Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fall Harvest Festival
The Tinker Nature Park
Saturday, September 15, 2007 12-3 pm
Celebrate the Fall Harvest with the
Tinker Homestead and Farm Museum
Hansen Nature Center
Cobblestone Museum Tours
Horse Drawn Wagon Rides
Honey Harvesting
Children’s Activities
Arts & Crafts Sale
1525 Calkins Road, Henrietta, NY 14467 Henrietta
Tinker Homestead and Farm Museum 585-359-7042
Hansen Nature Center 585-359-7044

The Tinker Homestead becomes a station
on the Underground Railroad

Although the Tinker Homestead was not a stop on the Underground Railroad, it has become one in the educational sense. Each year I portray Amy Kirby Post as Akwaaba Tours host school groups in reenacting Underground Railroad tours and living history presentations.

Amy Kirby Post
Amy Post became active in the anti-slavery movement in Rochester soon after she arrived in the city, living at 36 Sophia Street (now North Plymouth Avenue) -she signed a petition against slavery in 1837, and her home, a busy station on the Underground Railroad, sometimes housed between ten and twenty fugitive slaves per night.

The 'slaves' sneak through the orchard
The city of Rochester and the surrounding areas helped to play a leading role in the Underground Railroad movement. Rochester, which was conveniently located close to the Canadian border, served as one of the last stops in the Underground Railroad. Rochester was one of the last stops before fugitive slaves could for the first time in their lives be considered free men, upon their arrival in Canada.

Greeting Harriet Tubman at the door

These 'slaves' were not to happy to hear
of using the chamber pot!
There are numerous locations in the Rochester area that were used as safe-houses to safely shelter the slaves before they were placed on board boats (often on the Genesee river). The most common route used the 'lines' that led from Henrietta through Monroe County and into Rochester. Some of the better known 'stations' included:
  • The Henry Quinby farm by Mendon Ponds Park, which today is by the Fieldstone Smokehouse.

  • David H. Richardson's farm on East Henrietta Road near Castle Road. Mr. Richardson was rumored to have "never turned away an escaped slave".

  • The Warrant farm in Brighton, now 1956 West Henrietta Road (approximately one mile from the University of Rochester campus).

  • The old Frederick Douglass home near Highland Park.

  • A cluster of houses where numerous Quakers lived. That is now the area where the War Memorial building is.

  • Harvey Humphrey, Esp. house at 669 Genesee Street.

Other 'stations' were located in all of the areas surrounding Rochester, including Brighton, Pittsford, Mendon and Webster. Were it not for the compassion and generosity of the citizens of Rochester and of countless other communities throughout the United States, it is likely that many of the escaped slaves that eventually made their way to freedom would not have.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

4th Annual Civil War
Living History Weekend

Another successful event has passed by as Summer is winding down. For those of you that missed it, here are some highlights......

Friday night kicked off the event with entertainment by City Fiddle, sponsored by the Don W. Cook Senior Center in Henrietta.

The Christian Commission

Sons of the Union

As the crowd gathers...

...so do the deer enjoy the show!

Good morning!!

Unfortunately the rebels lose this battle

Members of the 140th New York Infantry, Company B
and the 9th NY Cavalry

The rebels fire to a standing ovation

The Confederate Camp along the Country Lane

Bill Wadekis of the 14th Brooklyn NYS militia

Louisiana Light Artillery

1st Tennessee Light Artillery

The children looking for spent cartridges

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Natural Dyeing at the Tinker Park
What a great evening prior to the Civil War Living History Days event. Participants learned the art and history of dyeing materials naturally. It was a pleasure to present Vicki Webeck to the class as she is a well-known textile dyer. She hails from Florida and spends many months rendezvousing at various living history events throughout the east coast.

Vicki shows fabric dyed with Black Walnut
The first class Vicki attended was about 6 years ago at the Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mumford, NY with Frieda Peasly. Frieda recently stopped by for a visit to give a demonstration on our spinning wheels here at the Tinker Museum -Check out the earlier post. Vicki's dyeing method has evolved from specific recipe dyeing to a more laid back dash of this, and bit of that. She provides dyed textiles for many reenactors.

Some of the many seeds to be used to for the Historic Dye Garden next Spring here at the Tinker Homestead. Many of the plants on the land here, The Tinker Family used to dye their fabrics with, one being Queen Anne's Lace.

