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INSIDE THE STEPHENSON HOUSE - August 10, 2005

Hi! Henry the Stephenson House mouse is back again. Well, a lot of projects have been completed around here within the last few months. And, there is a big new one starting, the summer kitchen! Sure 'nuff, the construction of the summer kitchen has already begun. Ol' Henry was happy to see Keith and Jack return here to work. I sure missed them! The kitchen is already taking shape as the two guys work away.
Henry listened when Joe and Sid talked with Jamie and Lynn about the plans for the summer kitchen being built to the south of the porch. It will be a two-story brick building with a big hearth and a brick beehive oven. Now, Ol' Henry knows a hearth contains a cooking fire over which the family meals were cooked. But, a beehive oven was used for baking bread and other goodies and is different looking. Ol' Henry can't figure out how to describe this oven to you; I am just a mouse ya' know! So, it will be a nice surprise for you all to come see later. Henry does know for sure that this summer kitchen is really going to be a cool building! It will be furnished with a table and chairs, workspace and early cooking utensils. The second floor will be like the sparsely furnished living space that had been used by the Stephensons' indentured servants.
The summer kitchen is a very important part of the Stephenson House, as it will be used for many educational and fun programs for all ages. RoxAnn, the director, will probably begin with programs for the younger kids and work up to projects for big people. There is a lot of fun ahead!

Ol' Henry has been "sitting in" on the classes at the archaeological dig as I try to get educated! It sure is fun to watch and learn as "new" artifacts are found. Just the other day a token was found in the dig that presented a question Sid would like answered. The token has printed on it: "good for 5 cents in Decker's Café". If you know anything about a place called Decker's Café please call Sid at 656-9408. Sid would really like to know the years when Decker's Café was in business. If Sid could find the date of Decker's Café it would help him in dating other artifacts found. This dig has been fun for all of us and has educated Henry!
Hey, Cousin Jake came by the other day! The news of "my" great garden has reached Lower Town and Jake came to take a look. So, Ol' Henry gave Cousin Jake a tasting tour of the garden! We both like the sunflower seeds and Ol' Henry knew from listening to Carol F. that these sunflowers with a red center are a rare variety. The yellow finch really like these seeds too! Jake and Henry also sampled the tasty sesame seeds. The seeds planted in "my" garden were harvested from sesame plants that a man named Thomas Jefferson planted in his kitchen garden long ago. He had planted sesame in order to press a salad oil from the seeds. Hmmmm, smart guy!

Ol' Henry heard Carol F. say that Jefferson had planted lots of seeds at his home that is called Monticello. Seeds harvested from Jefferson's Monticello's gardens are still available and Carol F. has used many in "my" garden. The green peppers are also from seeds at Monticello and Henry and Jake know for sure that these peppers are juicy, sweet and tender. And there are lots of them left! A clove like flower called Globe Amaranth was planted by Jefferson on April 2, 1767, at his boyhood home, a place called Shadewell. This Globe Amaranth is blooming right now with magenta and pink flowers that last a long time. One of the gardeners said these are also called a straw flowers.

Then Cousin Jake and I tasted the tomatoes! Carol F. and her group planted several kinds of old-fashioned, like 1800's, tomatoes. Some are little and red and some yellow and pear shaped. There are tomatoes with names like Brandywine, Arkansas Traveller, Burbank and Red Calabash. Sid says the Red Calabash tomatoes are the sweetest of all. Let's just say Cousin Jake and Henry liked all of them a whole lot!
There is also wild flax planted in the garden. Henry learned from listening to Carol F. that this wild flax was discovered by men named Lewis and Clark a long, long time ago. This flower doesn't taste real good, but it sure is pretty! Cousin Jake and Henry loved the garden and we found a lot of things we really liked to eat. We are now waiting to see what the gardeners plant for fall!

Talking about fall - October 2 is the 50/50 Auction at the Stephenson House. Please gather up your old items for the auction and call Jim, 656-8752, or Sid, 656-9408, for pick up. Remember, you get 50% of the bid price or you can donate your 50% to the Stephenson House. Get your items together for Jim and Sid! Then, be sure to come enjoy the auction day as Ahrens and Niemeier donate a full day of auctioneering and fun!
The talk about all the good stuff in the garden has made this guy real hungry. Ol' Henry is going to scamper over to the garden and get some sesame seeds to go with the cheese I have hidden away!

See ya' later,
Henry

 


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