Ohio's largest living history destination offering guests experiences
rich in history, hospitality, creativity and fun!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rug Hooking History

As we welcome rug hookers from across the country to our nationally-recognized Rug Hooking event this week, we realize there are still many people who don’t know much about this traditional art form. Here is just a bit of history to help you better understand this beautiful craft . . .

Rug hooking started in the mid 1800s in the Eastern United States. Like many crafts, rug hooking was started out of necessity. Colonial women used rags to make hand-hooked rugs to use on their floors in the summer and on beds in the winter.

The base of the rugs was made from the burlap sacks that the livestock feed came in and the fabric was any material that could be found including worn clothing, rags, old wool blankets or spun wool. Women hooked rugs in their homes to help pass the time during the hard cold winters.

To hook a rug, the rug hooker, with her right hand above the pattern and the cloth strips in her left hand underneath, pushes the hook down through the burlap. The hook catches the cloth strip and the rug hooker draws it back up to form a loop on the top of the burlap. Loops about half an inch long (length can vary) are formed to create the rug.

People eventually began selling hand-hooked rugs and cottage industries sprang up across the country. By the 1940s rug hooking had become a well-established hobby in the United States and Canada and its popularity continues to grow today. Hand-hooked rugs can be found in art galleries and museums throughout the world.

Again this year, rug hookers from across the country are gathering at Sauder Village to celebrate this traditional craft. This spectacular event includes workshops, lectures, vendors, demonstrations and a breath-taking exhibit in Founder’s Hall. We hope you'll visit the exhibit to see what all the excitement is about!

More detail about this special event can be found online at:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

School Days

It's hard to believe that school will soon be back in session for students throughout the region. Parents will be shopping for notebooks, pencils and new school clothes in preparation for another school year.

Have you ever wondered how our classrooms of today differ from those of 100 years ago? If so, we hope you'll take time to visit our District 16 School! Have a seat in desks, complete with ink wells, just as students did in their new school building in 1898.  Discover how the lives of today’s students and teachers differ from those of children years ago.  And, maybe you’ll learn of some aspects of one-room schools that still continue today.

The school that we call District 16 was originally called District #3, or Maple Grove School, in Chesterfield Township of Fulton County, Ohio.  The Maple Grove School was actually moved to Sauder Village from an area near the Ohio-Michigan border, north of the town of Wauseon.  It was used from 1898 to 1916. The first four buildings built in the Maple Grove District were log buildings much like the Log Schoolhouse in the Historic Village.  Our “District 16” schoolhouse was the seventh building built in that district.  After being used for 18 years, a new centralized school was built in 1916, and the time of one-room schoolhouses in Fulton County came to an end.

Interesting Facts About our Schools at Sauder Village (Log School and District 16 School):

In the 1830s, children attended school for short periods of time, sometimes for as little as 3 months during the winter!

In schools like our Log Schoolhouse, greased or oiled paper was often used over window openings due to the great expense of glass panes

One-room schools housed all the children in a district, often ranging from 6 to 20 years of age!

Our District 16 School was built in 1898 at a cost of $687.00.

Before being located by Erie Sauder, and restored at the Historic Village, the District 16 building was being used as a granary.

You will find 2 entry doors on the front of the District 16 School. It was specifically designed that way, with one entry for the girls to use, and one for the boys.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Food Preservation - Not Just for Grandma Anymore!

With grocery stores offering a variety of foods throughout the year and refrigerators and freezers in our homes - it might seem that canning and preserving foods would be a thing of the past. However, it seems food preservation is actually the new trend in homes across the country. Canning and preserving is not just for grandma anymore! In fact, some professionals in the canning business estimate that more than half of the canning population is under the age of 45!

Throughout the season guests visiting Historic Sauder Village can often see an assortment of vegetables being harvested from our gardens. Our costumed guides demonstrate a variety of food preservation techniques including drying, pickling, canning and even smoking meats. These demonstrations give our guests a unique look at the food preservation efforts of days gone by. The demonstrations vary with the season and time period in the Historic Village and recipes are often available for guests to take home.

Interested in giving food preservation a try but not sure where to start? Visit our website for some recipes and links to valuable food preservation resources!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Erie Express Chugs Along…

Thanks to a group of friends, the Erie Express train will stay on track!

The Erie Express is a replica of an 1863 steam engine which played an important part in building America’s first transcontinental railroad.  Guests of all ages enjoy traveling back in time by riding the Erie Express through the historic timeline at Sauder Village, including Natives and Newcomers, Pioneer Settlement, and the 1910 Homestead area. 

Keeping the train running safely is a big task and our maintenance staff makes this a priority.  However, servicing the train is difficult and time-consuming.  Access to the underside of the train is necessary to maintain the equipment, requiring the over three-ton train to be lifted off the track. 

