Oskaloosa.com

July 5, 2013

Learn how pioneers made things at Nelson Pioneer Farm

By DUANE NOLLEN
The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — Want to have some summertime fun while learning a new craft? If so, the Nelson Pioneer Farm is the place to be in July.

Nelson Pioneer Farm Curator Kelly Halbert is hosting daily craft classes from 1 to 2:30 p.m. People can learn how pioneers made things themselves that are available at the local store.

Each day of the week has a theme. Tuesday is “Work and Play”; Wednesday, Wool; Thursday, “Wheels”; Friday; “School Recess”; and Saturday, “Country Skills.”

“Today is vinegar,” Halbert said Tuesday afternoon.

“I believe in hands-on” learning, she said.

Halbert demonstrated how pioneers, such as the Nelson family, would make vinegar.

“Vinegar was their preservative,” she said. “You pickled everything.”

Vinegar ensured that pioneers had vegetables through the winter and into the spring, she added.

Pioneers could make apple cider vinegar, or they could dice up herbs such as tarragon, oregano, dill, or parsley, sage and thyme soak them in vinegar and strain the herbs through cheese cloth and pour the liquid into a vinegar jar, she said.

Halbert also spoke about other craft classes she will teach in July.

“I’m really excited to do the wash, spin and dye,” he said. “I have several ladies who want to learn how to spin. Watching natural dyes dye is like watching grass grow.” So, Halbert said she will instruct people on how to spin during that time.

“I’m excited to do the soap making on the 16th,” Halbert said.

Halbert said she will not use lye, a caustic substance, for kids to make a ball of hard soap.

“We’ll do candle dipping,” she said. “It’s a fun little craft to do.”

Halbert said she also will teach finger weaving to make friendship bracelets.

One class will focus on making pottery and painting it while another will feature puppets and storytelling. One of the last classes will be book making where children can make their own small journal.

“We’ll decorate the cover and tie the string” for binding, she said.

Admission fees apply for the craft classes. A family membership at Nelson Pioneer Farm is $18 and covers all admission for events in 2013.

Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at oskynews@oskyherald.com