Well Hello!

Thanks so very kindly for stopping by! This blog is meant to bust through the “Boring” Museum idea, and share with you some of the crazy, kooky, funky, and downright AWESOME stories behind the history of the Creston Valley and our collection of cool (and sometimes confusing) artifacts.

I have to be honest though, this is my first experience with anything ‘Blog’ related; even being the stereotypical twenty something, technology is not my second nature. Good thing writing is! Haha!

A little bit about where we come from…

Located in the South-Eastern corner of British Columbia, Creston has a population of a little over 5,500. Our main economy consists of Agriculture (Dairy/Beef, Fruit & Veggies (best known for cherries), Alfalfa/Canola, recently Cheese…just to name a few), Lumber (both sawmills over a century), the Kokanee Brewery (thats right people; Sasquatch central), and many (many) {many} talented artisans.

Unlike our surrounding areas, we weren’t blessed with gold in these ‘har hills. The start of the communities around us could almost be best described as gold rush-missing teeth-rarely bath-hole in the hat-suspenders kinda deal.

Our gold was in our fields. The mountains that surround the town not only make for spectacular views and sick hiking/skiing/snowboarding; they also create a unique micro-climate ideal for farming. With the occasional floods from the Kootenay & Goat Rivers bringing in powerhouse nutrients, you have the perfect storm. Or carrots. Whatever.

Creston is a piece of absolute heaven for outdoor enthusiasts, with little pieces of history scattered everywhere you go. Some are blatantly obvious, like Jordan’s Cabin. Others, not so much. But that’s why this blog is here now!

P.S.-(I’m really not being metaphorical; there is actually a ‘sledders’ (snowmobeilers) playground in the mountains here called Heaven…you have to go through Suicide trail to get to it though. Someone had a twisted sense of humor.)

So in the spirit of all the totally awesome and scattered stories of the valley, I present to you;

A super not boring museum blog.

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Big Changez iz Afoot!!

I know…I know…it has been sooooooooooo very long since the last time my fingers struck keys to this blog…but this winter has been full of bits and bites and thisses and thatses. But lots of little theses and thoses grow and blossom into bigger THINGS!

Things…like a shiny brand new website! Yes!

www.crestonmuseum.ca

That’s right. We have a brand new website! It’s clean, and bright, and organized, and it has an organized events page, and pretty pictures and….. *SQUEE*

Ok. Deep breath. Now, for anyone who has been following this blog, you know that I am one of the least technologically savvy twenty-somethings on the planet. And computer stuff is one of the least interesting things ever to me. If you haven’t been reading, I am one of the least technologically savvy twenty-somethings on the planet. And computer stuff is one of the least interesting things ever to me. (Now that we are all caught up….) BUT. It is not so much the website that is exciting to me, but it is what it represents…

Over the last few years, the museum has been growing, and transforming… undergoing a metamorphosis if you will.

Seen Monsters vs. Aliens? No? You should.

Things take time. Trial and error, use and improvement, ideas and more ideas. Tammy has had the Museum on an upward trajectory for a while now, and the last little bit has been no exception. A perfect storm has come together, and like nourishing water and sunshine to plants, our beautiful little facility has began to truly blossom.

The previous website was okaaaaaay, but it just didn’t quite have that professional feel and accessibility that we really want to communicate to people, show them just how special this small town Museum REALLY is...

We have been working quite a bit on connection to the public; outreach if you will, and being as interactively friendly as possible. Which means not only the the ability to come to the Museum and physically interact with as much here as possible, but also share online exhibits, articles, blog posts, events etc when you can’t be here in person…which…the old website couldn’t do.

We even have an online store now!

One of my tasks in this next little bit is going to be to take more pictures to help fill up the store, but it’s still got some pretty good stuff in it. It’s only February, but who doesn’t want to get a jump on their Christmas shopping? eh? eh? huh?

We won’t judge you. In fact, we are the ones encouraging you. Just sayin.

Come check it out!

 

The Saga Continues…

Just in case you missed our first adventure, we tackled typewriters as the inaugural de-cluttering category. Next on the hit list….

CASH REGISTERS!!!

(and adding machines)

{and copy machines}

Although we didn’t have them in the sheer numbers (like the Serengeti grazers sized herd of typewriters), some of these machines certainly made up for it in size!

IMG_1989

This guy is a Gestetner (basically a copy machine…click the long ‘G’ word for a link to more info about it). We had…a few…of these guys too…

IMG_1992 IMG_1991

(it took multiple grown men plus a moving-dolly in order to get some of these things from point A. to B.)

I must say however, that some of these pieces were GORGEOUS! [specifically the one below. it is dusty, but the detail is incredible]. Apparently, for a certain age of register, a common decoration is a marble topped cash drawer framing out the actual register it’s self, (which also contributes to making it very heavy if you can’t remove it).

IMG_2039

We have another one, kind of similar in the General Store Display in the Stone House, it has the white marble also, but isn’t as big as the one above.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We don’t know much about the first one, apart from it came out of the Yahk collection. Kind of like the typewriter, the keys on these guys are practically impossible to resist pushing! The first one has buttons up to $10, and the one just above actually maxes out at $15!

What?! Hold up.

Compared to POS systems today, that is a big difference!

But keep in mind, this register is from ~1912, and prices were SIGNIFICANTLY different!

I love the internets…found a graph HERE, made up of average wages for industry type jobs from early 1900’s to more recently. Around here, things like logging were mainstays, maybe some railroad, small businesses, along with agriculture, being the most prominent. (scroll down to the bottom for the earliest years)

I have a game downstairs in the store, comparing prices from post war/pre-depression era, to during the 30’s, and good mercy…it is incredible! It was actually taken out of a local grocers add, trying to bring business in for the great value they were offering. It was somewhere around the idea of ‘Before, $17.? got you a bag of sugar, but now look what you can get in our store for the same price’ and it goes on to list all the wonderful deals…

–>The following prices were from 1933… <–

1 tin baking powder ($0.90)

1lb Groceteria (Western Family/PC equivalent) Coffee ($0.27)

6 bars soap ($0.25)

1 tin Jam ($0.47)

1lb Cheese: ($0.22)

98lbs Flour ($2.25)

100lbs Sugar ($5.85)

20lbs Rolled Oats ($0.85)

2 cans milk ($0.23)

4lbs Rice ($0.23)

Sack of Salt ($0.14)

(yes, I know this doesn’t total 17 & change, I didn’t have room on my card for all the stuff, I just chose some staples)

Now, on one hand, it is pretty nice how much the prices dropped by the consumers point of view; but the flip side being, families were also making SIGNIFICANTLY less, in fact, they were lucky enough to be making anything at all! (fun fact: this is where ‘Hobo Art’ came from, since many ‘Hobos’ were actually skilled business and tradesmen who found themselves suddenly out of work, they felt compelled to trade something for their food/lodging on their travels looking for work since they couldn’t pay cash)

Here in Creston, we were pretty lucky; we didn’t feel the depression as much as other areas in the country because basically, if you could get enough to pay your mortgage/taxes, then you could feed your family with what you grew in your back yard or on the farm, chickens were fairly cheap, you could hunt for meat…so it was do-able; very few families here were devastated, unlike the prairies.

Doing a little reading on the impact, I came across this Wikipedia page I discovered that “Urban unemployment nationwide was 19%; Toronto’s rate was 17%, according to the census of 1931. Farmers who stayed on their farms were not considered unemployed.[5] By 1933, 30% of the labor force was out of work, and one fifth of the population became dependent on government assistance. Wages fell as did prices. In some areas, such as mining and lumbering areas, the decline was far worse.”

Thirty percent…

In the grand scheme of the entire country, it seems not entirely overwhelming, but break it down, 3 out of every 10 workers was out of a job.

Just for kicks and giggles though, lets take a look at what prices were like pre- depression…

 

Click this guy –> 😀 for a link to a budget site I found (once again, thank you awesome internets full of knowledge) detailing approximate costs of living for a week, including price of different foods, rent ect. The numbers it has are averages for 60 cities if I am understanding it properly. According to Stats Canada, the average income in 1920 was $6,800, which would roughly equal $960 of todays dollars in a year. (try living off that now…bahaha…you couldn’t even pay property tax on a payed off property with that!)

Men tended to bring home roughly $7,500 annually, while women averaged a much leaner $4,100. MATHS TIME!

7500 / 12 months = 625 per month

625 / 4 weeks per month = 156.25 per week BEFORE TAXES

 

4100 / 12 months = 341.67

341.67 / 4 weeks per month = 85.42 per week BEFORE TAXES

Below is a chart I copied from Stats Canada  detailing an average/approximation of staple prices through different years.

Now, since birth control was strictly banned by many Churches, the number of children in a family could get quite high (my maternal grandfather has/had 8 siblings, even though it was post depression era).

{interestingly enough during the depression many women started laying down the law and using it anyway so they didn’t have more mouths they simply could not feed}.

Just for reference, I found a picture of 1 lb of meat. Current nutritional guidelines suggest the average adult should eat about 81 lbs of meat per year to meet nutritional requirements such as protein, and other essentials such as iron and vitamins ect.