Unfortunately, this has caused our guests to experience interruptions in service.  No more!

Now, this disruption will be minimal as friends of Sauder Village contributed funds needed to build an underground service area that will enable our train to be inspected and serviced more efficiently. 

The underground service area will be built by the end of this season!  Thank you to everyone who has helped keep the Erie Express on track!

Even some of our youngest members made a donation
to this special project! Gifts to support the Erie Express
are still welcome. We are grateful to everyone who
has helped make this project possible!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dean Spangler Elected Chairman at Sauder Village

The Board of Trustees of Sauder Village recently selected Dean Spangler as the organization’s first ‘non-family’ chairman. Dean follows Maynard Sauder who will continue to serve as a member of the board of trustees and as ‘Chairman Emeritus’ at Sauder Village reflecting his long service to the living-history museum founded  through the vision of his father, Erie Sauder in 1976.

Mr. Sauder noted that he and his wife, Carolyn, Executive Director Emeritus, were so pleased with Dean’s enthusiasm to serve. “Dean Spangler has a lot of energy and passion for Sauder Village and has already made a difference in its operations and plans. Our family is excited that another ‘family business’ leader that shares and understands Erie’s vision is willing to participate in leadership.”

Mr. Spangler stepped down from the CEO position at Spangler Candy Company in July 2011, where he continues to serve as Chairman. “To be asked by the Sauder family to serve as Sauder Village Chairman is the pinnacle of my career and my greatest honor,” Dean shared. “The village was created by the Sauder family’s amazing philanthropy over the past 35 years.  Today it belongs to all of us in Northwestern Ohio and is our collective responsibility to help sustain it for generations to come.”

Dean added, “I believe that Sauder Village is an extremely important cultural and economic asset of Northwest Ohio.  Erie Sauder wanted to make sure that all of us understood and remembered the hard work of our ancestors who settled this part of Ohio in the 1830s, drained the Great Black Swamp and established the foundation of one of the greatest agricultural economic systems in our nation’s history.  Erie believed that history was best learned by experiencing it and that is what a living history village like Sauder Village is all about.”                           

Debbie Sauder David, Sauder Village Executive Director, is also looking forward to Dean’s increased involvement at Sauder Village. “Dean brings a wealth of experience in business development, strategic planning and leadership to our Sauder Village Board,” Debbie shared. “Even more important, however, is Dean’s passion for our mission.”

Other members of the Sauder Village Board of Trustees include Dick Anderson, The Andersons, Inc.; Julie Brotje Higgins, Ph.D., CFA, The Trust Company of Toledo; Marcia Sloan Latta, DePauw University; Ed Nofziger, Haas Door Company; Harold Plassman, Plassman, Rupp, Short & Hagans; Carolyn Sauder, Executive Director Emeritus, Sauder Village; Myrl Sauder, Chairman, Sauder Woodworking Co.; Maynard Sauder, Chairman Emeritus, Sauder Woodworking Co. and Sauder Village; Shirley Short, Founding Board Member and Rick Yocum, Yocum Consulting Associates, Inc.

Board members also elected to serve in leadership roles for 2012 include Myrl Sauder as Vice-Chair, Rick Yocum as Treasurer and Harold Plassman as Secretary.

The Sauder Village mission is to provide guests with experiences rich in history, hospitality, creativity, and fun.  Since opening in 1976, Sauder Village has grown to a 235-acre complex with more than 450 employees and 400 adult and 200 youth volunteers.  As Ohio’s largest living history destination, Sauder Village includes the award winning Historic Village, the 98-room Sauder Heritage Inn, a 48-site campground, the 350-seat Barn Restaurant, the Doughbox Bakery, and banquet seating for 750 in Founders Hall.  The Historic Village preserves more than 75 historic structures and nearly 50,000 artifacts where history is brought to life through the stories, demonstrations, and programs that impact nearly 100,000 guests of all ages each season.  Proceeds from the retail and hospitality areas, along with admissions, memberships, and donations, contribute to the financial support for this 501(c)(3) organization.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Buttercup's New Calves!

This week we were pleased to welcome two new calves to our Sauder Village barnyard! Our Milking Shorthorn cow, Buttercup, gave birth to a set of twins Tuesday evening. Both calves (a heifer and a bull) and their momma are doing just fine!

Experiencing life on the farm is a favorite part of the Sauder Village experience for many of our guests. They love meeting the oxen, watching our historic farmer use horses to work in the fields and seeing the baby chicks, lambs and calves grow up throughout the season.
Providing quality care for our animals is quite an expense for our non-profit organization. Sauder Village will invest a minimum of $1,750 in the coming year to raise a baby calf (and now that dollar amount is doubled with a surprise set of twins!). We’ll have feed, hay and water to buy as well as vaccinations to keep our new calves healthy. We’ll also have labor expenses for our historic farmer to help care for these new additions to our barnyard.

