Sunday afternoon afforded local families the opportunity to experience farm life at an earlier time in Saline’s history. The annual Harvest Time included hayrides, farm animals, demonstrations of old-time skills, music by the Saline Fiddlers, a history lesson from the Saline Area Players and more. The event was organized by the Saline Area Historical Society.
Ted Micka, known as “the Barn Doctor” talked to people about barn building and dog training. Micka has restored various structures in the area, such as the Depot Museum caboose and the Rentschler Farm silo. Some of this work was for free.
Though he was originally trained in engineering and atmospheric and oceanographic studies, he has been repairing barns for 25 years. He started repairing houses after working for a number of years at the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF). One day he was asked, “can you do a barn?” and the rest is history.
Local farmer Curtis Drake and some of his family were present to talk about animal husbandry and to introduce city folk to a young calf they brought. The Drakes have about 100 head of cattle and 50 sheep on their farm in Lodi Township.
Drake works with the Rentschler farm museum to provide animals during the summer. This year he brought in three ewes that each had twin lambs. These delighted summer visitors.
Various craftspersons demonstrated once commonplace skills that are today mostly forgotten. Often even the vocabulary has disappeared.
For example, Bob Wittersheim showed how to rive a shake with a froe. This means to slice out thin flat sections of cedar to be used for shingles (shakes) on a roof using a special tool called a froe.
Joe Vigilanti of Manchester demonstrated the lost art of blacksmithing. Dave Jebb spoke about raising bees and about the special properties of honey.
Three sisters Wilma Trachet, Jean Wegner and Elaine Masters demonstrated the art of quilting. Paul Barth showed his axe collection. He spoke of how the axe was once the most common tool sold in America but now they are seldom made here.
Inside the farmhouse, members of the Saline Historical Society told visitors about farm life in the early 1900s.
Children rode on a hay wagon, painted pumpkins and petted farm animals. They were able to participate in some old-time farm chores and games.
The Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic performed their famous fiddle music. In addition, the Saline Area Players presented a play that exposed viewers to what life was like at an earlier time in Saline.
As always, the Harvest Time on Rentschler Farm was fun and educational.