A Blast form the Past: Second Saturdays at the Settlement
The Second Saturday of each month is when history comes to life here at the settlement. On July 13th it was no different. Stepping into the historic schoolhouse built in 1919, guests were greeted by sight of three women dressed in period costumes of the pioneer days, spinning wool into thread. Karen Puracan, one of our spinners was telling two young children how the Florida “crackers” (pioneer ranchers that got their name from the cracking of the whip used to herd cattle) processed their wool. A family watched as Echo Nielsen and Monica Leibacher spread the fibers into a fine, cloud-like shape. They pinched the delicate wool and ran it through the wheel’s flyer, where it came together to form a strand of beautiful yarn.
John Higgins was also demonstrating, though most at the settlement know him as “Doc”. His table was filled with medical instruments from the civil war. Guests watched in amazement as he went through each item on the table, from the saws used for amputation, to the ti
ny bottles of medications.“Why is mustard seed a medication?” a woman asked. Doc smiled, “Mustard seed was used to treat chest congestion.” A blonde boy peered up over the table, “What’s that?” he pointed at a kit with many parts. “Good question!” Doc picked up one of the instruments and began to speak, weaving each device into a story about how it was used, and who might have used it.
Across the hall, in the weaving room, Su Edgar and her granddaughter Parkre were preparing strips of fabric and deciding on a pattern. They had just finished tying off a rug and were ready to start a new one. And just next door, a family was learning about candle making back in the day, even trying their hand at dipping the candles in the wax before hanging them up to dry. Erick Nielsen explained the different materials families used to make the candles, and the benefits and downfalls of each type of wax. The candles and finished rugs are sold in our country store which was open for visitors and manned by Sam Edgar this weekend.
There were two workshops taught this weekend. Charlie “Cracker” Langrick taught attendees how to dye cotton with Florida native plants and gave valuable information on medicinal and edible native plants.
The second workshop was taught by our resident blacksmith, Heinrich Hole, and those who participated learned basic skills, culminating in forming a beautiful S-hook. The class members were smiling with pride at their new skill. We had over 50 attendees this weekend! Those who came had loved learning about history and seeing live demonstrations.
Our next Second Saturday Celebration will be held on August 10th. You can learn pine needle basket weaving with artist Diane Moore, cotton dying with Charlie Cracker, and black smith skills with Heinrich Hole. You need not have attended previous classes to sign up as beginners are welcome. Join us at our next event as we step back in time!
For more information and to register for our basket weaving and cotton dying workshops: https://www.pioneersettlement.org/store
For information on blacksmith classes: https://www.pioneersettlement.org/blacksmithing--coal
call (386) 749-2959 to register