Don’t these new baby calves just make you smile? If so, we’re hoping you’ll consider supporting our historic farming program at Sauder Village. Why not make a donation today to help with the on-going care of our new baby calves? Whether you donate $25 or $250 . . . . your support will help care for this adorable set of twins!

Click here to help support Buttercup and her calves! Make your donation today and be sure to stay tuned for more updates on our calves and other new deliveries expected this spring! We hope you’ll visit often this season to watch as our calves grow. Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sauder Village . . . In Their Words

We love to tell the Sauder Village story . . . sharing information about our events, costumed guides, working craftsmen and the special activities we have to offer. However, there is also great value in hearing stories from a guest perspective - their thoughts, perceptions and experiences of Sauder Village and Archbold, OH.

We hope you enjoy this story shared in a recent issue of Rug Hooking Magazine by Linda and Nola - two talented rug hookers who joined us last summer for our Rug Hooking Event. They have truly captured the Sauder Village experience and we appreciate their help in sharing our story. Enjoy!

And now for the rest of the story . . . 
Linda’s story:
Like everyone else, I always build up in my mind’s eye how a place will look and what it will be like even before I arrive. Sauder Village and Rug Hooking Week were no exception.

My sister Nola and I had an annual ritual. Each year, before she left for Sauder Village for the week, we talked about her upcoming trek to Ohio, like what she would bring for the booth and what she might be teaching, and who she might see while there. Our ritual wasn’t complete until she returned and filled me in on all the sights, sounds, and even tastes of the week.
Rolling into Archbold from hours on the interstate and years of having Nola paint a picture of the town I was still surprised. I have to say it right now: Archbold is an adorable town. Surrounded by neat fields of towering corn, Archbold is the kind of town you would see featured in a heart-warming movie about Americana. Perfectly manicured lawns and one adorable house after another met my eyes . . . . .

Friday, March 23, 2012

Why Woodcarving?

In celebration of National Craft Month, here is another article from one of our talented craftsmen at Sauder Village!By Jean McDonald, Sauder Village Craftsmen
What could possess someone to want to get up at 7:00 am on Saturday mornings to watch television? That is when a PBS series, Woodcarving with Rick Butz, aired in the 1990s featuring Rick Butz, a woodcarver from New York State. It was fascinating to watch him create figures from little chunks of wood as he continually reminded his viewers that anyone can carve wood.  I was prompted to make a donation to PBS in order to get his book that featured the projects in the series. Now, it is almost 25 years later and I have yet to meet the person who unwittingly tweaked an interest that became a passion for carving.

I love to demonstrate carving at historic sites because the children always come up with new and interesting comments and questions. Adults ask things like, “How long did it take you to carve that? (Answer: I don’t know because it was fun.) What kind of wood is that? (Answer: Probably basswood because it carves nicely or maybe something that was free. Free basswood is the best.) Kids ask questions like, “Why did you make it purple” and “Can you make a dragon?”  It is great fun to encourage them to touch the carvings and talk to them about their own creative processes. I always ask them if they are woodcarvers already and they usually say no. My response is always, “Well, it is not too late for you to learn.” You can usually see a spark of interest light up in their eyes as they imagine themselves, knives in hand, attacking a chunk of wood.

Woodcarving can be enjoyed with a minimal number of tools. A knife, gouge, a v-tool and a sharpening strop can get a person started doing relief carving, three dimensional carving, animals, caricatures, architectural carving, folk carving – the possibilities are limited only by your own imagination! There are many woodcarving books, classes and carving clubs in the area to help new carvers get started.  The internet is also a great source of information and supplies.

Sauder Village is one of the few places where time truly stands still for me. It has been one of my favorite places for many years, enjoying art, craft, and history. Visiting the farmhouse is just like a visit to my grandmother’s home. I remember when Grandma heated with a coal stove and you knew it was “safe” to crawl out from under the warm comforters from the unheated second floor bedrooms when you heard the clinkers rattling and coal pouring into the stove for the morning fire.

I love attending the Woodcarver’s Show and Sale each October and now am very fortunate to be able to be a part of the event by setting up a table and attending classes.  Another favorite activity is to be able to volunteer to demonstrate fiber art in June at the Focus on Fiber Arts event. What great fun to pack up my spinning wheel and wool and spend the day spinning and talking to visitors about another activity that I love. This past summer I also worked in the Basket Shop and Tin Shop a few days each week weaving baskets and making my favorite, tin cookie cutters. The visitors are great sources of information relating their stories and memories.

