Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tourism Talk

July 31

School Aged Summer Reading Club

  • Venue: Dutton Library
  • Time: 1:30PM to 2:30PM

Aug 1

Tub Daze In Port Burwell
Weekend family fun! Activities include beach volleyball, swimming, boating, fishing, great food and music. Visit the Marine Museum, Lighthouse and HMCS Ojibwa sub. 

  • Venue: Port Burwell East Beach
  • Dates: August 1st to August 3rd

Aug 3

Backus Page House
Sunday Summer Tea. $10 for tea, baked goods and a guided tour of the museum. 

  • Venue: Backus Page House Museum
  • Time: 1PM to 4PM
  • Cost: $10
Port Glasgow Yacht Club's Annual Fish Fry and Fireworks 
The day starts off with a family fish fry put on by West Elgin volunteer groups($15; over 600 served annually). Featuring live entertainment by Port Authority, and fireworks on the beach at dusk
  • Time: 4:30PM to 10:00PM
  • Venue: Port Glasgow Yacht Club and Marina, 8536 Haven's Lake Road
  • Cost: $15

The Shoreline Run 9K
Run on the shore, in the water, in the clay, any way you can for 9KM. Park and register at Little Beach (9:20 to 9:40). Participants will walk down the West Pier after and start by the West Breakwater at 10AM. This workout will be hard on your core. Meet at GT's after to award the cup to the winning female and prize for the winning male.
  • Host: Sport In Port and Run For Your Life
  • Venue: Little Beach, Port Stanley 

Aug 4

Savour The Flavour Boot Camp: A Culinary Adventure
Connects kids with the local food community in a hands on, meaningful and fun way. It brings to ice the what, why and how about the food we eat exploring the realm of food, with all its possibilities while building real culinary skills.

  • Venue: The Arts and Cookery Bank
  • Address: 242 Graham Road, West Lorne
  • Contact: 519-768-9986
Aug 5

Baby and Me Story Time

  • Venue: Dutton Library
  • Time: 10:30AM to 11:00AM

Aug 6

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Memorial Lantern-Floating
Sponsored by the Society of Friends (Quakers) in Sparta, the lantern-floating is a peaceful yet powerful way to remember all those who perished from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. This is a free event, but donations are welcome to cover the cost of the event.

  • Time: Potluck 6:00PM to 7:00PM
  • Venue: Pinafore Park, 95 Elm Street, St Thomas 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Catching Up With Catie!

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

This past week, I have been working on getting our presenters for day camp and have been successful with most.  We are very excited to have them join us and our campers to increase our learning.  We will have Stacie Littlejohn teach rug-hooking, Marg Hulls will be leading us in a nature walk on the grounds and we will be having a presentation on the aboriginals that were present in this area before the settlers came.  Angela has gone shopping for final supplies and Kelsey and I will be going over last minute details this week to make sure everything is all ready J

We also had the pleasure this weekend of having a reunion here on the grounds in which Iris Page was present.  I was not working this past Saturday so I unfortunately missed meeting her and all of her wonderful stories, but she is supposed to be visiting us again soon and I hope to be here when that happens.  I love learning more about the house from a primary source!

This past Sunday’s tea was a busy one.  We had a group of seniors visit us from Longworth in London and they were a great bunch.  Lots of stories and memories shared with us of their childhoods and items that they recognized in the museum.  Overall, they said that they had a lovely time and made it into the bus just before it rained.  We also had a mother and daughter visit us for tea from England, which was exciting and Kelsey gave a tour last week to a 99 year old woman who climbed our stairs, up and down, better than we can!  It was a pleasure to meet someone of so many years. 

Lastly, watermelon update!  Our watermelon has grown quite a bit, thanks to the rain and sunshine that we have had recently.  We are looking forward to it growing nice and big so that we can have a delicious, juicy treat soon.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Toolbox Tuesdays - The Adze

 The Adze

        The idea of a shape tool with it's blade at a right angle to the handle is most ancient. The earliest version of adze had a non-removable head and had to be sharpened with whetstone*, later versions had removable heads making it possible to sharpen the bevel edge with a grindstone. The adze was intended for beams that would be exposed because the adze would leave a smooth effect on the beam compared to a broad axe which would leave a ripple effect. There are a few different types of adze; carpenter's adze, shipwright's adze (which had a spur or nail punch), gutter adze (which is defined by the lipped and round blade) and finally the cooper's adze (which is a smaller version of the gutter adze). The Carpenter's Adze, Shipwright's Adze and the Cooper Adze is an implement we have here at the Backus-Page House Museum barn exhibit. The Cooper's Adze was used to make bowls or canoes by scooping out the inside or trees or burls*.
*whetstone: also called sharpening stones or water stones  were used to grind and hone the edges of steel tools and implements.
*burls: wartlike bumps on tree trunks.

