Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Farm Life

My parents were in town for a visit over the weekend, and for a little day trip we headed out to the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site between Johnson City and Fredericksburg, before finishing our afternoon at Pedernales Falls State Park. I don't have all my pictures up yet, but I do have some shots of my favorite surprise of the trip: the Sauer-Beckmann Farmstead.

The Farmstead (which is part of the LBJ State Park) is a "living farm" where interpreters in period clothing plant, cook, clean, and live like it is still 1918. This was particularly effective on our visit, since it was a cool Monday morning and there was only one other tourist in the park. All the farm buildings and the farmhouse are open and filled with turn-of-the century equipment and furnishings. There are no velvet ropes or interpretive signs, which made it really seem like we were intruding on these old timey people as they fried up their sausage in the kitchen (we came around lunchtime), hoed the sweet potatoes in the garden, and scrubbed the floor with homemade lye soap (pictured above). The docents pitched their story just right, and didn't come off too practiced or hokey. The best part of it is that most of the time they just left you alone to explore the farm, take pictures, and watch the chickens, sheep, turkeys, and cows that wandered around loose.

Since I was really only mildly interested in the "Texas Whitehouse" and LBJ's ranch (although they were also pretty neat), this was a lovely surprise. Everyone should go! But try to do it when no one else is around so that you can have your run of the living farm...

[Note: Best thing of all -- the LBJ State Park and Historic Site are 100% free, now that they are letting cars drive through on a self-guided tour of the ranch instead of making you pay to take a tour bus. Although you do have to pay $1 for a guided tour of LBJ's office, the only room in the "Texas Whitehouse" that has been opened since Ladybird's death.]

[Growing set of pictures from the weekend, including the living farm, here.]

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