If you are interested in learning more about woodcarving here are some sources I have found useful:
Woodcarving with Rick Butz by Rick and Ellen Butz
How to Carve Wood by Richard Butz
Woodcarving Illustrated - a magazine published by Fox Chapel Publishing. www.woodcarvingillustrated.com
Woodcarving Magazine, www.carvingmagazine.com
National Wood Carvers Association - P.O. Box 43218, Cincinnati, Ohio 45243
Woodcraft  - 577 Foundation, Perrysburg, Ohio
Sauder Village Woodcarving Show - October 27 and 28, 2012

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Learning to Make Buckets

Have you ever wondered where we find so many talented craftsmen to share their skills at Sauder Village? Some craftsmen have been weaving or making baskets for years and others may have learned a new craft just to work at Sauder Village! To help celebrate “National Craft Month,” here are some thoughts from one of our coopers . . .

By Mark Breininger, Cooper

Becoming a member of the Sauder Village family came at the right time in my life. My father-in-law, a Master Cooper, encouraged me to visit Sauder Village and consider working in the Black Swamp Cooperage. I was hesitant at first because this opportunity was totally out of the realm of my life. I wasn’t sure how comfortable I would be speaking to hundreds of people each day and engaging guests who want to see and hear about being a cooper. However, I soon realized how much I love history and being a part of Sauder Village!

Learning the craft of coopering was made easy with the help of two knowledgeable coopers – Chuck Salsbury and Kenny Schang. Under their guidance, I learned the right way to make a quality wooden bucket, butter churn or keg. Learning this craft has taken me back 200 years! In the Cooper’s Shop we use the same tools as our forefathers. We start with a log, striking it with a froe, splitting the wood and shaping that piece of wood into a stave. Using the draw knives, shaves, scorps and planes I have learned to create items to hold dry goods, liquids and more.

Working as a cooper at Sauder Village is very rewarding and satisfying. At what other job can you meet people from all over the world on any given day? All of the talented craftsmen at Sauder Village make my job even better. They all love sharing the history and demonstrating their craft just as our founder Erie Sauder envisioned. I’m having so much fun making buckets and hope to be involved at Sauder Village for many years to come!  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wedding of Your Dreams at Sauder Village

Field trips, day trips and family vacations often come to mind when people think about Sauder Village. For many brides and grooms; however, Sauder Village plays an important role on their wedding day . . . offering unique facilities, varied food options and welcoming hospitality.

“It is so much fun to work with brides as they plan their wedding at Sauder Village,” shared Amy Whitacre, sales manager. “From planning menus, discussing decorations and set-up to all the other important event details – it’s a pleasure to be involved and help brides plan the wedding of their dreams!”

Why host your event at Sauder Village? There are so many reasons . . .
• Beautiful facilities
• Experienced Staff
• Professional meeting planners
• Attention to detail
• Relaxed atmosphere
• Unforgettable memories
• Exceptional food
• Proceeds support mission of the Historic Village

Sauder Village is one of the premier venues for weddings and receptions in Northwest Ohio. From outdoor weddings on the Village Green to a small ceremony in the historic church or a larger gathering in Founder’s Hall – there are so many options! With guest rooms at the Heritage Inn, varied food options at Founder’s Hall and the Barn Restaurant, and our experienced staff – it’s easy to see why so many brides and grooms choose Sauder Village for their special day! Visit our banquet/conference page online: http://www.saudervillage.org/Banquets_and_Conferences/default.asp

Are you planning a wedding? Make plans to attend our annual Sauder Village Bridal Show this Sunday, March 11 from noon-4:00 p.m. in Founder’s Hall. Show information and a discount coupon are available at www.saudervillage.org/bridal   You can also contact our Group Sales team to schedule a tour or to receive more information. Call 800.590.9755 or e-mail groupsales@saudervillage.org and we’ll work out the details together!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Make a Difference at the Winter Family Picnics

By Kim Krieger, PR/Media Relations

As Sauder Village reflects on 35 years of bringing living-history to millions of guests, we also look to the future. During difficult economic times, Sauder Village has learned to do more with less while never compromising the overall experience. However, even with many cost saving decisions, we need your help. What began as Erie Sauder’s passion backed by his financial resources is a nonprofit that needs the help of its far-reaching community to keep its mission alive. Maintaining this resource is a labor-intensive undertaking. Although proceeds from admissions,  hospitality, and retail areas support our educational mission, they do not cover the expense of maintaining the living-history village. To keep Sauder Village accessible and affordable for all, we rely on friends, businesses and the community for support. Your gifts truly make the difference!

A great way to show your support is by joining us on Tuesday, February 28th for our annual Winter Family Picnic Fundraiser. A tradition in the community since 2003 Winter Family Picnics allow families to enjoy a delicious meal in Founder’s Hall while supporting Historic Sauder Village and the projects of many other non-profit organizations. This year’s community fundraisers will provide support for the Sauder Village annual fund, the 9/11 Memorial Fund and the Archbold Area Foundation.

