July 21 • 10:06 PM

Old-fashioned fun for all at Heritage Harvest Days

Steven Power readies corn for steaming while Eastern Michigan Collector Bud Robinson looks on. The old-fashioned steamer was among much antique equipment on display at Heritage Harvest Days at Seven Ponds. photo by Catherine Brakefield.

September 19, 2007
DRYDEN — Even though the crops were in, that didn't mean the work was over, as witnessed by how hard exhibitors had to work just to cook an ear of corn.

Steven Power holds up an ear that was freshly steamed the old fashioned way during Heritage Harvest Days.

The old black smokestack spiraled smoke into the aqua blue sky over Seven Ponds Nature center during the weekend like clockwork, steaming five dozen ears of corn in just seven minutes. Still, this 1906 steam engine's earlier history is unknown to Eastern Michigan Collector Bud Robinson who refurbished it in 1985.

"I bought it from a guy who used it to heat water to wash his logs off in the winter before sawing," Robinson says. "Now we use it to cook corn."

Adults and children took a giant leap back into history, before the time of electricity, the automobile and television.

Jill Moore demonstrated one of the first vacuum cleaners and put her knuckles to the washboard on this hands-on display of how housewives used to wash and iron clothes back in the 1800s.

Children learned, too, where the fabric for those clothes originated from.

Deb Caryl makes her living by shearing sheep and explained to the public that she and the dentist profession have a lot in common.

"They (clients) like to see me come and like to see me go," Caryl grins.

Demonstrating her skill with the shears, her four-month-old lamb is about to get her first haircut.

"Though she moves around a little, our lambs are a lot better than your kid is with their first hair cut," Caryl says.

Where the wool goes from there was explained in the next booth, where spinners worked fervently.

"I just sit here and spin my wheels," Kay Thorne says with a laugh.

"We're friends of the fleece on the hoof," says spinner Mary Duncan, "and I've done this for over 28 years."

Then it was off to the candle-making room with staff member Layne Hillman, who wanted to make sure no one was in the dark on the long, cold winter nights.

Twelve-year-old Cali Agudelo grasped her thin string and looked into the hot wax skeptically, but the end result was the same as the other boys and girls hovering over their boiling wax and water—a beautiful candle.

The day wasn't complete until you visited every arts and craft tent, rode on a horse-drawn wagon and had your face painted.

'Wowie' the clown was on hand to fulfill every child's fantasy.

Twelve-year-old Jacob Williams from Burton goes to Genesee Christian School and chose today to try on his Halloween face. Nine-year-old Hunter Wilson goes to Mayville School and is ready for Cinderella's Ball.

Heritage Harvest Days is a major fund-raising event at Dryden's Seven Ponds Nature Center and they are always seeking more demonstrations, volunteers and sponsors. Heritage Harvest Days at Seven Ponds Nature Center once again reminded visitors that in the not so distant past, just because the crops were in it didn't mean the work was over.

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