Queen Anne's Lace has some interesting folklore attached to it. Queen Anne, wife of James I of England, was an avid lace maker, and is the namesake of the flower. The tiny purple dot in the center represents a spot of blood caused by a needle prick to the queen’s finger, and this tiny sliver of color was thought to cure epilepsy.

Pounding Queen Anne's Lace
To test the colorfastness of a fabric/plant, try pounding a piece of the dyestuff on the fabric, then give a clear rinse and hang outside in the sun to dry for several days. After washing, you'll see how the dye holds.

Notice the chartruese of Queen Anne!

Wool soaking in Alum as a pre-mordant
Mordant is from Latin "to bite," mordants are chemicals used to fix pigments into fabric during the dyeing process. Alum and iron sulfite are common mordants.

These are usually considered the discards of the vegetable, but not always. Some people have discovered their powerful ability to lend a rich golden color to soups and to dye yarn and fabric. The Greeks traditionally use red onion-skins to dye their Easter eggs a bright pinkish red.

Onion Skins in the dyebath

Onion skins give a lovely golden color

Black Walnut
The black walnut tree is native to central and eastern U.S. It is a very tall tree growing to a height of 130 feet. The trunk is covered with a dark brown to black bark. Black walnut shells were used in 1st century Rome to keep hair from turning white. The hulls give many shades from light grey, brown to black. Black walnut is 0ne of the many trees used by the Tinker family for dye.

Pulling the wool from the Black Walnut dye bath

We also used Logwood, this tree is native to Central America and the northern part of South America, and can be mail ordered through many sites found on the web. It has a reddish, twisted and gnarled trunk that grows to a height of 50 feet and is covered with thorns. Logwood was discovered in Mexico by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. Logwood yields a purple dye.

The many purple hues of Logwood

One of my favorite dyes to work with was Brazilwood.

Brazilwood tree
The discovery of the New World and the establishment of trade routes to the Americas led to the introduction into Europe of new mordant dyes such as brazilwood. The most commercially viable resource of Brazil in the first decades proved to be the item that gave the country its name, brazilwood, a tropical hardwood useful as a textile dye. Brazilwood yields a beautiful assortment of red hues.

The dyestuff soaks overnight in a jar of simmering water, then gets added to the dyepot later.

Mail ordered Brazilwood before and after soaking

Checking the wool, just beautiful!

Giving a clear rinse

The finished product!

Photo courtesy http://www.renaissancedyeing.com/latest/?sectionid=1
Washing day

Monroe Beekeepers Update

Hi All:
I have donated some books and a video to Tinker Nature Park so if you are interested in any of those materials please see Tim Pratt at the Hansen Nature Center. Bob Ducan, the Bee Inspector, will be coming to our next meeting which is scheduled for Tuesday, August 14th, 5:30 pm.
Bob will be showing us what he is looking for when he comes to inspect our hives. This is a good time to ask those questions you may have on disease control. If it is raining we will be forced to go inside and do a dry run inside. If it's not raining, we will be in the Bee Yard opening hives and checking them out so if you have a suit, bring it to the next meeting.

I hope to see you all there!

Damon Lincourt

Medieval beekeepers
Medieval beekeepers did not breed bees in the modern sense of the word. In Germany their bees were wild bees living in the endless forests, somewhat domesticated by the beekeepers by providing ideal nesting places and somehow guiding a new colony to these manmade places. Usually the beekeeper would cut of the top of a suitable tree near the edge of the forest or at the edge of a clearing. The remaining trunk had to be high enough to offer some protection from bears and low enough for the beekeeper to reach the bees without too much trouble. He would then carve a hole big enough for a colony into the trunk or use a natural cavity in the trunk. He would also make sure the sun could shine on the trunk most of the day and thus keep it warm.

Once a suitable place was found or prepared, the beekeeper would close most of the opening with wooden planks leaving just enough room for the bees to fly in and out of the nest, while protecting the colony from bears and other honey loving creatures. The honey was usually harvestet ind late spring when nature provided enough food for the bees. The honeycombs were simply broken out to the nests and the wax was separated from the honey.
Excerpt from http://www.ars-magica.net/index.php?id=178&L=1

Field Day at Tinker Nature Park

Sponsored by:
Broccolo Tree & Lawn Care

Wednesday, August 15

10am - 2pm
Explore pond life, identify insects, take a
nature & wildflower walk,
good bug puppet show,
face painting & more...

This is an ALL ages event that is FREE and open to the public!
Pre-registration is not required.

Tinker Nature Park
1525 Calkins Road Henrietta, NY 14467