Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Day 1.096: Fire and Ice
We set off this morning for a family day out (the girls are on Spring Break and I have taken a couple of days off work). Although the sun was already shining, it was still cool, we packed coats as well as sun-cream into the car and needed the heater on as we drove into Massachusetts to visit a museum at a Shaker Village. The Shakers originated in Britain and made their first US home near Albany, New York, so we can claim some common-ground with them. We enjoyed finding out about their beliefs and lifestyle and were very impressed with their craftsmanship and ingenuity - a workshop with lathes and band-saws operated from a water-turbine was an engineering highlight, whilst the elegant simplicity of their distinctive oval boxes, flat brooms etc. appealed more widely.
It was quite moving at times to think of people living in community with shared purpose and making such beautiful and practical things. I suspect (along with Albaniana) that had they allowed their adherents to procreate, they might have lasted a little longer.
Our visit was marked by visiting baby animals in the beautiful circular barn, E5N1 breaking my sunglasses, 'milking' the plastic cow (in and out of costume), weaving and marvelling that although we were at times hot (temperatures were near 70 °F in the shade - and there wasn't much of that) there was still ice in the woods and piles of snow near the buildings. The picture above was taken at the end of a very nice walk through the edge of the forest you can see in the background. You can see some more pictures below (click on them to view them at a more leisurely pace).
On the way home we had the air conditioning on in the car. Tonight we may have a frost again. This is a strange time of year.