From 4:30-7:00 p.m. a hearty meal of Barn chicken, BBQ Pork Sandwiches, potato and vegetable will be available in Founder’s Hall. Cole slaw, dessert salad, rolls and drink are also included and carryout-out meals will be available. This hearty meal is available with a free will donation.

The partner organization for the first Winter Picnic on Tuesday, February 28 is the 9/11 Memorial Fund. The 9/11 Memorial Fund is sponsored by the Fire and EMS Departments, Law Enforcement, and Veterans within Fulton County. The group is seeking donations to support the opening of the 9/11 Memorial at the Fulton County Fairgrounds. The Wauseon Fire Department was selected to receive a steel column from the World Trade Center for use in making a permanent memorial in Fulton County. The 12 foot steel column that weighs 3,615 pounds arrived in Fulton County on June 17. A design for this memorial has been established and the volunteers hope to have the memorial finished in time for the 2012 Fulton County Fair. Your participation in the February 28th Winter Family Picnic at Sauder Village is one way you can help make the 9/11 Memorial possible.

The Archbold Area Foundation is the partner organization for the Winter Family Picnic on March 13. The Archbold Area Foundation is completing 27 years of service to the Archbold community. Over the past five years, the foundation has given $110,438.96 to various local citizens and organizations.

The proceeds shared from both Winter Family Picnics will be directed to the Sauder Village Annual Fund. Gifts to the Annual Fund support the mission of the Historic Village, where history is brought to life with authentic demonstrations, costumed interpreters, talented artisans, and engaging programs that make history relevant for all ages in a wholesome, fun, and family-friendly environment. Historic Sauder Village  allows generations of people the opportunity to spend quality time together as they learn about the history and values that shaped Northwest Ohio. What began as one man's passion relies on support from our local communities to ensure that this historical and cultural treasure can continue to positively impact the lives of many for years to come.

We hope you’ll make plans to join us!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Wonderful Way to Spend My Days!

By Rebecca Landin, Sauder Village Volunteer

My dream as a youngster was to teach history. I eventually did teach but it was Spanish and English.   However, for the last 16 years I have had the pleasure of doing what I had once dreamed of but in an even more exciting way.  It all started because I am a rug hooker. I make traditional hooked rugs as they were made in the 1800s and I attended the first rug week at Sauder Village years ago. I was excited to see that they wanted volunteers to demonstrate the art in the Village (and in period dress!)  And so, I threw together an outfit and signed up immediately to spend part of that first week sitting in the Village Green sharing my craft. That was my introduction to Sauder Village and all the opportunities available to volunteers.  Before long I was coming throughout the season and had a regular spot on the Mennonite House porch.  Needless to say, that first outfit was soon replaced with one that was a little bit more historically accurate and today you will often find me in the summer kitchen of the Stuckey farm.  What a wonderful way to spend my days!  No phones, no demands—just a day of rug hooking and sharing my passion with others.
The guests are always appreciative of the opportunity to learn not just about my rugs, but also about the past as it comes alive in the Village. The children are especially fun as they are never afraid to ask questions or to try their hand at “helping” me with my rug. It is gratifying to know that I am able to give them some insight into life as it was for their ancestors. But they aren’t the only guests that make my days special.  I love sharing stories with the older guests and listening to them reminisce. Every time I hear one of them say “I remember when…” I know another great story is on its way. What a wealth of information they have to share! And every year when a guest steps up and says “I remember you!  You told me about….” it only reminds me that we do make a difference here. Our international guests add another dimension as we discover together that people around the world really share a great deal. While the culture may be different, the needs have always been the same and it is an adventure to discover how the challenges our ancestors faced were also faced by others around the world. 

The guests are not the only reason the volunteer experience at Sauder Village is such a treat. I have met and worked with many other volunteers and staff members over the years. While we don’t have much time to just sit and visit I have developed some wonderful relationships. I have attended workshops to learn more about our history and have had access to the library. I have learned skills and been exposed to things that I would never had experienced if I had not signed up to be a part of the Sauder Village family. And would it be a surprise to mention that I can use my “work” days as an excuse to enjoy just one more item from the Sweet Shoppe or Ice Cream Parlor? 

 My volunteering has expanded with time. I have helped many children (and a few adults!) make corn husk dolls. I work at the Information Table at special events like the Quilt Show and the Woodcarver’s Show and, of course, I am involved with the Rug Hooking Week each year. I have even learned to scan items into the computer program for the museum project (talk about “teaching an old dog new tricks”)!   What a thrill to see up close some of the items in the collection! And I know if I lived closer and had more time there are a lot more opportunities I could take advantage of.

