for me to get the shots I did. They prefer to be in the yard running around.
Here is Tessa:

Next, we have a Brown Swiss Heifer Calf named Corabelle. She was born on March 6th, and is on loan from Lester and Joanne Tyler of the Sunny Acres farm in Milford. Corabelle was very calm and also really curious about my camera. I think it looked tasty to her, so I’m glad I kept some distance from her pen.

And then we have the chickens. They’re Sussex Chickens and were hatched on March 2nd. They really didn’t like me in their cage, and I only managed one shot of them not running around like a bunch of, well, chickens. Of course it might have something to do with how big I am, but I’m not sure.

The Children's Barnyard is open through Labor Day Weekend!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Daily Workshops Coming to The Farmers’ Museum

By: Keith Rohlman, Public Programs Intern

I’m excited to announce that starting July 5th, The Farmer’s Museum will be offering daily workshops on different crafts from the 1840s. All of the workshops will start at 1:00 pm sharp, and you can sign up in advance or on the day you choose to visit the museum. Sign up sheets will be in the building where the craft takes place.

On Mondays our blacksmith, Steve Kellogg, will be instructing a lucky few in how to forge your very own clothing hook for your home.

On Tuesdays our pharmacist, Patrick MacGregor, will be instructing visitors in the methods used in the 1840s to craft medicines.

Wednesday is a double-header! Gwen Miner will be showing us all how to bake in a hearth oven, and Wayne Coursen will be showing us how to mow with a scythe. And, last but certainly not least, Ted Shuart will be giving lessons on printing with a Washington press.

These workshops only cost $10, and you can sign up in the building where the workshop is held.  If you have questions, or would like to reserve a spot in advance of your visit, please call Kajsa Sabatke at 607-547-1453.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The New Calf Has a Name!

By: Keith Rohlman, Public Programs Intern

Hi, everyone! I thought I’d first take the opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Keith Rohlman and I am the new Public Programs Intern for The Farmers Museum. I am from smack-dab in the middle of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, from a town called Mount Pleasant. I am also an incoming student to the Cooperstown Graduate Program, so I’ll probably get to know a few of you over the next few years, and vice versa.

Anyways, to the important stuff: the new calf’s name. As you all know, on April 27th we began a contest to name our new calf, and we have chosen the winner. Drum roll, please.

And the winner is…

Hugh MacDougall!!

Hugh MacDougall is the Corresponding Secretary of the James Fenimore Cooper Society and he suggested we name the calf “Seraphina,” after James Fenimore Cooper’s cow.

We don’t know a lot about the original Seraphina. But, we do know that she was alive sometime around the 1830s and ‘40s, and she had a friend --a horse named Pumpkin. Pumpkin got his name from one of his chores: taking pumpkins to Seraphina for her food.

Well, to make a long story short, Congratulations Hugh! And for those of you who want to know, Seraphina translates to “Little Fiery One” and is derived from the name of the highest choir of angels, the Seraphim.

Friday, July 2, 2010

George Washington loved his farm, then he died.

By: Erin Crissman Richardson, Curator
When did I first know that I wanted to be a museum curator?  Normally, in response to this question, I tell a story related to a Girl Scout trip when I was 12.  I have been telling that story for about 10 years.  That was until I discovered a lost manuscript in my parents' basement.  It is a report called "George Washington."  I surmise that it is from second grade or so.  At the top, there is a "Very Good" stamp from the teacher. Obviously, THIS was the moment when I knew that I would always be a museum and/or history nerd.  Here, for your enjoyment, and to help you celebrate Independence Day, is my first work of historical non-fiction:

George Washington
He was born on Feb. 22, 1732.  He had 6 brothers and sisters. One brother owned a house called Mount Vernon. George went to live there when his father died. Gorge learned to survey land in school. One day Lord Fairfax wanted his land measured. So he could show how much he had.  He asked George if he would help him measure his land. This was George's first job.

George married a woman named Martha Curtis. She was a widow with two children. They all lived in Mount Vernon. The house was small in the begining. George built it bigger for his new family.

The war between England and the colonies started.  George was the leader. The war lasted 8 years. When the war was over he went back to Mount Vernon.

Five years later George was elected first Presedent of the Uninted States.

George loved his farm. every day he went out and looked at his farm. Once day he was cought in a rain storm. And he got pneumonia. On December 14, 1799 he died.

Critical review by the author:
  1. I call George Washington by his first name throughout as if he is the kid sitting next to me in class.  As a child, I would never have called an adult by his or her first name, EVER.  There are still many adults in my life whom I call Mr. or Mrs. So-and-so.  I am actually surprised that my mother allowed me to hand this in with such informality.
  2. There are very few spelling errors.
  3. Please make no connection between George Washington's demise and my previous post about visiting outdoor museums in the rain.
Do any of you have school reports to help us celebrate Independence Day?

Above: George Washington and his family at Mount Vernon.  1889 image by Kurz and Allison.  Image courtesy of the Library Of Congress and can be found here.
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