Sunday, April 7, 2013

Field Trip: Sauer Beckman Living History Farm

In February,
one of the homeschool groups we are a part of
took a field trip to the 
Sauer Beckman
Living History Farm
located within
Lyndon B. Johnson
State Park & Historic Site

What in the world is a
"living history farm"?
You ask...

It is a farm that is totally self sustaining.
They use no electricity,
they buy nothing from the store,
their "running water"
comes from a well.
They grow their own food
(including meat)
live daily life as if they lived back 
when the farm was occupied 
from 1869-1900s

Here is a little background about the farmstead:

The Sauer-Beckmann Farmstead
Located east of the visitor center and off the nature trail, is a living history farm. Life on the farmstead is presented as it was in 1918. Park interpreters wear period clothing, do the farm and household chores as they were done at that time, and also conduct tours for the visitors.
The Sauer-Beckmann Farm - Rural Life, 1900-1918
When visitors can smell lunch being cooked on a wood-burning stove, they are close to the Sauer-Beckmann Living Farm! Here, costumed interpreters carry out the day-to-day activities of a turn-of-the-century Texas-German farm family. Some chores are seasonal, such as canning and butchering. Farm animals, however, must be cared for on a daily basis, including activities like feeding, milking, gathering eggs and slopping the hogs. Also, the house is cleaned, meals are cooked, butter is churned and cheese is made. Visitors may see the "family" scrubbing the floors with homemade lye soap, or plowing the garden with a team of horses.
The setting for the present-day living history activities is an authentic Hill Country farm. Johann and Christine Sauer, along with their four children, settled this land in 1869. Their family prospered and grew and, by 1885, several stone buildings were built near the original rock and log cabins. Eventually, the Sauers had 10 children. One of those, Augusta Sauer Lindig, served as midwife at the birth of President Johnson.
The Beckmann family acquired the property in 1900. A good cotton crop in 1915 allowed Emil and Emma Beckmann to build a new barn, to add a frame room onto the old rock structure, and to construct porches connecting to a lovely Victorian house covered with fashionable pressed tin. In 1966, Edna Beckmann Hightower sold the site to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Archeological surveying and restoration work was undertaken and the farm opened to the public in 1975. Since then, time has stood still and the farm remains forever a small piece of Texas as it was at the beginning of the 20th century. 

So here is what we got to see:

When we first arrived, 
we got the pleasure of meeting the newest members of the 
Born just the day before!!
How exciting!?!?!

These pigs will be raised and later used for meat 
on the farm to feed the workers.
No one "lives" on the farm,
but the people who run it,
show up in period attire
"live daily life" 

Checking out the pigs...
this was J's favorite part...
mine too!  

 And the youngest 3 playing in the rocks...

Their resident cow...
well one of them.
This is the baby...

Then we got to see what it was like 
to live way back then!

This little contraption this 
child is wearing,
was a way for them to bring
more than two buckets of water
back from the river or well
at a time.

This room we are all in,
was the ENTIRE inside of the 
original structure on the grounds.
This is the original structure, 
but over the years,
rooms were added on...

And I believe there was a family of 6 living in here...
um, no thanks!

This little funny object that Mr. T is playing with,
was their version of a ball...
an animal bladder!
Dried and "blown up".
I can't remember if it was a cow's or a pig's
but in the grand scheme of things...
does it REALLY matter??

But, hey,
you use whatcha got I suppose...

This was their "kitchen"
and dinner table.

This is one of the single room additions that were
made on the house over the years.
It now houses a lot of the canned veggies
that the farm grows and puts up for the winter.

This is how they get water up from the well...
via a windmill pump!
And the neat thing is...
they can turn it on and off...
well, they can put the breaks on 
and keep it from spinning.

This is the stove they cooked on 100 years ago,
and it is works and it being used
almost every day
to make lunch for the farm workers.

I love that wood burning stove!!!
How neat is that thing?

As I said earlier,
their is no electricity on the farm...
so they use oil lamps 
for their light.

She lit one for us...

Any guesses as to why there is a plate on the wall behind the lamp?
It is to reflect as much light back into the room as possible!

I loved these pans in the kitchen too. 

 These, my friends,
are crushed up egg shells.
Why in the world would they have crushed up egg shells?
Because they feed them to the chicken.
They do what?
they feed them to the chickens.
It helps them to produce stronger egg shells.
J thought that was very neat!

Now, when we put eggs in anything and he helps me 
crack them,
he will comment that he wishes we had a chicken,
so we could crush up the eggs and feed them to
our chickens!

Here are the farms chickens...
luckily the kids didn't talk me
into taking any home...
not that the farm would have let us...

But I am not sure they would have missed any
if one happened to have wandered off...

I let R go around with the older group...
so I snuck in a snapped a couple of
pictures of him
with the "big kids"...

Here they are in the "new house" that was built.
They are learning how the guys would
use a leather belt or strap to sharpen their razors.

 I loved this light fixture in the new house...
it too was a oil lamp...
and you lowered it
but pulling on the ring at the very bottom.
Then it was lit and pushed back up to the ceiling.

This my friends is the laundry room!
Again - 
no thanks!

And we all know what this puppy is...
They actually had pee pots under their beds 
so if they had to go in the middle of the night,
they didn't have to go outside.

I say no thanks, 
but I swear life was simpler and easier back then,
and I honestly think I would have been just fine!

We went and had lunch at an attached park area,
and saw a few of these long horns...
but this is as close as I could get
and I didn't take my bigger lens with me...

After we had lunch,
we drove across the river to the 
other side of the state park...
the presidental property of 
Lyndon B. Johnson!

You could drive through the property
and the cows were wandering around free.

there was an airstrip in the middle of the property!
Air Force One would land
on the property,
taxi up to the on-site hanger
and President Johnson 
would waltz right off of the plane
straight to his front door.
(hello John Travolta!)

This was the road into the property
and this was BY FAR
the prettiest part of the entire trip!

It was quite a drive for us,
but we enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it 
to anyone in the area!
It was a fun day trip!!

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