As a retired school teacher I am grateful for my experience as a volunteer. It isn’t just something to help me fill the time.  It is an opportunity for growth—in knowledge and skills, in friendships, and in feeling that the best is yet to come!

GET INVOLVED!  Are you inspired by Rebecca’s involvement at Sauder Village? We’d love to welcome you to the Sauder Village family as well! To learn more about volunteer opportunities and how you can get involved yet this season give us a call at 800.590.9755 or visit our Volunteer Page

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Happy Gardening!

By Susan Burkhart,
Supervisor of Grounds

Winter is the perfect time to get excited about the summer season ahead. The seed catalogs arriving in the mail provide inspiration about the unique vegetables and flowers you’d like to grow in your garden this summer.
I love that each year the seed bank brings out different seeds from years gone by. The heirloom variety of seeds is endless and the taste of these historic vegetables can sometimes be superior to anything you can buy from the store. For me, heirloom varieties mean lots of flavor. Growers today often have to sacrifice the flavor of vegetables while selecting a variety that can be grown in quantity and easily shipped. These vegetables look great until you take that first bite.

When I started doing research on gardening I found a book from 1905 with details about Fulton County. It was a wonderful book sharing the history of the families living here. The part of the book I found most interesting was the record keeping. The book included details about the weather and a detailed list of varieties of vegetables, crops, and fruit trees. The list of trees growing were categorized by whether they were native or brought here from other parts of the country or even other countries. I’m guessing this gentleman either had little to do outside of gardening or he was just that passionate about keeping wonderful records! Either way, hats off to him for providing such a wonderful treasure for generations to come to stay connected to the past.

You can do something very similar! One thing I do every year is keep a journal throughout the season of what I want to grow and what worked well in our gardens the year before. At this time of the year, I often look back at my journal to see what I grew too much or not enough of last season and make adjustments for the coming year. I keep track of the weather - noting rain amounts, temperature, and how soon I was able to get in the gardens in the spring. You can keep a very detailed journal or keep it simple and just list the varieties you planted. An envelope to put the plant markers in with the year and notes on the outside also works well.

I hope you’ll take time this winter to learn more about heirloom varieties and make plans to include some new plants in your garden this season! To learn more about heirloom varieties, make plans for your garden, and even purchase seeds for this season there are a number of websites I find very useful.
Website resources include:

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
R.H. Shumway's
Landis Valley Museum
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Seed Savers Exchange

So get busy and start daydreaming of warmer weather and fresh produce from your garden. Happy gardening!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Before Snowplows and Snow Blowers

By Tracie Evans, Curator of Collections

Although snow has been sparse this year, the most recent snowfall brought to mind the large snowfalls of the past.  Have you ever wondered how people managed all the snow in Northwest Ohio before we had snowplows and snow blowers?  In the museum, visitors can see many of these snow related artifacts on display. 

Snow Roller
One of the most unique snow-related items in our collection is a snow roller.  This large wooden object features a 4’ wooden cylinder that was pulled by horses along drives and roadways to compact the snow into solid avenues.  This allowed sleighs and other winter vehicles to glide along without getting stuck or sinking into soft snow.

Wooden Snow Shovels
People also had to clear snow to their barns and outbuildings like the outhouse by hand. I’m sure no one wanted to wade through snow to the outhouse.  Most people cleared snow by hand using shovels. Although not everyone would have had specialized shovels, you will find five examples of snow shovels from the late 1800s in the museum.  These wooden shovels sometimes had metal on their ends to help with the removal of ice.  Just as today, ice was a problem on steps and walks, according to The American Frugal Housewife (1833), “salt strewed upon the door-steps in winter will cause the ice to crack, so that it can be easily removed.”  

There are several types of vehicles used for work in the winter.  Wide blades were used for untreated areas and heavy work while thin blades that needed compacted or hardened snow were used to transport people.  If you are or were an avid sled rider, this is the same principle between a traditional sled with runners and a flat sled or toboggan.  Although both types of runners work well on hardened or compacted snow, a traditional sled tends to get stuck in deep snow.  

Thin Runner
Wide Runner
To attend church, go to town, or visit with friends, families used either a cutter or a sleigh.  A cutter is a small single seat sleigh for one or two people.  A cutter was quick and light and usually pulled by a single horse. The small size however, made them impractical for a family.  Families used a sleigh that usually had at least two seats and were pulled by one or two horses.  Both sleighs and cutters worked best with only a few inches of unpacked snow or on packed snow.  

Albany Cutter
Russian-Style Sleigh
Many buggies and smaller wheeled vehicles had interchangeable runners so that they could be used year 'round. Our mail wagon has a set of these interchangeable runners allowing it to be used throughout the year.  Farmers also had a set of bobsled runners that could be used to replace the wheels on most farm wagons.   Bobsleds had wide blade runners that allowed farmers to continue to work around their farms throughout the winter. One important job was the harvesting of wood for fireplaces and sawmills. 

