The round barn - one of many Shaker inventions to lessen work's burden. Oleg took this picture when we went to see the ice being harvested from their reservoir in February.
The Hancock Shaker Village is what I would call a "living museum". Situated on 750 acres of farm, field and woodland, it is open year-round with workshops and family activities for every season. The Village boasts 20 restored buildings, amazing heirloom gardens, and thousands of examples of Shaker handicrafts, tools and clothing. It was the Village's heritage farm animals and the promise of the newly born baby lambs, piglets, calves, goats, ducklings and chicks that brought us out last Wednesday though.
My farmer boys.
Learning to milk on a cow that can't kick.
The boys climbed right into the pens to snuggle those soft baby lambs so it was especially fun afterward to learn to card and twist sheep's wool into thread.
Weaving on a loom was so interesting that we brought home a hand loom to learn a new handicraft.
The boys also made seed packets (another Shaker invention) of heirloom broom corn and Jacob's Cattle Beans (first planted by the Passamaquoddy Indians in Maine). We ended our day at the Village Harvest Cafe' where we discussed all we'd done over open faced roast beef sandwiches on grilled farmer's bread with Shaker mushroom sauce and crispy shallots. Returning home, we planted the beans in starter pots and in June we will take them back to the Shaker Village for a garden celebration. The beans will be replanted there and, when harvested, will be used in recipes at the Village Harvest Cafe'.
I cannot begin to convey the amazing and integral role the Shakers play in American history. The great American storyteller, Ken Burns, has though in his documentary The Shakers. We will be sure to return many times and I hope you will learn more about the Shakers right along with us.