Carpenter's Adze 

Shipwright's Adze 

*Come out the to the Heritage Farm Show at the Backus-Page House Museum September 13th and 14th to see our antique Cooper's Adze and all the other farm implements featured on our Toolbox Tuesdays blog posts. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Media Monday

Hello Everyone! 

This weeks Media Monday post focuses on the videos we have collected on our tablets so far this summer. Monthly we have been adding a variety of videos demonstrating or explaining various aspects of the museum. Catie has generously volunteered to be our star in many of the videos and Kelsey, Melanie and I have taken turns being either the camera man or the narrator. We have had almost too much fun making the videos… as well as some very, very funny bloopers. So far we have videos of using some heritage toys that we sell in the gift shop, demonstrating the original doorbell that still works on the museum, explaining the rope beds and also some of the antique toys and tools throughout the house. Catie has created an extensive list of other areas of the house and grounds that we can focus on in our upcoming videos. Some aspects that I am very excited about is making butter, quill writing and candle making. We recently acquired a number of tablets that will be displayed throughout the museum. These tablets are where visitors can view our videos and understand more about some of the more interesting objects in the museum. We are also planning on adding a compilation of all the videos onto our YouTube channel - therefore visitors can view the videos at their own convenience as well. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Behind the Scenes Sunday

A few maintenance projects got checked off the to do list on Saturday.  A hay door was added to the east end of the barn on the upper level which will give the exhibit additional light.  Visitors can have a tour of both the barn exhibit and the house for one admission price every Tuesday - Friday until the end of August.  Martin, Rob, Don, and John also fixed the parking lot fence, a deck board and a handrail.  There are always building maintenance jobs to do, so if you are handy and have some time to spare please let me know. 

Heritage Farm Show (September 13-14) plans are moving along at a rapid pace.  Unfortunately this seems to be the year that steam engines are getting their inspections and many groups aren't getting certified.  This means that our usual steam engine and two others I've tried to book are unavailable, so we will not have a working steam engine at the show.  We will have the threshing machine on site, but only as a static display.  We're all disappointed, but the cost of keeping those steam engine boilers in tip top shape is very high, so I understand why the owners and operators are retiring them.

A new Farm Show feature is the travelling exhibit of dairy artefacts from the GayLea Dairy Museum.  We are also expanding our kids zone with a Kids Quarter Carnival.  Mr. Cool's Ice Cream has just registered so you'll be able to purchase Shaw's Ice Cream to go with your pie, purchased from Lawrence Station Hall Pie Ladies.  If you have equipment to display or want to be a vendor, visit our website for the registration form.  Stay tuned for more farm show details. 

I baked Tea Cake to serve at this afternoon's Sunday Tea in the Parlour.  We are fully booked at 1pm with a seniors group from London, so please come out between 2-4pm.  $10/person for tea, baked goods, and museum tour. 

Angela Bobier
Cultural Manager

Friday, July 25, 2014

Foodie Friday (on Saturday)- Almond Tarts

Almond Tarts
A recipe from 1836
  • 1/2 pound shelled sweet almonds
  • 3 ounces shelled bitter almonds
  • rose- water
  • 1/4 pound of loaf sugar powdered
  • 1/2 lemon
  • fine paste
  1. Blanch almonds. Beat them, a few at a time, in a mortar, mixing well. Add rose-water (a little at a time). When done, mix in the loaf sugar, the juice and grated peel of half a lemon.
  2. Have some fine paste ready. Cut it into circular pieces about the size and thickness of a dollar. Put almond mixture into each piece of paste, heaping it up in the middle. Cover with lids and crimp the edges very neatly.
  3. Bake for about half an hour. Grate sugar over them when done.
Kelsey Conway
Backus-Page House Museum

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tourism Talk

July 25, 2014

Clovermead's Bee Beard Competition
Welcoming competitors from across the globe. $2500 is donated to the champion's favourite charity, $2000 to the Crowd Favourite's charity of choice, and a $500 Consolation Prize to the other two contestant's chosen charities 

  • Time: 7PM
  • Tickets: $12 per person, groups of 5+ will receive $1 off each admission
  • Venue: Clovermead Bees and Honey Adventure Farm, 11302 Imperial Road, Aylmer
  • Website:

Day Out With Thomas
Day Out With Thomas provides and opportunity for kids to take a 25 minute ride with their favourite full size tank engine, meet the railway controller Sir Topham Hatt, have fun in Imagination Station and much more.