These winter items along with information about ice harvesting are featured in a special exhibit in the museum.  We hope that you will stop by when we open this spring to see these and other newly featured items throughout the museum.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter Comfort Foods

By Shellee Murcko, Education Assistant/Foodways Supervisor

Winter weather has finally arrived in Northwest Ohio.  The brisk winds brought chilling temperatures and a smattering of snow.  A warm evening at home sounds delightful and we crave warm, comforting foods to chase away the chill.

Soups and stews are ever-popular traditional winter foods.  Casseroles evolved from the pot pies of the past.  (Did you know that chicken pot pies from the Colonial era were made with whole pieces of chicken, including the bones?)  Other dishes, like macaroni and cheese, have their roots in centuries-old recipes, but have changed a great deal from those early versions.

Well into the twentieth century, most people consumed foods that were locally produced and preserved or seasonally available.  The settlers in Northwest Ohio were no exception.  Winter diets from early 1800s would have included times of hunger, and a monotonous diet based on dried grains, vegetables and fruits, meat from hunting and root crops.  When the railroads came into the area, things started to change.  More settlers came and many communities were organized.  Local general stores, bakeries, butchers and others set up shops.  By the turn of the twentieth century, seasonal foods from other areas were shipped in by rail, including oysters and oranges in the midwinter months.  Many journals were published that spread recipes and ideas of more gracious entertaining throughout the country.  As immigrants from different countries mixed in communities, so did their foods.  People developed tastes for a more varied diet than ever before.

Our Foodways program at the Historic Village has been active throughout the winter researching and experimenting with historic cooking techniques and offering a variety of cooking classes.  The next scheduled class is a Meatloaf class on February 21.  Check out our website for the updated list of class offerings throughout the winter and spring seasons.  We are also offering custom classes, where a group of four or more individuals can register for a class of their choice from a list and the instructor will contact them to arrange a class time and tailor the class to fit the group.  It will be a fun activity for family members, small groups or several friends to share and always includes foods to share that evening and more to take home. We would also like to share a few recipes to bring you warmth throughout the several cold weeks until the fires are once again burning in our hearths and we see you at Sauder Village. 

The first is based on an 1850s recipe for Chocolate from The Modern Housewife Or Menagere, by Alexis Soyer.  Chocolate was first consumed as a drink by the Olmecs and later Aztecs of Central America.  It was taken to Europe by Spaniards in the 1500’s, where it was prepared in a more diluted form (It was very expensive.) and spread throughout Europe.  Thomas Jefferson developed a taste for it as ambassador to France, and brought a large supply and chocolate-making equipment to Monticello.  Chocolate candy bars weren’t perfected until 1847 in England and baking with chocolate became popular even later. 

The next recipes feature several winter vegetables.  Have you tried parsnips?  These look like white carrots and can be prepared quickly and deliciously by peeling, and slicing into strips like thin French fries.  Place in a frying pan with deep, hot oil and stir until lightly browned and cooked through.  Their sweetness tastes great with just a little salt. Soups are always great winter foods.  They warm you from the inside out, the steam helps relieve a stuffy head and the broth soothes a dry or irritated throat.  And finally, Anna’s Potatoes and Pork Chops is baked together in one dish with a creamy, gooey sauce. 

This will make two cups of Chocolate.  You need to buy a bar of very good quality dark chocolate, above 80 percent, to make this an authentic drink, and follow the correct method to make it.   Chocolate has been made this way since the 1700’s.
2 ½ cups (full fat) milk
3.5 ounces of good quality 80% dark chocolate – scraped or chopped into bits
2 tbsp of water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Put two heavy based saucepans on a medium heat.
In one saucepan add a few inches of water, and put a heat proof glass mixing bowl over it so it does not touch the water. Into the glass bowl add the chopped dark chocolate and two tablespoons of water, the chocolate should melt gently in the bowl over the steam, stir only occasionally.
In the second saucepan add the milk and bring it to just under a boil, then stir in the sugar. Note: the sugar can be left out entirely for individuals to add to their own taste when served. By melting the chocolate this way, and not adding it straight into the milk to melt, you will achieve a much creamier and smoother hot chocolate drink, and it is well worth the extra washing up.
Once the sugar has dissolved into the milk, and the milk is at the boil, and the chocolate has melted in the glass bowl, stir the milk into the chocolate, a little at a time. Keep the bowl over the steam and stir continuously for a few minutes until everything has mixed in well.
Pour (or ladle) the hot chocolate drink into heat proof mugs or glasses, allow to cool slightly and drink warm.

