LeRoy Pennysaver & News - page 11

We’re hoping that the kids
that came over toLeRoyHouse
this summer will have a lasting
memoryofsomegood times.For
the first time in several years,
with some help from the Vic
tooffer someHands-On-History
It started off with a small
but determined group of kids
who participated in the Jell-O
Olympics. And then it was on
to an open hearth cooking class
for boys. A very enthusiastic
group stuffed sausages which
werecooked incider.Theymade
homemade biscuits and hand
churnedbutter and fordessert - -
nilla icecreamwithstrawberries
and whipped cream. The plates
were all licked clean.
Therewere somanygirls that
signed up for the open hearth
cooking class, that we had to
divide them into amorning and
afternoon class. Whether they
knew it or not, itwas aclass that
also taught themhow tostaycool
in front of the fireplace on one
of the hottest days of the sum-
mer!!! The girls made chicken
soup with homemade noodles,
and theever favorite,1234cake,
homemade ice cream, strawber-
ries andwhipped cream.
At the end of last week, we
offered a carpentry class, and
thanks to Chuck Dusen who
precut all the wood, everyone
went home with a wooden tool
box. As I posted on the face-
book page, it was an exercise
in patience, using a ruler, and
learninghow tohit thenailon the
head. I guess it was successful,
because there were no smashed
fingers.Thisweek it’sbeenbas-
Whoever made
a jokeabout taking
basket weaving in
college, obviously
never made a bas-
ket. It’snotaseasy
as some people
think. Eight kids
to try their hand at
weaving a basket
and in two hours
there were some
beautiful baskets.
I’m not sure what
thebasketswillbeused for.They
are just the right size for a few
eggs, or some strawberries but
I don’t suspect that’s what they
will be used for.
At one timebasketswerevery
important. If you were making
cheese, you needed a big cheese
basket to drain the cheese curd
from the whey. A basket with a
handle was great for collecting
eggs, or carrying your lunch to
school. A basket with a cover
might be a sewing basket. Bas-
ketswereused tomeasurewheat,
apples and potatoes - - a bushel
or a peck. Pack
baskets are still
being made, al-
Some of the big-
gest baskets are
used with hot air
balloons. Some
as sieves and
The baskets
that were made
at LeRoy House
were from splint
that is grown in
China. It resem-
bles the wood
splint that could
be made from
oak or ash. Oak
splint is made
from white oak.
Ash splint is
made from black
ash. The ash tree
is cut and kept
wet until it can
be pounded with
a mallet which
separates the
various growth
layers. It is a la-
borious process.
Unfortunately the
of theashborerwillkill theblack
ash trees.
The Iroquois Indians have
traditionally used black ash for
their baskets and an unusual
effort is beingmade to preserve
some trees and seeds so that in
the future, if the threat of theash
borer disappears, the trees can
be planted again. This project is
part of theAkwasasneMuseum
inHorgansville,NewYork, near
The other class this week is
candle dipping and making a
punched tin lantern. I think we
have twelve kids signed up for
the summer with an afternoon
and Thursday, learning about
LeRoy’s Statue of Liberty and
about the immigrantswhocame
to theUnitedStates.
Theonly reasonwewereable
to offer the summer programs
was because the Vic Blood
andwewere able to hire Laura
Williams toworkwith the kids.
It’snotevery teacherwhoknows
how todoopenhearth cooking,
and basket weaving and tin
punching. She comeswell rec-
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