(notice how little fresh fruit & vegetables are on this list-but lets just assume that these are being grown in a kitchen garden)

 

Unit 1920 1926 1928 1929 1930 1931
$
Staple foods
Beef, sirloin steak 1 lb. 0.389 0.294 0.345 0.363 0.356 0.286
Beef, chuck roast 1 lb. 0.251 0.160 0.206 0.227 0.221 0.158
Veal, roast 1 lb. 0.274 0.193 0.226 0.245 0.239 0.183
Mutton, roast 1 lb. 0.354 0.298 0.300 0.309 0.302 0.253
Pork, fresh, roast 1 lb. 0.397 0.302 0.273 0.300 0.298 0.223
Pork, salt mess 1 lb. 0.362 0.278 0.261 0.273 0.271 0.226
Bacon, breakfast 1 lb. 0.559 0.431 0.379 0.393 0.399 0.301
Lard, pure leaf 1 lb. 0.380 0.246 0.221 0.219 0.212 0.157
Eggs, fresh 1 dozen 0.709 0.466 0.478 0.475 0.457 0.337
Eggs, storage 1 dozen 0.608 0.398 0.412 0.403 0.394 0.271
Milk 1 qt. 0.151 0.118 0.121 0.123 0.123 0.111
Butter, dairy 1 lb. 0.631 0.406 0.417 0.428 0.368 0.272
Butter, creamery 1 lb. 0.696 0.448 0.461 0.470 0.405 0.300
Cheese, old 1 lb. 0.406 0.318 0.329 0.334 0.318 0.251
Cheese, new 1 lb. 0.383 0.318 0.329 0.334 0.318 0.251
Bread, plain white 1 lb. 0.093 0.076 0.077 0.078 0.075 0.062
Flour, family 1 lb. 0.079 0.053 0.052 0.051 0.047 0.033
Rolled oats 1 lb. 0.084 0.058 0.063 0.064 0.061 0.050
Rice, good medium 1 lb. 0.164 0.110 0.105 0.104 0.101 0.092
Beans, hand picked 1 lb. 0.117 0.079 0.089 0.115 0.094 0.061
Apples, evaporated 1 lb. 0.286 0.200 0.210 0.213 0.206 0.178
Prunes, medium 1 lb. 0.270 0.158 0.135 0.141 0.155 0.121
Sugar, granulated 1 lb. 0.197 0.079 0.079 0.073 0.068 0.062
Sugar, yellow 1 lb. 0.185 0.075 0.075 0.069 0.065 0.060
Tea, black 1 lb. 0.644 0.719 0.713 0.704 0.628 0.552
Tea, green 1 lb. 0.672 0.719 0.713 0.704 0.628 0.552
Coffee 1 lb. 0.608 0.612 0.607 0.604 0.572 0.492
Potatoes 1 pk. 0.080 0.436 0.258 0.291 0.355 0.172
Vinegar, white wine 1 pt. 0.080 0.080 0.080 0.080 0.080 0.080
All foods, weekly budget1 $ 15.99 11.21 11.04 11.34 10.96 8.49
Starch, laundry 1 lb. 0.144 0.124 0.123 0.123 0.123 0.120
Fuel and lighting
Coal, anthracite 1 ton 17.040 17.392 16.272 16.192 16.112 16.064
Coal, bituminous 1 ton 12.380 10.311 10.113 10.080 10.064 9.840
Wood, hard, best 1 cord 13.090 12.195 12.077 12.208 12.176 11.696
Wood, soft 1 cord 10.140 8.947 8.937 8.800 8.672 8.560
Coal oil 1 gallon 0.365 0.308 0.311 0.311 0.309 0.291
Rent
Rent 1 month 24.80 27.43 27.67 27.92 28.16 27.80
Grand total, weekly budget $ 25.91 21.47 21.27 21.61 21.29 18.66
Source: Statistics Canada, Canada Year Book, 1937.

First glance at those prices and we are all like “YEAH BUDDY!” Those prices are great! But try feeding say, 5 or 6 mouths on just one of those salaries…actually, lets do it! Lets figure this out and do some maths for the 1920s column…

 

 

So lets assume a fairly ‘average’ family of 5…Two adults and three children (probably between 4-8).

We’ll use current recommended servings to give us some easy numbers, especially considering the portions we eat now are much larger than in the past. We will use just the ingredients listed on the chart, with the exception of fruits & vegetables, in which case we’ll assume veggies are coming from a kitchen garden and fruit from backyard trees/bushes/neighbor surplus gifts because produce prices fluctuated so greatly.

Breakfast:

Oatmeal with milk, bacon, and fruit

 

Oatmeal: Current ‘Recommended Serving’ = 1 cup

5.04 Cups in 1 lb of Oatmeal

{So lets say a 5 lb bag of Oatmeal for a week}

$0.08 per lb x 5 lbs = $0.40 / week

 

Milk: Current ‘Recommended Serving’ = 1 cup

4 cups in 1 quart

For 1 cup x 1 daily x 5 people x 7 days = 9 quarts

$0.15 / quart x 9 quarts in a week =  $1.35

 

Bacon: Current ‘Recommended Serving: = 16g

453.6g in a lb / 16g = 28.35 / 5 people = 5.67 servings each

$0.559=$0.60 x 1lb = $0.60 / week

 

Fruit: Home grown/ gifted by neighbor (for simplicity sake)

Therefore: Breakfast for 1 week for a family of 5 costs: $2.35

 

Lunch:

Egg & Cheese Sandwich on White Bread

(I would say home made/cheaper whole grain bread but it/ingredients isn’t/arent listed above)

*{also, if you have never enjoyed the delectable satisfaction that is a buttery crunchy squishy melty toasted egg & cheese sandwich, we can’t be friends until you do}*

 

Bread: Average slice = 25g = 2 slices = 50g

453.6g in a lb / 50g = 9.0 sammiches per lb of bread

$0.09 / lb / 9 servings = $0.01 per sammich

$0.01 x 5 people x 7 days = $0.35 for a week

 

Eggs: (using what I think most people would probably eat regardless of a sammich or making eggs for breakfast)

2/adult & 1/child = 7/meal x 7 days = 4 dozen per week

$0.71 x 4 = $2.84 for a week of eggs

 

Cheese: Current ‘Recommended Serving’ = 50g

453.6g in a lb / 50g = 9 servings per lb of cheese

$0.40 / lb / 9 servings per lb = $0.04 per serving

$0.04 x 5 people x 7 days = $1.40 for a week of cheese

 

Butter: *see calculations below*

$0.02 x 5 people x 7 days = $0.70

 

Fruit or vegetables (home grown/gifted)

 

Therefore: Lunch for 1 week for a family of 5 costs: $5.29

 

Dinner: 

I’m just going to do a mix n’ match here, since dinner tends to vary just a touch more than breakfast or lunch…

 

Chuck Roast: Current ‘Recommended Serving’ = 75g

453.6g in a lb / 75g = 6 servings / lb

$0.25 / 6 = $0.04 x 5 people = $0.20 per meal

 

Pork Roast = Current ‘Recommended Serving’ = 75g

453.6g in a lb / 75g = 6 servings / lb

$0.40 / 6 = $0.60 x 5 people = $0.33 per meal

 

Mutton Roast: Current ‘Recommended Serving’ = 75g

453.6g in a lb / 75g = 6 servings / lb

$0.35 / 6 = $0.058 x 5 people = $0.29 per meal

 

Rice: Current ‘Recommended Serving’ = 1/2 cup dry = 100g

453.6g in a lb / 100g = 4.5 servings / lb

$0.16 / 4.5 = $0.035 per serving

$0.035 x 5 people = $0.175 = $0.18 per meal

 

Potatoes: Current ‘Recommended Serving’ = 1 cup = 225g

453.6g in a lb / 225g = 2 servings / lb of potato

$0.63 / pkg (1pk = 10lbs potatoes) *i had to go find this another place because the chart above doesn’t include amount*

4535.92g in 10 lbs / 225g = 20.15 servings / pkg

$0.63 / 20.15 = $0.03 per serving x 5 people = $0.15 per meal

 

Assuming vegetables garden grown/free gift 

So add up your last meal as you see fit, again the chart doesn’t include misc. baking supplies so to do up biscuits/dumplings/home made bread to accompany dinner.

 

NOW… for some misc. supplies…

 

White Flour: $0.79 / lb

453.6g in a lb / 125g per cup = 3.6 cups in a lb

$0.79 / 3.6 = $0.22 per cup

 

Sugar:

Granulated = $0.197 / lb

Yellow (raw) = $0.185 / lb

453.6g in a lb

Granulated = 200g / cup = 2.268 cups per lb = $0.081 per cup = $0.08 per cup

Yellow (raw) = 250g / cup = 1.8144 cups per lb = $0.101 per cup = $0.10 per cup

 

Tea:

1 serving = 4 g

453.6g in a lb / 4g = 113.4 servings

Black Tea = $0.644 / lb = $0.0056 per serving = $0.01 per serving

Green Tea = $0.672 / lb = $0.0059 = $0.01 per serving

 

Coffee:

1 serving = 7-10g per one serving

Therefore: per 8.5g

453.6g in a lb / 8.5g = 53.36 servings per lb

Coffee = $0.608 / lb = $0.011 per serving = $0.01 per serving

 

 

Prunes: (with all the bread/potatoes in the 1920s diets these would of been…essential…? welcome?)

1 serving = ~25g

453.6g in a lb / 25g = 18.144 servings per lb

Prunes = $0.270 / lb = $0.014 per serving = $0.01 per serving

 

Butter:

1tbsp = 14.18g

453.6g in a lb / 14.18g = 31.99 = 32 tbsp per lb

Butter = 0.631 per lb / 32 tbsp = $0.019 per tbsp = $0.02 per tbsp

 

So this is pretty interesting! [providing all my maths skills are accurate, that is…] Yikes that is a lot of math. I haven’t had to do that in a long time! haha! And this is just for food!

We haven’t actually touched rent or mortgages yet!

The above chart states that rent was about 25 per month. Purchasing a home is a little different, but it was pretty cool looking at the cost of the kit homes at the time. HERE is a link to a website that lists a bunch of Sears Roebuck kit homes, ranging in size/price from just a couple hundred dollars all the way up to a couple thousand, and then your property purchase on top of that.

So maybe in the grand scheme, through all this time, things really haven’t changed all that much?

What is something you have noticed dramatic changes in pricing on? Essentials or regular things you buy? or occasionals/treats? we want to hear from you!

How many types could a typewriter type…

This winter we are continuing with our theme of ravenously and un-mercilessly  PURGING our collections to weed out all of the completely useless (to us) stuff that has somehow accumulated there over the last however many years. Kind of like the whole thing with the shed. Except this one has a touch more of a systematic system to go along with it.

Today’s unsuspecting victim was…

THE TYPEWRITER SHELF

IMG_1965

I have to apologize, my mind hasn’t exactly been super clear today, feeling a bit under the weather, so I didn’t get a picture with the shelf literally (no, like, actually literally) covered in typewriters!  So instead, here is a picture of the shelf, and you have to imagine it covered in typewriters. As in, not one more millimeters worth of room to even think of putting another thing on there. (ok, you caught me, maybe there was a millimeter)

In the museum world, typewriters and sewing machines and harrows are like bunnies. They are EVERYWHERE! and they seem to MULTIPLY! The duplicates of the duplicates…duplicated!!

