October 1, 2007

Mabry's Mill~ Homeschool Field Trip

 
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We have been looking forward to this field trip for over a month. Its not like we its our first time to the Mill its just that I love going. The girls grandfather and grandmother live just minutes from the Mill so we try to get up there very often. I LOVE Meadows of Dan and it is my dream to one day live on the Mountain. I was so excited when I learned that our Christian Homeschool Group was planning a trip to the Mill.

This day was different than most trips to the Mill because the Mill had planned a special few days for all of the school aged children to help brief them on some local history and on some of the old ways. Ed Mabry actually built this mill and he used to the mill to make a living. He added to the mill over the years. He had a working saw mill although it took 15 minutes to saw one log of lumber. Here is a link to read more about him.

  • Edwin Boston Mabry


  • We visited a blacksmith's shop there at the Mill. The blacksmith actually made a nail right in front of us. It was interesting to watch, smell and see how long it actually to took to make things like this in those days. Going to the hardware stores today and buyng a box of nails is a whole lot easier than having to make them one by one.

    We saw a basket weaver there who explained what different shaped baskets were used for. There were egg baskets, hen baskets, potatoe baskets...and many others that I cannot remember. If you look closely at the pictures above you can see them. The materials that are used to make the baskets were also hand made from the trees. Its a timely process also.

    We listened to a local lady dressed up who told Stories. She was of course the Story Teller. The times she told of were hard, despairing times. There was a true story told of a woman who actually miscarried over twenty children. How heartbreaking. You would think she would have been depressed but no, she worked on, she was the one that other women trevailing in labor would call to come and help them deliver their babies. People is those days somehow seems tougher than we do today.

    There was also a man there who made chairs. He demonstrated each and every step. He said to make one chair today it took him about three weeks. Their lifespan is over 60 years. They were very gorgeous chairs but I have no desire to whittle those things out!

    We felt different kinds of mill stones that were used to grind corn. We actually got to feel fresh ground grits and cornmeal. I almost wished that there would have been samples of cooked grits and cornbread to taste on our tour but the girls thought I was bizarre!

    There was a quilter there who allowed each child to sew on the quilt. This has always been a desire of mine but I have never persued it.

    They even had real lambs wool being spun into yarn and yarn being weaved into rugs. I was amazed at the tidiousness of this process and the lady giving the demonstration actually had a loom in her own home and done this as a pass time love of hers!

    Many of the elders at the Mill were locals and had done their paritcular trade their entire lives. In the old days their trades were actually their lively hoods. They bartered for things they needed and did not have. Their very survival depended on others in the community. They had to work together as a whole. In my mind this is almost a miracle. I almost find myself longing for a time that I didn't exist in.

    I found joy that in today's time that even though their skills were not needed for survival the way that they once were, that the Mill was providing a way of living for them today and enabling them to continue on in what they loved to do. Their faces lit up as they shared their lives and the details of their skills.

    Here are a few more links if you would like to see Mabry's Mill. We all had a great time but no-one had as much fun as I did! I'm hoping to return to the Mill soon on a cool fall Sunday afternoon so that I can sit back and watch them flatfoot to the beautiful blue grass music they play. I'll share when I do!

  • Meadows of Dan

  • Virginia is for Lovers
  • 1 comment:

    Irritable Mother said...

    Sounds like you had a good time. I do like the way you have your pictures displayed. You'd probably tell me it is a very easy photo editor program, but I'll just sit here and be impressed! :)