A New Adventure!

Groupon Queen discovered that we lived near the nation's third largest living history museum, Old Sturbridge Village. This is a village as you would have found it in 1835 New England, and many of the buildings are actually from that period transplanted from one of the various states. Actors/educators are in period dress and conduct themselves in particular professions, so there's a printer, a tinsmith, a potter, etc. This was REALLY cool and I learned a ton! (My understanding of how a grist mill works was informed by Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow and 19th-century mills did not use a rotating millstone of that fashion, if that fashion ever existed. Also, I learned how a sawmill works and a schoolhouse and...and...who the hell can fit 12 people in a house that small?!)

There was also Fife and Drum corps there today playing a variety of music. And some of the early 18th-century muskets are as tall as I am. How the hell could anyone aim with something that large? You'd need a stand to rest the barrel on! (They also had a seven-barrel musket that you might recognize if you've watched the Richard Sharpe miniseries. I don't know if it appears in the novels.)

Inevitably in these places, I end up taking pictures of the placards instead of the actual structures because I want to be able to go back and reference their information later. (I did this for a map at a Greek Fest for the Middle East c. 2nd millenium BC and it was pretty awesome.)

The one I was most enthused about today was the information on the mill. Aside from showing the proper way to turn the millstone (they laid on top of one another like two donuts whereas I had thought one vertical rolling around the other), they also explained how millers kept their business. People brought their grains that needed milling and would pay the "Miller's Toll," 1/16th of the milled grain that the miller could then sell to those people who did not raise their own crops.

I love the phrase "Miller's Toll" and am devoting considerable effort to finding a story that will fit with it. I'll let you know if I come up with anything.