So Tammy decided enough was enough. With our new storage reno coming around, we need to get serious about how much space we want to take up with things we don’t actually particularly entirely realistically need. So…judgement day it was.

WE HAD 31 TYPEWRITERS HIDING ALL OVER THE PLACE!!!

WHOLLY MOLEY!

That…is a lot of typewriters.

As they were filtering in, Skip and I got majorly side tracked playing with some of the nice ones…the action on the good ones is simply mesmerizing!! When I was little, my grandparents has a typewriter that my sister and I would entertain ourselves on for HOURS, but the keys were not unlike a modern keyboard. But these…oh these wonderful things…they have the round keys…and they have a very long stroke, so you REALLY have to push down in order to swing the part that strikes onto the paper hard enough to transfer. But once you get the feel, oh boy! It’s a thing of beauty…

IMG_1963

These are some of the ones we will be keeping for programs & playing

So I started getting curious about just where exactly typewriters came from. Here is the link to the site I found, it is just a short overview, but cool none the less. According to it, it is kind of a cool process; apparently one of the first patents looked somewhat like a ‘pin cushion’…a rather interesting concept.

something like it. I am more inclined to say it resembles a hedgehog personally…

Though, this site also says that a major player in the development of typewriters spawned from an Italian by the name of Pellegrino Turri in 1808, for a blind countess friend named Carolina Fantoni da Fivizzano [say that 10 times fast…] so she could write easier. How very noble!

But like many things, including denim overalls, trends seem to circulate. Thanks to many a Hipster, the typewriter is making quite the comeback, in all it’s various forms.

Please enjoy this compilation of hipsters typing on typewriters in inappropriate public places.

  

      

And for those just slightly more motivated to tap into Wi-Fi and post their 50th Tweet of the day, there is always this lovely Typewriter styled attachment for your iPad!

{Although… I myself WILL be so bold as to say that if this thing has keys bigger than the little finger crowding keyboards that come with the iPad cases, I would in fact, be all over this thing. with bells on. if I actually had an iPad.}

So I suppose that truly says something to the appeal of a typewriter. Most, seem to weigh approximately that of a newborn Elephant (at roughly 1/20th the size), while others can be neatly tucked away in a small carrying case and touted rather pleasantly around. I suppose, if you really take a second to think about it, they do seem to have their merits…

*No techno-glitches…if it isn’t working properly, it is something mechanical that can most likely be fairly easily found and fixed, not requiring drone like robotic insight…

*You don’t necessarily have to worry about a power source with most of them…

…that is unless you haven’t had your morning coffee yet…

*You don’t have to worry about printing out your work later

*The chances of it being stolen if you get up to go to the washroom are probably pretty slim, considering just. how. freaking. heavy. it is

*You develop incredible typing precision and very strong hands

On the downside of the list…

*They are so LOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUD…..not exactly what I want to hear while I’m excitedly savoring a long awaited coffee {coffee shop coffee is an occasional treat for me, and nothing will stand in the way of my enjoying it!}

P.S.-(I don’t know who all is reading this, but if you are younger and haven’t heard typewriters in person, they are borderline obnoxious. I love onomatopoeias, and the most perfect one for a typewriter is ‘SMACK!’ ‘SMACKSMACKSMACKSMACK!’ ‘SMACK!’ ‘SMACKSMACK-SMACK-SMACKSMACKSMACK!’)

*They can be horrendously bulky

*You have to carry all the paper with you

*If you mess up a letter, no big deal, white it out and keep on going. If you change your mind about an entire paragraph or the structure of your piece? well…

*Your typing must be ON POINT, if you hit two keys at once it stalls and you have to take time to un-jam and un-stall it

*Heavens to Mergatroids… DO NOT TEAR YOUR RIBBON!

*The curious, judgmental, unwelcome, and awkward stares you will receive for choosing to cart and use your typewriter in a public space

*The possibility of solid objects being hurled in your general direction for the piercing ‘SLAP!’ sound that is burrowing into the brains of your fellow patrons as you are either painstakingly hunting & pecking or producing at the speed of light.

So I suppose you could say the pros and cons are fairly balanced in their own strange way, it’s just a matter of how much you value the general public’s opinion of you! And if you play your cards right, you could end up on your very own meme…

Our Castle Has a Crypt. And it’s almost Hallow’een!

T’was the day before hallows eve,

and all through the town

Children ran about in disguise,

some in fang, some in gown

All a-buzz with excitement

over the next nights events

And parents bracing for the sugar highs

of their young ladies and gents!

Hahaha…obviously it’s been some time since I last wrote a poem, but I couldn’t resist. I’m sure I have a better one tucked into my saved school stuff somewhere. But I digress. Tis’ the day before Hallows Eve, and everybody is posting pictures on Facebook of their costumes. and their kids costumes. and their pets costumes. and their neighbors costumes. and the costume on the fake spider hanging outside in front of their door.

Schools let the students dress up for today, I remember that was always a huge highlight, getting to go in not normal school clothes, and by lunch time everyone had half their costume off anyway.

Now, as a grown up, the extent of my Hallow’een spirit is November 1st, when all the good chocolates go on clearance sale! Bahahaha….I don’t have children to raid their candy stash after they go to bed, so I have to go get my own.

{Though I’m sure I could take Drew around door to door in a costume to collect candy for me. Nobody can resist his wiggles and adorable big brown border collie eyes!}

I think he makes a stetson look pretty good!

Television is full of spooky specials, and inevitably there is always something about a haunting or some sort of graveyard shenanigans. Here at the Museum, we do love shenanigans! Tammy has come up with her own to celebrate the occaision…a Hallow’een Day Cemetery Tour! Everyone is totally in the mood to check out cemeteries at the end of October! We have two in Creston (for those of you reading this that aren’t from here…I’m pointing at you Awesome Australian & Brazilian. I see you two on the views. Unless you are actually from here, and live there now, but still read this…in either case, you guys rock. oh, and Hi Alyson! I see you too! :P) The first is called Pioneer Cemetary, [we’re still trying to figure out why…] and one called Forrest Lawn.

Tammys tour will take guests through Pioneer, and investigate the stories residents there. From Col. Mallandaine and his wife, to the Littles, Dows, Rodgers, and many, many more local influences and characters. I got a special run through while she was practicing…if you hadn’t planned on going, I would HIGHLY recommend it.

(*pssst*…there is even a mystery person on the side of a hill that no one knows where he is….)

Saturday, October 31 2:00 rain or shine

by donation (reccomended donation $5)

Just show up, no need for reservations.

Speaking of mystery burials, it always reminds me of the Crypt in the Stone House.

collage 3

The tradition of Castles and fancy Estates and Churches was to have a crypt for members of the family or prominent clergy members. Well, Mr. Schultz didn’t have family to take the property after, but he still very much wanted a crypt! It is illegal in Canada to be buried in a house like this, so he ended up being buried in Forrest Lawn (much against his wishes), but every now and then we still get people that come through that swear up and down they can feel his presence here. Spooky!

Actually as soon as we mention the crypt {albeit empty}, a lot of people go from loving the dining room to wanting to get the heck out of there! I will give them that, if the lights aren’t on, it can look a little…haunted.

We have toyed around with the idea of doing a ‘haunted’ house before, nothing better for a haunted house than a Stone Castle! But we would need a lot of actors, and we would also need to put a lot of breakables away! Actually the red security sensor light in the medical/military room at night makes it SO. SCARY! Especially with a bunch of the old medical instruments on display in the case on the wall and the old metal gurney ….I’m really not the spookable type, and that, my friends, looks like it’s straight out of a horror flick! Maybe in the next few years we could pull it off 😉

But for all this talk about hauntings, and crazy excitement about costumes and trick or treating, do you actually know anything about Hallows Eves story? I found a pretty good website that had some fun facts and myths listed out…

1. Celtic harvest 

An ancient Celtic festival planted the seed for what we now call Halloween. The Celts celebrated the end of the harvest and the start of the long winter with a festival, called Samhain. The festival was celebrated on Oct. 31, the day the Celts believed the boundary between the living and the dead was at its weakest.

(Have I ever mentioned I love vikings? Especially the kind played by Katherine Winnik,Travis Fimmel, and Clive Standen…)

2. Bobbing for apples 

After the Romans took over Celtic land in AD 43 a few new traditions were tacked onto the Celtic celebration. One such celebration honoured the Roman goddess Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol for Pomona — an apple — is seen in present day Halloween celebrations in the tradition of bobbing for apples.

(when I worked at the Rec Center, we used to do an apple bob in the lazy river pool with the current turned up! unfortunately health code regulations were working to quash that…can’t do any of the good stuff any more…)

3. Meet Jack, the lantern

The tradition of pumpkin carving began in Ireland with the legend of Stingy Jack. As the fable goes, Jack made a habit of playing tricks on the devil. Once Jack died, God did not allow him into heaven, nor did the devil allow Jack into hell. Instead he was banished to live in eternal night. For his punishment, the devil gave Jack an ember to light his way. The legend claims Jack placed the ember in a hollowed out turnip, the predecessor for a carved pumpkin.

(Jack…Jack’s Lantern… Lantern belonging to Jack…Lantern of Jacks…Jack who created the Lantern…Jack of the Lantern…Jack O’ Lantern…)

4. Carving pumpkins

The use of pumpkins as Jack-o’-lanterns didn’t begin until the 1800s. Upon their arrival to the United States, Irish immigrants discovered pumpkins were much easier to carve than turnips.

(Just a little bit bigger than turnips…also, I believe much tastier.)

5. Candy

In October 2011, Canadians spent more than $350 million on candy products. This recent data goes to shows that candy spending on Halloween is second only to spending in December, where Canadians spend more than $450 million on Christmas confections.

(That…is a lot of candy…)

6. Wicked wallets

According to a Scotiabank poll done this year, the average Canadian will spend $70 on Halloween — with 15 per cent of Canadians saving in advance for the event.

