Two Minutes between Paper TowelsApril 6, 2010
Perhaps you were wondering: what was the Curator of Education at the Read House and Gardens doing at 11:45 today? I would hate to leave you in suspense!
Well, at 11:40am I was drying herbs, rosemary to be exact, in the microwave (two minutes on high, between paper towels, hit “start”- and keep an eye on them, wouldn’t want them to catch fire!). We use the herbs for grinding with mortar and pestle with school children for Frontier Delaware, at the Delaware History Museum. As the microwave beeped for the 3rd time it dawned on me, 11:45 was nearly upon me, so I hurriedly explored much more intriguing work going on around me here at the Read House!
At 11:45, Chris, a carpenter (from JS Cornell) working on our Save America’s Treasures exterior restoration project, was busy reinstalling our second jib window in our Back Parlor. How joyous we are to see one of those jib windows back in place, luring us to the garden in this gorgeous weather! A jib window acts as both a window letting in a flood of light and as a door: the middle window slides up, and the bottom window (on a hinge) swings in, providing great space for people to walk out into the garden. Today we do not use the jib windows in this manner, but they are breathtaking to gaze upon nonetheless!
As I walked from the Back Parlor toward our historic Kitchen, picking up the aroma of something besides rosemary, I caught a glimpse of a mason troweling mortar and laying the brickwork for our terrace.
It will be a welcome change to have another access way to the house, as we will be bombarded with thousands of school children this spring, who will undoubtedly march along our brick walkways from our back garden gate and stop at the terrace to discuss their “museum manners”.
In the kitchen I was greeted by several spring camp children, chaperone, and guide on their way to visit the Nursery, they were each discussing the delicious “ginger cakes” they had just nibbled. Judy Austin one of our Read House cooks (interpreting Sylvia Rice today) was retrieving a fresh-baked tray of ginger cakes from the Dutch oven over our hearth. I could hear the dryer running, ah drying napkins that the laundress and children had just washed; they could have been drying on the bushes today in the historic way…
I poked and prodded the last burning log to encourage it to drop to coals and by this time 11:45 had passed. Back to the rosemary, paper towels, and two minutes.
I wonder… what were you doing at 11:45???