  • Time: 8AM
  • Tickets: Available by calling 1-888-222-6608
  • Venue: St. Thomas Elgin Memorial Centre, 80 Wilson Avenue
  • Contact: Dawn, 519-637-6284
Family and Me Story Time
  • Venue: Dutton Library
  • Time: 10:30AM to 11:30AM

July 26, 2014

Rural Routes Public Market 
show cases local businesses and independent artists 

  • Time: 9AM to 1PM
  • Venue: Sons of Scotland Park
  • Contact: Kate, 226-378-3896

July 27, 2014

Backus Page House Museum

  • Summer Sunday Tea
  • Includes tea, baked goods and a guided tour
  • Price: $10.00 a person
  • Time: 1PM to 4PM
  • Venue: Backus Page House Museum

July 28, 2014

Savour The Flavour Boot Camp: A Culinary Adventure
The boot camp connects kids with the local food community in a hands-on, meaningful and fun way. It brings to life the what, why and how about the food we eat exploring the realm of food, with all its possibilities while building real culinary skills.

  • Venue: The Arts & Cookery Bank, 242 Graham Road, West Lorne
  • Contact: 519-768-9986
  • Website:
Lego Mondays
  • Venue: Dutton Library 
  • Time: 1:30PM to 2:30PM

Just a Reminder :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Catching Up With Catie!

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

This past week we were missing two of our amigos, Sarah and Kelsey, as they were enjoying a week at the cottage, but Mel and I survived J  We finished weeding the orchard garden and after 8 wheelbarrow trips of weeds later, it looks wonderful! We actually have a tiny little watermelon on one of the vines and Mel had the great idea to track its progress, so below is the first picture of it and we will see how it grows.

We also acquired a little animal friend this past week, that was enjoying our beats in the kitchen garden.  He/she is a little skunk and we named him/her Simon Flower Pepe because we couldn’t decide on a name.  He’s really cute, but we put the wire fences up to keep any other critters away from our veggies. 

Our bridge on the trail is now fixed and we thank the very nice man from MNR very much for doing so for us.  Therefore, the trail is completely back up and running.  Melanie also made a few exhibits for the residents and staff at the Bobier Villa, regarding the history of St. Peter’s Church and one to do with information from the two store ledgers that we have in our collection and prices of general store products during the 19th century.

Unfortunately, we are not running day camp this week, as all of the interest was for the August session, but that just means that there will be a good group in August.  We are getting pretty excited for the adventures we are going to have!  This week will be filled with video-making on our part instead, which I am really looking forward to, because when making a few test videos, we were laughing lots and having fun.  Stay tuned! 

Enjoy your week and try to stay cool!  Also keep checking back for updates on our watermelons growth J


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Toolbox Tuesday - Yoke


         A yoke is a wooden beam used between a pair of oxen or sometimes other animals (horses, mules, donkeys etc.) to enable them to pull together on a load when working in pairs. The yoke pictured above is called a neck yoke because the large beam sits on top of the neck with two bows that come down around the neck.This type of yoke requires the animal to push with their shoulders, neck and chest. Oxen were used across early Canadian history for breaking land, logging and transportation. Yokes needed to be fitted to each individual oxen to maximize the comfort for the animal which in turn produced a harder working oxen. Ill-fitted yokes could create sore spots and even open wounds that could potentially be very harmful. Oxen were more popular than horses because they could live off the land and could be turned into food when they became too old for working.  Overall, oxen's had a lower cost when it came to their upkeep. Eventually they were replaced by horses and then horse were replaced by machinery.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Media Mondays!

                Happy Monday everyone. This week we are discussing our new visitor survey research that we are conducting this year. We have a variety of visitor surveys in a variety of formats - all directed to making you experience here at Backus-Page House Museum a positive one! 
               Firstly, when you come to visit the museum your tour guide will ask you some basic information for our visitor research. That information is recorded on our white tour cards. We ask questions like age, address or postal code so that we can better gauge the demographic that we are connecting with here at the museum. Other important research questions include: how you heard about the museum or if any technology was utilized during your visit.
              Secondly, we have integrated our survey into a tablet that focuses on the tour of the museum in general. The survey is completely electronic, and created by use of the "Loop Survey App." The questions are customized for our museum and ask you to rate, comment on the quality and give us comments or suggestions. Questions include: rating your overall experience, rating the exhibit, and asking if your tour guide was clear and informative. These visitor surveys are intended to help us better serve our visitors here at the museum.
              Lastly, we have added the same survey to our website so that visitors can access it at their leisure. All results are confidential, unless you wish to include your contact information. The results are emailed directly to the museum and we make changes based on your comments and suggestions.
Overall, visitor surveys and visitor research are some of the many ways we are constantly improving our service here at the Backus-Page House Museum, so please fill one out on your next visit!