7. Trick-or-treating

Trick-or-treating originated around AD 1000. During this time Christianity had spread to most Celtic lands and had began taking over most pagan ceremonies. The church designated Nov. 2 as “All Souls Day” — a day dedicated to honouring the dead. On this day, the poor frequented the houses of the wealthy and received soul cakes. In exchange for the cakes, the poor would say a prayer for the homeowner’s deceased relatives.

(Interesting how similar it is to the Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’… the celebration, the goodies…actually I think it’s kind of a good idea! When I’m dead, I think I could still go for a picnic and a party!)

8. UNICEF

In Canada, trick-or-treaters visited homes on Halloween to ask for two things: candy and spare change. The candy was quickly disposed of, but the spare change went to supporting children in need around the world. The iconic UNICEF orange coin collection boxes were very much a part of Canada’s trick-or-treating history, until 2006 when UNICEF moved to an online donation system. On average, Canadians continue to donate $3 million every Halloween.

(I remember taking around UNICEF boxes…got a little heavy around your neck after a while! It’s a great cause though, you should seriously consider it.)

9. Old Wives’ Tales

In Scotland during the 1900s common folklore had it that if a woman ate a concoction made from walnuts, nutmeg and hazelnuts before falling asleep on Halloween night, she would dream of her future husband.

(Never really thought of Hallow’een as a romantic day, but… I ‘spose that would count as a sort of witches brew/magic potion? I think?)

10. Spiders

Spiders are a common symbol on Halloween. But they may not be as evil as popular culture would have you think. Many myths explain that spotting a spider on Halloween is actually a loved one watching over you.

(I work with a really big tough guy at my other job who is petrified of spiders. He is a real prankster, so this time of year for the rest of us is pure gold…)

 

Huh. Kind of interesting! What I also find interesting were the costumes of old…I just pulled up google images. I actually think some of these are scarier than our modern costumes!!! Except for this 1894 man who dressed as a side of bacon.

You, sir…were a visionary…

What is your costume this year? If it has to do with something old fashioned or historic/a historic character, we want to see it! Post it to our Facebook page under the hashtags #CrestonMuseum #HistoryAlive

(extra points if it has to do with bacon… #1894Visionary #1894BaconMan)

 

WE HAD A MOVIE NIGHT OUTSIDE AND IT WAS AWESOME!

It has now been a little over a month since our big new event, ‘Evening in the Courtyard’. In case you haven’t heard about it, that is where we throw all convention to the wind, hang a big white sheet from the new shed, set up a projector and a laptop, and sit back in lawn chairs and pillows and blankets on the ground and watch an old movie, all whilst enjoying the delectable offerings of our fine valley…

hahaha…ok I can’t keep a straight face after that last line. But it’s actually true!

How about I rewind just a little, and we can go from there…

This project was a little over a year in the making. When I first started this job, one thing that I really wanted was to find a way to get people into the Museum that wouldn’t usually stop by. Whether it was due to a lack of interest, had always intended to come visit but just had never made it here, or umpteen billion other reasons, I wanted to get them through our doors. So, walking by the trappers cabin one day, it came to me!

If you want to attract certain animals, you use things that are extra appealing to them. If you want to attract humans, you use alcohol and food…

…OF COURSE!

WINE AND CHEESE PARTY!!!

 Well…?!?! It makes sense!! This is where a simple idea began to snowball into a great big ice boulder of awesomeness of partnerships and local business support!

We have a few FANTASTIC wineries here, such as Skimmerhorn and Baille-Grohman, so obviously it would be of mutual benefit for both. People that may not have checked out the winery get to try some of their product, and we get to serve some quality wines whilst drawing in people that (may or may not) have tried and liked/loved the wines that may not have come to the Museum. BAM. One problem solved.

Oh, but then you still have to have non alcoholic options (its a good thing we did, too, because we had an expecting mama show up!) Perhaps a sparkling cider? As it just so happens, there is an estate here who does just that! JRD Farms, the makers of William Tell Old Fashioned Sparkling Cider fit the bill just right I’d say!

(honestly though, this stuff is so good, I won’t drink normal store bought apple cider anymore! or regular store bought apple juice come to think of it. :/ …I am sounding a lot like a hipster right now, but the struggle is real. We get seriously spoiled in this town. 😐 )

SERIOUSLY……

So if we are going to have local drinks, the obvious choice for food would, obviously, be local. As if it wasn’t obvious already. Duh.

Even so, that most certainly doesn’t narrow it down! Because everywhere you turn your head, there is local, local organic, fruit, veggies, meat, EVERYTHING. And. it’s. in. season. and. it’s. so. DELICIOUS!. So we just went to lots of places! (and this isn’t even scratching the surface…) And guess what? The businesses in town are just as awesome as their produce, because when we mentioned what we were doing with an old fashioned movie night and a spotlight on local products, they were so excited, and their contributions and donations were more than generous!

Kokanee BrewreyTruscott Farms, Wloka Fruit Stand, Kootenay Alpine Cheese, Famous Fritz Meats, Golden Flour Bakery

We had such an enormous spread, it really was quite incredible!

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It felt like we stepped into the Food Network Channel. I kept expecting Jamie Oliver to walk around the corner any time! It was just that homegrown.

We started getting things rolling the day before, the canopy…the sparkle lights…things that took a little extra time. My sister came with me to help both the night before and the day of, she was so excited about this event since I first opened my mouth about doing it! I couldn’t of pulled it off without her, she was such an enormous help. Along with her, my young neighbor who wants to be a museum curator when he gets older, so between the three of us we had things rollin’ pretty good…

The riveting job of washing vegetables… the intriguing task of chopping those freshly washed and sparkling vegetables…

I jest.

But actually, it was quite a challenge…the… not eating everything in front of you part… You can’t really blame us though, we had YELLOW watermelon, white sweet bell peppers, fresh nectarines, fresh carrots…just to name a few…

 

Things were going pretty smooth! But… by about 3:00… we were beginning to think things might just go astray. You see…the weather started to get bad. Like…real bad. Like, suuuuper blowing wind, spitting rain, dark ominous clouds encasing the valley…started to look like the scene out of ‘The Wizard of Oz’…yes I am being dramatic…but it didn’t look like it was going to be good!

Now, because of my other job, I have a fairly good handle on staying calm and rational in some pretty intense and crazy situations, I’m getting pretty good at taking a lot in and making decisions very quickly. But this…man I tell ya. After a year of planning, and the grant writing, and the scurrying all about…then THIS?!?!

To say I was a nervous basket case would be, um, what would the word be?

Accurate. 

Alyson & Rylan did a pretty good job of talking me down, thank goodness for them! After about an hour or so, things began to settle down, {it felt like an eternity} and lo-and-behold, guess what? The clouds parted, the sun came out, and it turned into the most stunning afternoon! My blood pressure returned to what could be considered normal, and we set about re-setting up everything that we had to take down, including Alysons lovely display.

All hands on deck! The students and Matty set to re-setting up the tables and getting the projector & computer ready, and two of our fantasticly wonderful Kitchen volunteer regulars arrived to put together the hors d’oeuvres, and get the munchies ready to go for the guests. And it was pretty! Sparkle lights as the sun was setting…

Early in the planning process, we settled on hosting a maximum of 50 people. That is the number for each seating of the tea, [and we fill that 3 times over!] So a pretty reasonable goal we thought. Unfortunately, the rather sizable weather tantrum earlier that day seemed to convince many people that the event had been canceled, so… we did not get quite the turn out that we had been hoping for. But hey! Quality not quantity, right?

It actually turned into a quiet, intimate little showing! I most certainly won’t complain about that!

We really didn’t go too high-tech for this. Just a projector and a white sheet. That’s what an outdoor movie is all about right? Actually to be honest, the picture was just about as good as any projection home theater (that’s right guys…a museum projector & sheet showed up your Mancave pride and joy theater!)

Tammy chose ‘Funny Face’ with Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire, and it was a hoot! Talk about a classic film…I was kind of under the impression that it fell into the category of ‘Chick Flick’, but ‘funny’ enough, it was the guys that were raving about it the most! I hadn’t seen it before this, so that was a pretty nice surprise!

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To go along with the classy sparkle lights, and the wonderful movie, we had served hours d’ oeuvres, and Alyson and Rylan and Jen were dressed to the 9’s! They hustled and bustled, heated hours d’ oeuvres, and made sure all our guests were properly ‘fed up’! Haha! 😀

Have you ever seen such an awesome bunch!?! Probably not ;)

Have you ever seen such an awesome bunch!?! Probably not 😉 Unless you came here this summer and saw them. Then you actually have seen such an awesome bunch. Because you saw this bunch.

Co-incidentally enough, this was also the students last day of work for the summer. So although it was rather a sad evening, this group had become remarkably close during their time here this summer (some even went to the same schools), it was also a wonderful way to close out the season! If all things come together, we will be doing this event again next year, so keep your eyes open for tickets to come on sale! There will be room for only 50 to attend again, and tickets will only be available by pre-sale only again {so you might be able to say it’s kind of exclusive.} [you could attend an exclusive event].

So there we go! As promised, if not late, your catch up on the Evening in the Courtyard! I’m thinking next up might be an article on our newest acquirement, dubbed the ‘Critter Tractor’. I think I foresee a little homework in my immediate future!

 

WE SURVIVED THE SEASON!!!! (mostly)

It might just be me, but it feels almost as if someone flipped a switch and all of a sudden it’s fall!

panorama

 

The students are all done for the season, Tammy and I are all bundled up in sweaters and jackets (don’t you eye-roll me…there was fresh snow on the mountains the morning I started writing this!) {that was a couple weeks ago now… :S yes, it’s been slightly busy here}, and we are -read: were- in full on prep-mode getting ready for the Fall Fair and the annual Quilt Show. [both of witch have now been and gone]

Pretty sure I say it every year, “It’s Fall Fair already?!…huh… :/ ” and vow not to let this season sneak up on me like that again next year; and every year, it inevitably does. It’s like a lady I used to work with at the Rec Center. I am 99.935721% sure sneaking up on people and scaring their socks off was her super power. Although fall didn’t scare my socks off, it snuck up almost as stealthily.