Vegetable Soup
1 soup bone
2 lbs. stewing beef
2 quarts water
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup tomatoes
other vegetables (See below; to your family’s taste or what’s on hand)
2 tsp. salt
black pepper

Into 2 qts. of water put soup bone and beef and boil for 2 hours. For a hearty, substantial soup, cut up the meat in small pieces and return to the broth. Add tomatoes, onions and celery. Also add other available vegetables, such as diced potatoes, carrots, turnip, string beans, corn, peas, cabbage or chopped peppers. Boil until all vegetables are tender.

Anna’s Potatoes and Pork Chops
4-6 porkchops, about 4 ounces each
About 5 pounds potatoes, washed, peeled and sliced (like scalloped potatoes)
1 quart of whipping cream (or half and half)
milk as needed
2 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces
Minced, dried onion
Dried Parsley
Dried Tarragon
Mild Hungarian Paprika
Sea salt and pepper to taste

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Deeply brown your pork chops in a little oil.  Set aside.
3.  Grease a 13 x 9 inch pan and sprinkle over the bottom: ¼  teaspoon parsley, ¼ teaspoon dried tarragon, ¼ teaspoon paprika, ¼ teaspoon salt and a few shakes of pepper.
4.   Places sliced potatoes in the pan in several layers.  In between each layer sprinkle a few shakes of paprika and a couple pinches of salt.  
5.  Over the top layer of potatoes, scatter the butter pieces and ¼  teaspoon parsley, ¼ teaspoon paprika, ¼ teaspoon salt and a few shakes of pepper.
6.  As the top layer, place the pork chops in a flat row.
7.  Carefully pour a quart of whipping cream (or half and half) over the potatoes.  They should have cream up a little higher than level to the layer of the meat.  (If needed, you can add some milk to bring it just over the pork chops.)
8.  Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for about an hour until the potatoes are cooked through and there are rich brown patches over the top of the potatoes.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Retreats Abound at Sauder Village

By Dawn Hauter, Marketing & Special Events Coordinator 

A chance to get away, to learn something new, to beat the winter doldrums, to connect with friends and make new ones, to eat delicious food…these are just a few of the reasons people come to retreats at Sauder Village.

Held in the Sauder Heritage Inn, retreats offer a spacious, beautiful setting to unwind and finish projects.

Two retreats will be held in February.  For rug hooking enthusiasts, a Rug Hook-In will be held February 3-4, and for knitters, a Knitter’s Retreat will be held February 10-11. 

Rug Hook-In
Barbara Branch and Paula Coy, mother and daughter from Detroit, Michigan, will travel to Sauder Village to attend the Rug Hook-In for a second time.

“This is another way for us to do mother/daughter activities,” shared Barbara.  “My daughter is busy running a business and raising a family, so we schedule two or three weekends a year to get away.  One of those trips is to Sauder Village.  We enjoy spending time rug hooking.  The accommodations are wonderful—we especially like the hot tub—and the food is always great.”

Knitter’s Retreat
Knitters from the tri-state area as well as Ontario, Canada, will convene on February 10 for a weekend of knitting classes and fellowship at the second annual Knitter’s Retreat. 
The retreat features knitting classes taught by Georgienne Westrick, Gail Richardson, and Lorie Konopka, as well as amazing door prizes donated by yarn shops throughout the region.  

A few spaces are still available in the Rug Hook-In and Knitter’s Retreat.  (Our ever-popular Quilters Retreat, scheduled for March 2-4, is full.)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy New Year!

While the Historic Village may be closed for the winter, Sauder Village is still buzzing with activity! Construction projects are taking place, plans are being made for the upcoming season and guests continue to join us for shopping, unique classes, dining, and a great overnight get-away.

As we look forward to the 2012 season we plan to make our Sauder Village blog an even more interesting place for you to visit! We’ll be sharing stories about our classes, special events, cooking and artifacts. You can also look for behind-the scenes photos, gardening tips, volunteer opportunities and more! We may even try using some video clips to help share our stories.

For today, here’s a look at a project we’re working on this winter (thank goodness for mild weather!) in preparation for opening day!

Thanks to the funding support provided by the Anderson Foundation and the Sauder Stewardship Foundation, we have been able to proceed with a “Pathways Improvement Project” in the Historic Village.   The first part of this project is to widen the “center circle” to improve traffic flow around the Village Green. As the size of wheelchairs and strollers has widened and the use of motorized scooters has become more prevalent over the years, our guests have often been forced to walk off the edge of the sidewalk to get around others (you may recall that gravel was used around the center circle sidewalk last season to cover up the muddy areas). Since we are committed to continuing to “do things right” we are pleased to be widening this walkway to better accommodate our guests and improve safety – while maintaining the charm and atmosphere of the Village Green. 

We are grateful for the financial support that make projects like this a reality!