This year marks our third annual Winter Frolic, and did it ever bring out a good crowd of people! Even though last year’s event had wonderful sunshine and this year was overcast with temperatures around -8°, the crowd must have been twice as big. In fact, our chief cook and bottle washer had to go for more wieners and buns barely halfway through the event.
The three big attractions at Winter Frolic are the sleigh rides, the wiener roast with its marshmallows and hot chocolate, and the big man-made snow hill. A large number of youngsters had brought their sleds to tackle that hill, its sides a challenging climb. Anyone getting chilled was able to warm up by the Blacksmith Shop’s wood stove and forge, and in Heritage Hall. Three teams of heavy horses pulled full sleighs, taking turns at times to give the horses a break.
Besides the actual festivities, visitors were able to tour the buildings, where the process of reorganizing artifacts is well underway. But why use words to describe it all? The photos below will tell you how Winter Frolic went. Click on any photo to enlarge it.
Saturday, February 13, 2016 (storm date Feb. 20) 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Horse-drawn sleigh rides, hot chocolate, wiener and marshmallow roast, blacksmithing demo.
Bring your sleds and toboggans, kids!
Admission: Freewill offering.
Gathering up “new” artifacts is an ongoing concern at NFHC. People will call up to say they’re moving, or they’re cleaning out their barn, or perhaps the farm has been sold… there are many reasons for individuals donating items to us. Directors will discuss what we already have to see whether something new should be accepted, since storage and display space is limited. If the item in question is a duplicate to what we already have, it might be turned down. Usually a director will go and see what it looks like. If it’s too bulky, or possibly in very bad shape, it could also be turned down.
Most artifacts are gratefully accepted, however. The photos in this post show some of our newest acquisitions. From top to bottom, they include:
- a mink muff to keep a girl’s hands warm
- two quilts. One (mauve) is a Dresden Plate, hand pieced by Maie Bentley (1884-1942), hand quilted by Billtown Baptist Church quilting group in 2015. The other (yellow) is a Pinwheel Star – Barbara Frietschie, hand pieced by Maie Bentley or her mother Becky (1851-1936), hand quilted by Billtown Baptist Church in 2014. Both donated by the Bentley family, signed by Margaret Bentley, granddaughter of Maie Bentley.
- a mangle iron for ironing sheets. It has all steel construction.
- a cream separator
- several copies of Blacksmith Magazine from 1940 and 1941.
Among artifacts being re-organized at NFHC this winter is an item that none of us can identify. We are posting various pictures of it here in the hope that some visitor to the site may know what it is. If anyone has an older relative with a farming background, please ask them to help. What could it be? If you can help, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve had a few dozen apple stencils in our collection for some time, but a recent addition has more than doubled that number. A donation from Bill and Mary Swetnam of Sheffield Mills has resulted in a second large wall display in the cooper shop. Many of the varieties shown have long since disappeared from Nova Scotia orchards, such as Jenneting, Maiden’s Blush, Laxton’s Superb, and Fallawater.
In fact, C.M. Collins noted in the 1930s that Valley orchardists grew far too many varieties of apples. Annual admonitions from speakers at the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers (NSFGA) annual convention repeated that theme. Some varieties just didn’t produce enough fruit, lacked sufficient quality for easy marketing, or otherwise dragged down the performance of the apple industry.
Barrel stencils were used to paint the name of each variety on each three-bushel wooden barrel before leaving packing houses along the railroad tracks. Some of the larger packers printed colourful and well designed paper labels to do the same thing. NFHC has a couple of these labels on display in Heritage Hall.
An earlier donation to NFHC, a large 1941 calendar, turned out to hold a complicated four-way graph on the back, carefully hand drawn by some long-gone bookkeeper. Although the pencilled writing was badly faded in spots, we found that this record enumerated that portion of the 1941 apple crop that was handled by the North Mountain Fruit Company at Woodville. All the growers’ names were there, as well as the varieties they shipped, and the volume, in barrels, of each variety.
With 2015’s events at NFHC now over, work continues on maintenance of buildings and collection of artifacts. Volunteers show up on Wednesday mornings to do what needs to be done. If any reader of this website is willing and able, NFHC can always use some help. Our monthly directors’ meetings are held the first Thursday of each month, and anyone is welcome.
To enlarge photos, click on them.
Northville Farm Heritage Centre has been used for many different events, but on October 10, 2015, it became a wedding venue for the first time. Ronee-Lee Farris and Eric Gillis were married by a justice of the peace on the veranda of the Carriage House. Guests were seated on chairs and at picnic tables in front of the couple, under sunny skies with a cool fall wind.
Both Ronee-Lee and Eric wanted a rustic, farm-type background for their photos, and NFHC can certainly provide that. Perhaps this event was the first of many more weddings here. Couples could also come here just to take their photos, with North Mountain as the scenic background.
After several days of rain, which caused the Fall Tractor Pull to be postponed for a day, the sun shone on Northville Farm Heritage Centre. People of all ages were able to attend, including a number of children and even a baby. Although the adults focused on the tractors competing to pull the heaviest weights, the kids entertained themselves quite nicely. The antique hand pump mounted in between a couple of NFHC buildings has challenged them for a number of years: can you actually get water out of that? A new swing set, with antique equipment seats, was similarly of interest.
The track had been packed down especially hard before the event – and before the rain – but all the water that fell still made it necessary to grade the surface in between weight classes. Only Mike Sandford made the full pull of 250 feet, with his 1963 Cockshutt, in the 11,000 lb. class.
“It was still pretty good day”, says chairman Jos VanOoostrum. “People seemed to be having a good time.”
About twenty tractors took part, with an average of three hookups each.
The Antique Tractor Pull planned for Saturday, Oct. 3, has been postponed until Sunday, Oct. 4, due to rain.
Everyone is welcome to attend this event, which should get underway by about ten a.m. (if the rain ever stops!!!). The Cookhouse will be open.
The date of the Fall Tractor Pull as been changed to October 3
(rain date October 4),
due to a timing conflict with Hants County Exhibition.
Our September 6 Harvest Festival came with full sun, high temperatures and a nice breeze – in other words, ideal weather for an outdoor event. This resulted in a very good attendance, as evidenced by Cookhouse sales that almost doubled those of last year’s event. For planners, weather is always the big question, and we got lucky.
As a result, the harvesting crew was able to demonstrate the old ways of mowing and threshing a crop of dry oats. This remains the prime reason for having a harvest event, but other attractions have been added over the years to bring out people of every age group. They include the baking, gardening, and knitting competitions. The latter was new this year but attracted a good number of entries. In fact, the second place winner in both the socks and hats classes was an 80+ man, who entered his delicately made baby bonnet and booties. Having visitors identify old tools remains very popular also.
For kids, the face painting, fish pond, and balloon animals remain big attractions. But their enjoyment of this event is far broader than that. Where else would they, especially town kids, find a large, safe property where they can run around freely in the fresh, clean air? Ice cream is just one more big bonus.
The photos above, collectively, are worth more than a thousand words.