 

EEEEEEnyways…true to the theme of the fair, we did an ‘Agriculture in the Valley’ exhibit. Everyone loves being able to take a look into the past, especially the past of something familiar, such as your home town, and seeing the differences. This block that went from orchard to housing, that building before it underwent multiple renovations…

Can you guess what part of town this is? *hint* it's now a major highway...

Can you guess what part of town this is? *hint* it’s now a major highway…

This year, one of the summer students had a few research projects as her job. She put together the Crosthwait exhibit ( you really should come take a look at it. It is truly spectacular. Don’t know who I’m talking about? Well there’s one more reason you need to come see it!) One of her other jobs was compiling material for the Fall Fair. A nice perk about this one is that when we do a merciless clean out of the Carr Building, (remember the shed?) we should be able to stack it safely and pull it out again when we need a last minute exhibit! (because as you’ve probably noticed, we always have time to design intricate displays 😐 ). I think it looks great, but that’s just me. {I might be a little biased.}

Now, compared to last years behemoth display (we had almost an entire side of an isle to ourselves), this year was pretty simplistic for a variety of reasons. BUT! Tammy and I usually keep an ace up our sleeves for just such occasions 😉 We did something just a touch different this year…

A RAFFLE!!!!!

Yup! That’s right! We have a really nice (new) ‘retro style’ bike, valued at around $200, a Canucks hockey jersey, and a Museum Events gift pack! Tickets are only $2, or 3 for $5… so… if you can buy a cup of coffee… I’m pretty sure you can come take a chance on these cool prizes. And even if you aren’t a Canucks fan (*cough*im not*cough*) chances are, you know someone who is. And you know Christmas is only a little ways away, and you could literally become a hero {but just no capes} to someone for being awesome enough to get them this gift. Or, you know…if you are a fan yourself…you can keep it…no matter to us! The Museum Gift Pack will have tickets to a variety of events held throughout the year, such as Kids Day, Afternoon Tea, and Evening in the Courtyard…it’s about a $50 value!

 

 

After the Fall Fair comes [came] the Quilt Show on September 19.

The extremely talented quilting ladies that occupy the Carr Building did this beautiful quilted panel panorama wall hanging of the valley. It is ENORMOUS and for Sale!

Did you know one year we had so many quilts we actually had them covering the fronts of businesses downtown?!?! This is not a figment of my overly dramatic imagination trying to pull your leg, I’m actually serious.  See for yourself!

quilts 1                       quilts 2

 

Like the afternoon tea, the Quilt Show has become quite the staple in our repertoire of goings on. We absolutely COVER the place in quilts…we have had years where there are tents outside, and every conceivable space, both flat AND vertical. It was basically a maze forest of the fabric variety. (200 quilts will do that) There really is quite the collection…century old hand quilted pieces from our storage, brand new machine sewn king sized masterpieces,  (I seriously couldn’t stay away from the one last year, I wish I had a picture of it…), and even a few hand sewn ‘scrap quilts’. The quilts themselves aren’t actually ‘scraps’ so to speak, just the shapes and squares made out of scrap pieces to use them up. This is actually a long standing quilting tradition, especially since fabric could be expensive, so you wanted to use as much as possible. There was one just being finished last year, all by hand! The squares were about 1”x1”,the quilt was KING SIZED, and it was all done with scrap fabric.

 

I can’t even tell you the respect I have for that quilter.

 

I can’t.

 

I just… can’t even.

 

*pumpkin spice everything*

 

Actually, it’s is kind of cool, I didn’t know this until I started looking into quilts for an activity here. The pattern of a quilt is not always just a mish-mash of randomly selected and stitched chunks and/or pretty patterns. The design of the blanket may actually be telling a story! There are lots of different patterns, like the wedding ring pattern, or the wagon wheel, or the flying geese… there is a very interesting story about quilts playing a major role in the Underground Railway & the process of slaves in the US deep south escaping to freedom. Since everyone hung their bed linen out to air and dry, no one would ever suspect a quilt draped out the window or hanging on the line as a covert means of communication! Here are some more links to some interesting information.

https://www.owensound.ca/osblackhistory/underground-railroad-quilt-code

 

http://www.womenfolk.com/quilt_pattern_history/

 

At the same time I learned about the Underground Railroad, I discovered a theory about the oldest known ‘quilt’, claiming it was found in Egypt! I wonder if they put cats on their quilts? (Egyptians loved cats) There were cats on EVERYTHING, on their statues… on their hieroglyphs… why not their quilts? But I also found a link to an incredibly old Italian Quilt… I put pictures below that I changed the colour and contrast on so you could see the design better…they are really quite intricate!

italian quilt italian quilt 2

Some of the ladies that quilt here are just so incredibly talented, it’s actually inspired me to try quilting a little. But much like my indecisiveness over simple things such as what to order off a menu…I still haven’t decided on a pattern to start with :/ so practicing stitches on pot holders it is!!

So now that the show is done, there is a Mongo stack of bins to get sorted and go back up the stairs…

if you have watched blazing saddles, no explanation is needed...

if you have watched blazing saddles, no explanation is needed…

Well, I think that juuuuust about catches you up…except for the Evening in the Courtyard event. I will start working on a separate post for that one to fill you in in case you didn’t make it. Now, it’s time to grab me a tea, and start working on next years calendar and planning even more crazy 😉

Cheers!

A little bit of catching up to do…

Wholly mercy it has been a very long time since my last post! But that being said it has been so crazy around this place it’s not even funny! Which, actually, cancels that out and makes it hilarious because we haven’t been this busy…well…ever!

Lets see here…

-Our weekly programs have been up and running, and for a first year reveal, have been doing surprisingly well! Rylan has certainly been on his toes!

-I was able to wear grubby clothes regularly through the month of July to continue getting my hands dirty finishing the homestead (it is mostly usable now!!!)

-Preparing for the Annual Afternoon Tea

-Carying out the Annual Afternoon Tea

-Cleaning up after the Annual Afternoon Tea

-Getting the menu and licenses and stuff ready for the wine and cheese movie night at the end of this month

-Writing more licensing stuff for the wine and cheese movie night

..and now we are almost swinging towards getting ready for our Fall Fair setup 😐

Wheew! Safe to say we havn’t stopped moving. Actually there was a stretch of about 2 weeks I was hardly at my desk! (and I loved it. shhh. don’t tell anyone I said that.)

But now that we have 30 seconds (but no more than) to take a breath, figured it might be good to fill y’all in on the goings on! So here we go. Step by step.

WEEKLY PROGRAMS

This year we have 4 out of 7 days that have something going on through that day.

Tuesday Lessons in the School House

Wednesday Downtown Tours

(one on foot in the morning and one by bus in the afternoon)

Thursday Orchard Tours

Wildcard Saturday (Homestead based)

The album below is from ‘Wildcard Saturday’, the program designed to be run out of the new Homestead. The basis of this one is to scrap the ‘look don’t touch’ idea, and get EVERYONES hands dirty. This program is open to ALL ages, actual kids and grownups who refuse to act like anything but kids. Or even stodgy adults. We don’t judge here. We have done tons of fun stuff…made pie from SUPER-SCRATCH (aka made butter to make pie crust & used local cherries), to crocheting, to weaving, not to mention making hand made ice cream at the end of every workshop from local organic cream! I put some pictures in an album below of our soap carving workshop. The kids had sooooo much fun!. Even the summer students wanted to get in on this one! (and…ahem…cough…I wanted to too…) This was the last one before the homestead was ‘officially’ ready for use.

Now, we totally expected attendance to be washy at best. It’s a new program and people can be guarded about stuff like this in a small town. I learned this lesson well from working in the Rec Center. But I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with the reception! This particular workshop was one of those times where the week before we had a family. That family tells their friends, who bring their family, who bring their other friends family…and before you know it you have half a dozen children hacking at soap! They really did a great job. Some fantastic fish and flowers and the like!

Tuesday Lessons in the School House…this was more of a Wildcard than the Wildcard Saturdays. What kid wants to go to anything even remotely resembling a school in the summer?!?! -translation- Some days Rylan sits in a hot suit in a small un-air conditioned building waiting for people to show up and no one comes. AKA CHARACTER BUILDING FOR YOUR RESUME! hahaha…just kidding. Not really. I’m pretty sure he has grown as a person since. But what can I say. It just has yet to catch on. Then there was that time that Kids showed up to Lessons in the School House so Rylan actually got to teach something! He did such a good job…I really can’t tell you if he had more fun or if the kids did. But besides having an excuse to poke unprovoked fun in his general direction, we also needed a way to test run this program before we offered it out to schools 😛 That’s right! This program isn’t just a summer fling, it is actually a cool custom package that teachers can either rent to teach in their class, have one of us come in and teach it, or bring the kids to the school house to really experience school in the 1920’s!

 

Another pilot program is the Orchard Tour. In this intensive program, we take visitors on an in-depth tour…through time… *cue sparkly wooshy magical noise*

mmk. Well, maybe not as much through time as the Downtown tours do, but the relative idea revolves around stepping into the shoes of Orchardists from a century ago in a hands on game involving decisions about plantings & crops, spraying, and oodles more. It’s kind of like The Game of Life, or Monopoly. Except you are less likely to destroy long time friendships, relationships, and entire family units over this game. After your enlightenment of the behind the scenes here at the Museum, visitors hop a bus with us and we go to a local farm to see the principles that were just learned in action! and eat fresh fruit. Zero objections there!

Although I don’t have any pictures of our town tours (we have two, one on a large automobile, and a good old fashioned foot tour) just yet, it is pretty cool. Tammy dresses up in 1920’s fashion, and leads guests through the town describing it as it would of been in ‘her’ time (aka. Mrs. Mallandaine, a distinguished and quite adventuresome lady of the town in the 20’s who came here in 1904). A good friends great grandson in the future has invented ‘an application on his telephone’ that allows her to not only speak on a telephone, but also travel through time with it! For some reason though, she is unable to take anybody back to her time with it though. This is why she packs a plethora of pictures. [say that ten times fast 😉 ] I’m planning on joining a tour soon though so I can see her in action and take lots of pictures for you guys. But of course, seeing it in person is always best. wink. wink. nudge. nudge. wink.

