Come down home to learn how things used to be done

Published 9:59 am Friday, April 11, 2014

COURTLAND—This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Down Home Day, a celebration of the way things were made before electricity was harnessed into homes or modern conveniences were invented.

Sponsored by the Southampton Heritage Village and Agriculture and Forestry Museum, the event takes place from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 12 at 26135 Heritage Lane in Courtland. Activities and demonstrations are planned with families in mind.

Lynda Updike said she wants to draw attention to several items they might enjoy.

For example, a sawmill dating to the 1920s will be set up to cut pine logs.

Also, visitors can try their hands at crosscutting a log with just a saw.

“People who do this realize how convenient a chainsaw is,” she said with a chuckle.

Speaking of mills, a grist mill will grind cornmeal, and cornbread will be fried for people to eat.

“The mule demonstration is always a crowd-pleaser,” said Updike. She explained that Blair Bunn will show people how he handles the mules and will hitch them to a cart or wagon.

A blacksmith guild and broom makers will show their skills as well.

Her husband, Glenn, will shear a sheep.

“It’s always fascinating to the spectators. They get to feel the lanolin that’s in the wool. Everyone has the softest hands afterward,” Updike said. “The sheep are awfully glad, especially if it’s warm.”

She might even bring in a black sheep.

Either way, children often want some of the wool for show-and-tell sessions at their schools.

Much of the wool can be spun into yarn.

“We don’t waste anything,” said Updike.

“All generations can learn how things were done the old-fashioned way,” she added.

The Down Home Day has long been a popular attraction — at one time 750 people were counted. Last year’s attendance was about 350 people, but that was due to windy and chilly weather.

“We’re hoping for a better day. The forecast sounds like 71 and sunny skies,” Updike said.

Children can find out how they get the milk for their cereal by milking Mattie the plastic cow. Though in the case, water will be substituted.

“Kids line up to milk her,” she said.

Another attraction for youngsters is the petting zoo, which Updike said is “always of interest to children.”

The Updikes bring small farm animals, such as nanny goats and their offspring.

A baby calf will be fed from a bottle.

“The kids will play, leave and half-an-hour later be back in,” she added.

Admission is $4 for adults, $1 for school-aged children and free for pre-schoolers.

Hot dogs will be cooked on a grill and then sold.

Popcorn will be another concession.

To find out more information, call Updike at 654-6785 or