Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mabry Mill and Floyd Agricultural Fair.

This week my boy's third grade class took a trip to Mabry Mill for a bit of a history lesson. i volunteered to chaperon. The kids also had a field trip to Floyd High that had been rescheduled due to rain, and they combined the two field trips and squeezed them both into one day. Yikes!

Mabry Mill is only a few miles from us, and we visit a couple times a year. In the fall they have different old time demonstrations and live music on the weekends.

We watched this wonderful man work on making a basket. He also explained the different basket shapes and there uses. The odd looking basket on the left (front) is a hen basket. It's used to carry your hen into town for trading. :) He also showed us an egg basket, which has a special shape to prevent your eggs from rolling and a saddle basket that you would attach to your saddle.

We watched a quick demonstration by the resident blacksmith. No, he's not missing hand, he was just in the process of hammering. :) While we watched he explained the process an made a small hook that would be used to hang things on a wall or in the barn. It's always fascinating watching him work.

We watched a demonstration on weaving, and my boy got a chance to try it out.

This gentleman was working on weaving a chair seat. He gave a nice demonstration and then let each of the kids try it out.

There was a demonstration on old time toys. The kids each got to make a small handmade toy. It was a string with a button in the middle that they would spin really tight and then pull, causing it to change directions. With most kids these days obsessed with electronics it was amusing to see how such a simple toys could keep their attention for so long. The teacher was constantly telling the kids to put them away, because they were playing with the toys instead of paying attention to the demonstrations.

We watched a demonstration on quilt making, and he got to add a few stitches to the quilt.

We watched a demonstration on broom making. The plant they used was broom corn. i found some seeds at Heirloom seeds and am excited to grow some next year and make my own broom!

Here my son is learning to scrape the seeds from the broom corn. After the seeds are cleaned off, the stalks are woven together and attached to a wooden handle. Here is some instruction from Mother Earth news on how to make a broom using broom corn.

We really enjoyed our time at Mabry Mill. We also watched demonstrations on carding wool, spinning and weaving inside the old cabin. The pictures didn't come out too well because of the lack of light in the cabin. On sundays in the fall, they have apple butter making demonstrations. They make it in the large cast iron vats over an open fire. In this area, many families still make it this way.

Once we finished up at Mabry mill, we stopped and had lunch along the parkway. Then headed to Floyd High School for the 4-H agricultural fair.

We learned all about the farmers in our area, and where the food comes from. The kids were introduced the 4-H program, although they can't join until 4 grade.

The kids learned about keeping sheep, and how the wool is removed and processed and then turned into yarn and clothing.

Baaaaaa!!!! :)

The kids learned about our local dairy farms, the different breeds of dairy cows, all the products milk is turned into and they all got to try milking a 'cow'. That is my boy in red. Afterwords they each received a carton of milk and a cup of ice cream :)

They learned all about chickens and eggs and each got to pet a chicken.

There was also a booth on apples, and the kids got to sample homemade apple sauce, apple butter, fresh and dried apples. They learned many different ways that apples are preserved. They learned about soil and how all food can be connected back to our soil.
The kids learned a bit about the 4-H program, met the Dairy Princess Alternate (lol) and pet a baby calf.

They also had a booth on forestry and raising honey bees, but we ran out of time and didn't get to see their demonstrations. It was a really busy day, with lot of information packed in, and the kids all seemed to really absorb the info and enjoy it (especially the ice cream).


  1. Looks like an awesome trip. I have a wheely chair just like the guy in the first picture. It's great for going to places like this because it has a built in seat whenever you need to sit down.


  2. Looks like a great field trip. Something tells me that you had just as good of a time as the kids.

    That toy - string/button thing - we had them all the time as kids. Note to Sage. "Don't get your hair stuck in it or you'll be sorry."

  3. What a great day for you & the kids!!! Looks like you had great weather for it as well. Thanks for sharing. :O)