 HOMESTEAD

ahhh yes…the pet project. It is fully recognizable as a place that may at one time have been civilly inhabited! sans furniture & shelving. but that is a project for this fall. There will have to be a whole-nother post about it finished, but here is a decent sneak peek for you!

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The fireplace looks pretty real, doesn’t it?! Now to drag out one of the cast iron kettles…

Getting it to this point was definitely a great excuse to bust out the work gloves and old jeans. There was a small crew working on it, so I didn’t get to do much in the way of construction and use of power tools {although we do have a beautiful Dewalt drill that I have got my paws on a few times…*snickersnicker*} … but most of the finishing was all up to me. Oh, wait…actually, I did power wash and sand the wainscotting before it was put up. So that was a mouse sander and power washer. 3 power tools used. bahahaha.

ANNUAL AFTERNOON TEA

Wholly goodness, what a whirlwind!! (and I didn’t even really have much to do with it!) The Annual Afternoon Tea is a tradition here at the Museum. The recent addition of a changing theme each year has really been a hit! (we really encourage visitors to dress up. Because, hey. Who doesn’t like dressing up?) This years theme was ‘Roaring 20’s’. After the movie ‘The Great Gatsby’ came out, the 20’s was the obvious choice at the front of everyones minds. Thaaaaaat, and we just did 1914 last year so it was also the logical chronological progression. [ouch. i think i sprained my tongue saying that one!] But it was really fun! Sparkles and beads and Charleston dancers… our 1921 Model T Ford Truck even made an appearance! I was up in the kitchen this year doing one of my favourite jobs (plating desserts…can you blame me though?), so I wasn’t on the patio, but the parts I did see were absolutely adorable! Rylan did a fantastic job of the play this year. He took a slightly un-conventional approach and made it more like clips of a newspaper coming alive! The guests absolutely loved it. Have you not experienced The Tea before?

Well if you haven’t enjoyed the tea and lemonade and dainties and desserts and drama that is THE ANNUAL AFTERNOON TEA

you should come.

rly. you should.

Not your thing? We could always use volunteers too. Just sayin. It’s really fun! {pssst…we get to eat leftovers 😉 }

WINE AND CHEESE MOVIE NIGHT

Well, it’s been in the works for a while, and things are finally coming together! There has only been one near nervous breakdown over the menu ~not bad if I do say so myself!~ So with the date only two weeks away, all the finalizing is getting finalized, lists are being listed…you know the drill! It is kind of weird though, because half of my work week is weekends when others are not working so phone calls have been pretty one sided. 😀 But that’s ok! Just forces me to be a little more organized haha. The theme of this evening actually revolves around two nebuli. The first one is an exhibit on a local Canyon boy named Irwin Crosthwait who went on to become one of the most influential fashion illustrators of the 50s and 60s. It wasn’t what he actually wanted to do, he wanted to do his own art, but fashion in Paris really took a shining to his style, and it payed the bills, so he stuck with it. You have more than likely seen either his work, or work imitating his style, even if you live under a rock like me.

The second one, is local. All about local. Local food. Local drink. Local entrepreneurs.

When you are as blessed as we are in this town as we are with food, why the heck wouldn’t you take full advantage of it? Saturday farmers market is an incredible place to go see a wide variety of valley goodies…Farmers of all sorts… veggies, fruit, meat, honey… if you heard about that 100mile diet fad a few years back…let me tell you. It’s a buffet here! So hosting a Wine and Cheese movie night with as much local as possible was a no brainer. High quality goodies, and creating bonds with local businesses? YES PLEASE!

The wineries that will be contributing (Skimmerhorn and Baillie Grohman) have won many an award, enough to give even international wines a run for their money! Check out their sites to see some of their awards. They are located side by side on a very unique bench of land in Erickson (a sub community). It is the only one in Creston suitable for wine grapes, so their vineyards can’t really grow…just makes their wine more exclusive 😉

Kootenay Alpine Cheese will also be sponsoring us with a donation of their Nostrala (my personal favourite) and Alpindone cheeses. Their operation is organic, with a very special mix of cow breeds to get a very specific milk mix to produce these unique cheeses. They are also a very green facility, using geo thermal, gravity, solar, the works!

As for the movie, we will probably do an Audrey Hepburn fashion movie. Outside. Seating is a blanket (or pillow. or camping chair) from home on the lawn.

Of course to go with all of this, there are the licensing hurdles. Liquor licensing, Temporary Food Service Permits, Movie screening rights…oh all that fun stuff. As per usual, there is always something pop up, but what fun would planning an event be if that didn’t happen every now and again? {cough…sarcasm…cough}

Tickets are $20 each and include your first drink. Give us a call to reserve your ticket, or come into the office to purchase it. I don’t recommend purchasing at the door as we only have 50 tickets available. The schoolyard saying “you snooze you loose” is absolutely applicable here!

FALL FAIR

So after the Wine & Cheese movie night is done, we will have just under 2 weeks to put together our exhibit for the Fall Fair. It won’t be too bad though, considering it is on agriculture. Fair-ly fitting …. hee. hee. hee. A good chunk of our collection is somehow tied to agriculture, we shouldn’t have a difficult time finding fun, funky, interesting pieces to display! I’m really excited to show off the homestead activities though! Since, you know, the homestead was based off the activities of an agricultural family starting out. But who are we kidding. I’m most excited to see the calves and bunnies. I just love the smell of woodchips and horses and/or dairy cows. Call me crazy. It’s great.

Wanna see some of the stuff I’m talking about or have any questions about our new programs? Stop in, give us a call, or leave a comment below!

How to be a Pie-oneer…

I know it’s been a while since the last post, but things have been a little busy here lately. Most of my last couple weeks have involved puttying windows (of which I still have 2 panes to do), staining window trim & ceiling beams, painting ceilings, oiling windowsills…the list goes on. But the bonus is that the homestead is so close to being up and functional!!! I seriously can’t wait to run programs out if it, like yesterdays Wildcard Saturday.

Have you ever looked at that desert and just wished it didn’t have any calories so you didn’t feel so guilty eating it? Me neither. BUUT, for those that do, I think we have come up with a solution, that has actually been a solution before someone ever thought there was a problem to need a solution for! And you don’t actually need any domestic skills what-so-ever!

*cue angels singing*

Cherries are in full swing here right now, and the town is in feasting mode on all the fresh and delicious produce coming out of the ground. Tree fruits, fresh organic veggies, the list is almost endless. I was just out in my garden last night pulling carrots and parsnips. And you pretty much can’t even talk to me in the morning until I’ve had my smoothie made with fresh beet tops from the garden.

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We try to keep it local as much as possible here at the Museum, so when Rylan and I were searching for an activity for yesterday, it dawned on us. Why not jump in on some of this amazing fruit??? We already make ice cream with fresh local cream from Kootenay Alpine Cheese (here is another link to another site too), so why not take it one step further?

We had always planned to make butter for something or other, be it to put on a johnny cake the participants made or even fresh bread from the local bakery (back to that insurance company / wood building / wood stove / fire thing :/ ) but summer is just a time for pies. We love pies. I love pies. So, we would make pies from absolute scratch!

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Pies are pretty pioneery…so we thought lets give it a shot. Except here, we will almost always take the adventurous way. If we are doing pioneery pies, we are really gonna do them.

***WE MADE THE BUTTER TO MAKE THE CRUST TO MAKE THE PIES.***

I have only 3 words.

How. Stinkin. Fun.

Yes…There is just something about getting back to basics…

 

I already consider myself a bit of a foodie and a food snob, and cooking is totally my thing. But baking…well…lets just say I might be a bit too much of a free spirit to follow a recipe most of the time. Which works out amazingly when I’m cooking, but rarely turns out well when I’m baking. BUT. I can do pie crust. What makes this pie so easy is the principle of a pie crust….All it is is a flour to fat ratio! [going by eye & texture is generally how I cook anyways]… so we could easily scale down the batch size without needing a precise recipe, therefore pint size hands could get in on the action -even after they got bored of shaking the jars and handed it off to their parents- and see the whole thing come together. And unlike some other crust recipes you may have seen, you don’t need to deal with delicate balances of ice water. Your moisture is built in by leaving some un-separated buttermilk in your finished butter.

So. Lets get down to brass tacks.

If you have never made butter before, it is quite the experience. Actually it is almost like the stages of grieving really…with just one extra step at the end.

First comes the denial & isolation:

Pffffft…it can’t be that hard! No! Just a little shaking of a jarthat can’t be too bad! I’m GOING to make butter and it’s going to be so fun and t a s t y!! No no, i’m doing ok, I don’t need you to spell me off, I can do it…

 

Then the anger…

WHY! IS! THIS! NOT! WORKING! I’M! SHAKING! IT! LIKE! CRAZY! YOU! RIDICULOUS! CREAM!

 

And bargaining…

I know I said I didn’t need a spell off, but my arms are about to fall off, and I promise I will take it back quickly, I just need a little break, I will share, I really will, and I won’t complain now, if this butter would only butter…

 

Then depression…

 *sigh* I guess I’m just not skilled enough to make butter…I’m such a failure. Look at me, wasting this good cream…I so would of died if I actually had to do this to survive…I should just give up…I don’t even like pie anyway…

 

Acceptance…

 Well…I did get a few clumps on the side…I guess that’s all I’m gonna get…better than nothing I suppose…

 

But then…then you feel the change in the jar… you feel that ‘flump’, instead of the ‘glub’…just as you are positive your arms are going to spontaneously combust… and your hands are no longer capable of gripping anything… and your shoulders are about to drop out of their sockets like when you try to move grandmas super duper moist christmas turkey out of the roaster onto the cutting board…

And you look, and what do you know!!!! There, right before your very eyes, it’s happened.

THE FAT PARTICLES HAVE FINALLY JOINED IN AN ALLEGIANCE CALLED BUTTER!!

 

thus bringing on the final stage…. success.

*cue 5 year old’s make believe transformation brain*

pioneer I’m a pioneer.

 

 

And then you realize you still have to drain the buttermilk and rinse it and the process starts all over again.

 

BUUUUUT lucky for you, this recipe doesn’t need that stage 😉 It actually requires your butter to resemble mayonaise.

Your butter will need to have a little of the buttermilk drained from it, but for the most part, it should be about twice as thick as mayo

The reason we are leaving it like this is because we are using whole wheat flour {since, you know, white flour was such a treat, we’re going for authenticity. oh. and FLAVOUR!}

Leaving the milk in it will help to keep the crust from getting overly dense and blah,

SO! Here we go.

To start, you will need…

*Fresh fruit of your choosing (we did local cherry)

*Honey, Agave Nectar, Maple Syrup or Sugar

*A decent sized, clean mason jar

*1 1/2 to 2 cups of very heavy cream

*Whole wheat flour

*Gelatin (optional)

*Pie Plate (very lightly greased)

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We use the purple one for this, it is 36% milk fat. If you are in another area, look for a local producer who supplies high MF (milk fat) creams. The taste is much cleaner than large name generic creams. But if generic is all you have, go for it. It’s the effort that counts.

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Sorry Ina Garten. I saw a chance and jumped.    I actually love your recipes.

 

There is no special prep needed, simply put the cold cream in the clean mason jar, make sure the lid is tight, and get shakin!!! It could be wise to crank up some music with a killer beat so loud your neighbors begin to question your sanity. Or maybe question further…I don’t know what they think of you…that’s your business, not mine.

If you decide to do a larger batch, and save some for later or make a bigger crust, maybe split it in half and get two people shaking. The more cream you have in your jar, the more difficult it will be & longer it will take.

or go to the local gym and tell people it is a new arm toning workout. or you can hog the killer toning exercise to yourself. your choice. I don’t judge.

But STICK WITH IT!

DO NOT GIVE UP!

IT WILL HAPPEN!

DON’T GET LAZY, AND KEEP SHAKING VIGOROUSLY!!

The more agitation, the better/faster the fat will clump.

Once your cream has turned into a substance resembling really thick mayo and does not leave smears on the side of the jar when you tip it, it moves like ‘the blob’, set it in the fridge for about 15 or so minutes to allow it to settle and firm up a little. I know this part isn’t pioneer, but it will make the butter easier to handle, and your upcoming job much easier. You can pre-heat your oven to 350*F at this time.

After your 15 minutes there should be some liquid around your butter. There are two ways to do this now…

a) You can pour your butter mix into cheese cloth over a bowl and *GENTLY* squeeze out some of the buttermilk

b) You can pour it into a bowl and gently move the butter back from the side of the bowl allowing some space for the buttermilk to fill and pour it off (careful not to spill it)

Remember, like I said earlier, you don’t want to take too much out, the milk in the butter is what is going to keep the crust from getting too hard and blah.

Now comes the experimental mad scientist part. For about a cup of butter, use a normal table spoon (the big spoon in your utensil drawer, not the little one) and scoop about 3- 4 decent scoops into your butter. Mix it in, until it starts to form a recognizable dough. If you need more, add just a little bit at a time. It will turn into chunks, and you should be able to use your hands to meld the clumps together easily without it sticking to you hand. I don’t recommend using a food processor like some say to mix. We are using soft butter, not hard so we don’t need to break it into clumps. That being said, try to keep the handling to a minimum, it will keep your shell from turning gummy when it’s baked. There is no need to chill this dough after mixing either.

From here, you can either choose to cut off clumps and hand flatten it into rustic tart shells, or, you can flour a flat smooth surface and roll it out into a normal pie shell. The full cup and a half should yeild you just enough for a top as well if you like. Mine was a shallow, slightly thicker bottom and a partial top, but the great thing about this crust is it is really flexible, you get to do what you like with it!

From here, it is pie as normal! Mix your washed, cut fruit with the sweetener/spice of your choice to taste (my choice was the brown sugar with a dark variety of cherry, but this would be astounding with maple & cinnamon apple, agave cardamom peach, apricot & honey…) If you prefer to add some gelatin to prevent a super watery filling, follow the directions on the package. If you don’t want to, no worries. This pie will be eaten so fast it won’t have time to get soggy!

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For a super golden crust, brush it with a whipped egg or milk before putting it in the oven, then bake until golden and firm. The time will vary with how thick your crust is and whether you do tarts or a full pie.

So now, there you have it. All that guilt for indulging in a scrumptious chunk of home made pie can dissolve considering everything you burned off in order to make the crust to make the pie! PROBLEM SOLVED!

And lastly, but certainly not least, let us know how yours turned out! Send us pictures on our facebook page with the hashtag #ImAPieoneer (don’t worry, it just links the pie pictures together).

 

Bon Appetite!!

 

**UPDATE!** Yet Another New Addition

Do you remember the homestead project we are currently working on?

(click HERE if you aren’t up on the latest happenings at

The Creston Museum in regards to the Homestead)

It’s coming along sooooo great!! Still have a fair bit of work to go before it’s finished, but check out the difference!!

The last time you saw it, it looked like this…

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Since that picture, a lot has been done! I’m not going to post any wide view pictures just yet, you’ll have to wait for the grand reveal to see those 😉

Hmm, where to start… maybe with one of my favourite developments so far…

Originally, this teal framing for the doors and windows was supposed to go on the inside, like it was in the teacherage it came from. But to be honest, I am really glad there was a miscommunication, because I LOVELOVELOVELOVE the look of it on the outside!!! May be just my opinion, but I think it gives it oodles of character that it might have otherwise been missing. There is still a piece that needs to go at the top of the door, but that is a project for another day 😉

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The windows have turned into quite the blast too. Kind of a funny story actually. Since there were no frames in the teacherage, we were left to fend for ourselves on windows. Search high, search low, all the Pinterest projects seem to have ate up the single pane wood frame windows. That is, until John came to the rescue! He remembered he had 4 sitting at home not being used, so he brought them in and WOW!! They work absolutely perfectly!!! I didn’t get pictures before I tarted taking them apart, but here is one mid-process.

window

Basically they had to be scrubbed off, putty scraped, glass removed, glass insets re-scraped, sanded down, re-scrubbed, and oiled.

We decided to use Linseed Oil for its gorgeous, rich colour, and most probable accuracy. Also it didn’t stink like modern stain.

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This is only the first coat mind you, there will be another, and I will probably do the sill and the parts that hold the window in place (so it doesn’t look so new). They are just temporarily placed for sizing their new frames. I am getting so impatient though, seriously… worse than a group of sports fans waiting outside for a wings joint to open on game night!!

The wainscoting that was being power washed when the bears showed up last week is going up nicely, I am really liking how they sanded down too. Although cedar is decidedly NOT my favourite type of wood [notice the underline for accentuation. not quite an italics type of stress on ‘not’, but definately a capitols and underline type of dislike] …buuuuuut, that being said, I think the whole aging process over 110 or so years has done it a nice justice 🙂

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We also have a little faux fireplace! I am so excited for this part…finishing it is going to be a blast, if not a little work. Meh, I guess that’s what wheelbarrows were invented for, hauling brick. Or something. Either way it will be really fun because I’m going to do river rock on the outside {I think}. There is also a beautiful rough cut slab of wood I am earmarking for a mantle. Sanded and oiled it will be a stunner! (you can see a little corner of it in the picture on the right) Then comes the fun part of tracking down stuff to put on it!

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The siding has been up for a little while now. This is one of the main things we were able to salvage, along with the wainscoting. We were really nervous in the beginning taking it off the building because of how much weather it has had to withstand, and we worried it would just splinter and shatter as soon as any pressure/resistance was put on it. But, true to pioneer fashion, it held out, and is now looking fabulous on it’s new home!

I will say, I love doing these kinds of siding pictures. I did one of an old red barn on some family property last year with my good camera. Even though this one is a cell shot, check out all the colours and shades in this one!

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As for the doors that will go on it, they definitely need a little TLC. They were originals from this museum when we got it and began the process of cleaning it up. I am thinking since the one is already white, clean it up a little, then do the insets teal, and do the front door white and change the insets a little to match the trim.

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Still need to track down an old door knob for the brown one… That should be an adventure!

Well, that about sums up most of the changes for now, stay tuned for further updates!

Bear with me…

You know, every now and then a day just gets waaay more crazy than you expected it to be. Like, this day in your mind was seriously not assigned to turn out this strange.

It all started innocently enough; work was to continue on the homestead, and I would be pressure washing the wainscoting that we pulled from the inside of the teacherage. The last few days here have been so stiflingly hot, even cellular respiration has been a major feat. (we are from the Kootenays, 38C weather with high humidity is NOT our jam…) So waking up today to cool air and a very light drizzle just started this day off amazingly. It was such a refreshing treat!

I confess...I don't even watch lord of the rings. but i thought the reference was appropriate.

I confess…I don’t even watch Lord of the Rings. But I felt the reference was appropriate.

So since Lou (a board member) came in earlier than my shift starts and began working on power washing, thought it might not be a bad idea to go check on how the guys were coming on the project. I might of done a ridiculous little hoppety-jump from excitement when I saw it. I’m not too proud to admit this. Most of this project has been coming along so smooth, but one hang up has seemed to be finding a few darn windows. Apparently with all the Pinterest projects people are going crazy with, all the single pane wood framed windows have been gobbled up. So searching for any has been completely fruitless. That is, until, one of the guys who has been helping out on the project (the same guy that did so much research for our AGM trench dinner) remembered he had 4 windows (exactly what we were looking for) just sitting at home!! Talk about awesome!!

So he went off to find them, and to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. small/odd sizes, really chippy icky paint, you know the kind.

WELL.

This was not the case!!

They are B-E-A-U-TIFUL!!!!!! no paint…great shape…of course some panes were broken, but that is kind of to be expected after sitting outside for years haha… They are all the same size, and BIG! YAY! And the best part, the caulking was almost already completely off, so it wasn’t a major hassle to scrape and clean them all. So, not only was work outside today, but I got to start restoring windows too!!! That stacks up to super cool in my book.

window

Here is one I just took the windows out of before scraping and initial sanding.

So this was really fun. Just a wet sand, oil stain, re-insert panes and they are good to go! *glee*

But if you think this is all that was going on this day…I’m not done yet…

So the day carries on, and the sun comes out, and it returns to being very, very warm, and because we had that rain in the morning, it gets humid. Ick. But we are still in a good mood from earlier, so this indiscretion by the weather can be mostly overlooked. After finishing what I could on the windows, it was time to finish up the power washing then lunch.

hot, humid day + cool water from a leaky power washer wand =

happy redhead.

That could of been an Ice Tea commercial it was so refreshing. But, I digress. So, get that done then off to lunch I go. Genius me gets inside, sits down to eat, and realizes I forgot a fork…so to the Carr building it is! Now, in case you haven’t ever been here and don’t know where I’m talking about, I was power washing in front of the shed off to the far right on the edge of this picture, (there is another large shed that I could stand the wood up against to dry directly to the right out of the picture) and the Carr building is just diagonal from the bottom right corner of the picture and a hard right. so they aren’t far.

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 As I’m crossing the parking lot, some movement in front of the garage door catches my eye…

You can see how obviously shadowed it is around the sheds…and then I noticed fluff. So here I was all ‘Oh wow! That is a ridiculously fluffy dog, it must be so hot! but wait, I only know of two kinds of dogs that walk like that, and one of them isn’t… actually… a dog…ithasnotdogpuppiesTHATSNOTADOGTHATSABEAR!!!!

50 yards in front of me was a little first/second year out mama and her twins!

Wholly moley!

Those of you who know me know animals are basically the spice of my life, and I have an especially fond place for the wildlife we live with in this valley. Put it this way…when I was little, my mom attempted relentlessly to get me to wear dresses and do pretty girly things. But joke was on her, because I am ridiculous. Haha! I was watching National Geographic and Kratt Brothers and Steve Irwin instead of Disney Princesses, I was out chasing grass hoppers and getting rips in my jeans and climbing trees and reading the big encyclopedia of animals as soon as I could figure out the words. And irritating anyone who would listen (or pretend they were listening) about some new facts. I’m surprised I wasn’t put up for adoption.

Black Bears are quite the staple of our eco-system here! Some fun trivia about black bears:

*They have an amazing sense of smell, but their eyesight is actually pretty poor, even though they can see colour

*Their molars are very similar to ours because they are OMNIVORES, which means they eat meat & vegetation/roots, just like people!

  

*Their claws are very similar to a cats, except they do not retract, so they can continue to climb trees after they mature into adults, unlike Grizzly Bears, who’s claws grow longer and straighter. They are also fantastic for digging and manipulating

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*They can live up to 25 years in the wild

*More predominantly in Western ranges, their colours can vary in hue from black, to blue, to cinnamon, to blonde, even white (known as Kermode or Spirit Bear), but the brown/cinnamon does not make it a Brown Bear, that is a different species. (looks more like a grizzly)

So getting to see this fluffy trio at my job sort of in town instantly became the highlight of my day. Even over top of those windows. I know, crazy. We see bears around the area lots, but it generally tends to be in well known areas out of city limits. So this was interesting, but it also was a little startling for a few reasons:

a) We are a public facility that has both user groups and patrons on the property

b) We are a dog friendly facility and the patrons currently on the property have a Chihuahua and a Heeler (herding dog) that I do not know how it will react (I have a Border Collie, they are ‘fairly’ predictable in their patterns, and I know his recall. Heelers are not so much, and I don’t know this dog)

c) Those same people with the dogs also have small children

d) A lot of doors are open, including the Carr building with the Quilters in it (and a lot of food in there too) and the Stone House (it’s a house made of stone-basically a nice, cool, cave) where 2 employees are. A startled mama inside a building is NOT a good idea, no matter how small

e) Although I know we have animals around, it is the middle of the day on a very hot  afternoon so I was NOT expecting her. {Morning, perhaps. Doing stuff in the evenings or at night, sure. But 1pm? Not on the side of a busy highway.}

So all this flashes through my mind in approximately 2 seconds. The one nice thing about being a paramedic is you learn to analyze things very quickly and make sequenced decisions & act on them just about as fast. Oh. and you learn to stay calm. but that was more of a stretch that day because every ounce of wildlife nerd and photographer in me was SCREAMING

“JUST SIT BACK AND LET THEM BE! JUST WATCH THEM!

SRSLY, HOW OFTEN TO YOU SEE THIS NOT IN A CAR?!?!…

AWWWWWEEEEE!!!! THEY ARE SO SMALL!!!!”

But, unfortunately, I couldn’t do that, so still at about 50 yards, some hollering to both the quilters and the girls downstairs to close the doors of the buildings they were in, then my best Luke Bryan concert whistling and clapping to hopefully divert her from the direction she was going. Everyone was inside safe, and it worked, mostly; she turned around and slightly inconveniencedly scooted back around the shed with babes in tow.

A phone call to conservation didn’t work, the number online was out of service, so, call the police! A slightly irritating conversation with the Police dispatcher {really though, how many times do you have to say the number I have doesn’t work?} and finally she gave me the 800 number to call.

1-800-663-WILD (9453)

We only have one C.O. here, and he is generally run off his feet. He is trained in many different ways to deal with wildlife of all shapes and sizes. But since he was tied up, it was up to the police to follow up.

Now, just a little bit of background for you folks…the street I live on is quite the special street. On it, there is 1 house with 2 Paramedics, 4 different Police Officers houses [used to be 6], and used to be [might still be] a retired Conservation Officer on it. Talk about stacked!

So it was one of my neighbors that came to chat with me. I know what the outcome would of been if it had to be the police dealing with this little girl & her cubs. And that is NOT the outcome we want, and it is not the outcome he wanted either; so it was decided to just shut down, keep the place quiet, and hopefully she would move on from her 15m high perch in the neighbors yard off to where she was safe.

But the little wheels in my mind were spinning at this point, and it was getting stuck on a bit of a problem. Black bears by nature are fairly curious, albeit timid beings. Household cats with a bit of attitude have been well recorded scaring these dudes off.

Click this hilarious youtube link for videos —-> Hilarious youtube link

But the thing that I was seeing that genuinely concerned me was a combination of a couple factors.

We are in the middle of a GAUNTLET of danger and things bears generally make it a life skill to avoid…

We are sandwiched in between 2 very busy major highways and a railroad. We are also surrounded by businesses, and residential areas, a 5 min downhill walk from the Creston Flats (agricultural & a little residential) and 10 min from the base of a mountain (cross tracks, a highway I hate crossing in a vehicle never mind on foot and lots of residential on the road to the mountain)

click to make it legible

click to make it legible

So given all this…WHAT IN MERCYS NAME was she doing here? What could of possibly drawn this young bear with her babies to this location?

When a bunch of humans are all making noise, two babies at her side, and she could hardly care less about our presence or the fact that one was acting like a slight psycho in her general direction?

hmm.

I found this picture online, and actually this isn’t far off her size, [ooh! and would ya look at that, she has twins too…]

so this little girl couldn’t of been much more than 3 or 4, and only on her 1st to 2nd year away from mama. Actually, she wasn’t much different than the bear we have in founders hall!

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Drew (my dog) has made peace with this guy, but just can’t do the same with the Grizz in North 40 Outfitters in Sandpoint…

To be this age and this un-concerned? That is a flag. And now her babies are learning this too.

So why exactly would Little Bear behave in this manner?

My first impression would be the increasingly loose attitude of people regarding predatory and scavenging animals. HOLD ON…. before you get all puffed up like an owl woke from its nap and walk away…this isn’t a political soapbox or attack or rant or anything haha…

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Click on this image to be able to actually see what i’m talking about

Look at how much mountain and wilderness surrounds us. The actual town is so small at the narrow part between the road leading out to the industrial area and actual downtown, you can walk flats to mountain in maybe 30min (tops). Then Canyon, Lister, Erickson, Wynndel, West Creston…these are all outskirts. Farming, Orchards (bears love orchards)…and all right at the base of the mountains or bordering very loosely populated, kind of un-developed areas.

Beings that we are kind of de-conditioned to animals in our back yards, it is natural to forget that providing easy pickings such as garbage out the night before pick-up, bird feeders, humming bird feeders, un-picked up fruit from the tree you really were hoping to get to this week but just couldn’t, all provide a variable smorgasbord that will draw bears, raccoons, skunks and other little 4 legged critters out of their homes for an easier meal.

Remember that omnivore thing? They love to eat just like us, but they are also carrion eaters, so rotting garbage leftovers is no big thing!

I would absolutely hate to see Little Mama Bear and/or her cubs, or any other wildlife for that matter, hurt for no reason in particular. So what are some things we can do to help keep them where they belong and are safest?

-Firstly, obviously, do not put your garbage out the night before, and if possible, keep it in a cool, difficult to access place

-Keep compost in a closed, difficult to access container in a cool place away from the house

-Although we love to watch birds at feeders, bears also love the high fat/carb nuts & seeds provided in them. Choose feeders that are spill proof, place them in very high and outstretched locations (remember, black bears are great climbers), and try and keep the ground below them clean

-Do not leave excess fruit from fruit trees on the ground. The fresh and decomposing fruit is wonderfully sweet (many animals have a sweet tooth), so not only will you have lots of critters coming for an easy snack, you may also end up with drunk ones, which, if they can still see straight, may basically be that one person at the bar who always wants to start a fight.

-Keep pet food in-doors

-NEVER. EVER. EVER. feed or intentionally try to get close to wildlife.They may look cute and cuddly and you may have seen Austin Stevens do it a million times, but remember: He is a professional in animal behavior & handling. You, have watched discovery channel. The animal may start out curious, but then become spooked or uncomfortable and react in an unpredictable manner. Over time if enough people enter it’s space with positive rewards (no physical harm, food, etc) the animal will become desensitized. Then, when it does become a problem, or does not get what it wants, aggressive behavior may happen and then nobody wins!

So, until next time, lets all do our part to help keep these most incredible and beautiful creatures we share our home with happy, healthy, and safe.

I leave you with a lady who wants to help the deer with their road crossings.

(make sure you are not drinking/eating and there is a bathroom near because you might pee from laughing so hard)

CHEERS!