                                                Example of the visitor survey on the tablet!
by Sarah Johnston

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Behind The Scenes Sundays

Things staff at Backus-Page House Museum say: "Let's name him Simon Flower Pepe."

This past week we have a very cute park resident hanging around and eating from the kitchen garden.  We had to put up the fences to keep out our new friend.  He (or she) casually walks away and hides under the deck of the carriage house whenever he sees one of us.  So if you visit the museum, be on the lookout for our skunk.  We're trying to get his picture, but he seems to be camera shy. 

The board held their monthly meeting on Thursday and spent about 45 minutes brain storming.  By January, we want to have a five year plan to present to the membership.  It's important to know where we are headed and set goals for the future of Backus-Page.  We focussed on ideas regarding Membership and Donors, Events and Programming, plus Large Projects.  I am very excited with the contributions of volunteers and staff, and encourage you to leave comments on this post with your thoughts.  I will take all ideas to the next board meeting, so tell us what you want to see at Backus-Page House Museum from now until 2019. 

It's family reunion time, so we've had many visitors asking about family records and resources in our records.  We have two reunions booked so far this summer to be held on the museum grounds.  One was held today which is why this post is late as it was my husband's family and we were hosting the event.  It was the 50th Annual Bobier Reunion!!  We were excited to have many attendees who had not been out in years.  The compliments on the Backus-Page grounds, the atmosphere, and the nearness to St. Peter's cemetery, where many ancestors are buried were numerous.  Next Saturday another reunion on site and I hope they have as great an afternoon as we did.  I look forward to meeting them all and touring them around the interior of the museum. 

The internet is still not working properly, as the nearest tower is having issues.  We are able to send and receive emails, but it's hit and miss on when we can and when we can't and how long it takes.  Please have patience if you send us something or we are trying to send you something.  Until next week, I wish you all the best.

Angela Bobier, Cultural Manager

Friday, July 18, 2014

Foodie Friday- Apple Pudding

Apple Pudding
  • 1 1/2 pounds of flour
  • 6 ounces of suet (fat) chopped finely
  • 2 ounces of peeled apples
  • 4 ounces of sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  1. Mix the flour, suet and salt with the water into a firm paste. Roll this out on a surface that flour has been shaken over.
  2. Line a greased cloth with the rolled out paste. Fill up the hallow part of the paste with the peeled apples, gather up the sides of the paste and twist them together.
  3. Tie up the pudding in the cloth and boil it in plenty of water for 2 hours. Turn out of the cloth. Cut a round piece out of the top and stir in the sugar.
Kelsey Conway
Backus Page House Museum

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Catching Up WIth Catie!

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

I hope you all had a relaxing and enjoyable week J  This past week here at the museum was a wee bit exciting at times.  We spent an afternoon trying to kill a hornet that was in the carriage house and Sarah was trying to spray it with bleach and water so we could stun it to kill it, but she ended up getting bleach on other things, such as my shorts and sweater.  We all laughed very hard!  We have a bunch of fun and laugh lots out here.  For example, we were filming videos for the website and having too much fun doing it.  We can’t wait for you all to see them!

We also walked the trail and it is all cleaned up and ready for our hikers, however the one bridge still needs to be fixed.  We are working on getting this done ASAP J  Mel and I are also back weeding today, the orchard garden this time.  There are some monster weeds in there and the squash is taking over the poor onions.  There is a before and after picture below.

Lastly, I experienced my first tea this past Sunday.  We were a happening place Sunday afternoon, between tours and tea-goers, which is great to see and be a part of. 
Have a great week :)


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Toolbox Tuesday - Sheep Shears

Hand Shears

Shearing refers to the cutting or shaving of the wool off a sheep. This does not hurt the animal, it is just like getting a hair cut. Sheep should be sheared at least once a year or they may become very stressed and uncomfortable. Today the majority of sheep are sheared with electric shears, although up until the beginning of the 20th century farmers would manually shear their sheep using hand shears (pictured above). Hand shears consist of two blades arranged similar to scissors except the hinge is at the furthest end from the point (not in the middle). Hand shears leave more wool on the sheep compared to the more modern electric shears. This would be beneficial for farmers who live in colder climates as freshly sheared sheep need more feed to help maintain their body heat. The wool taken from the sheep would then be cleaned, spun and made into a number of different items around the home including clothing and blankets.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Media Mondays

Happy Monday Everyone!

            Today's Media Monday post will focus on the audio and visual initiatives that the museum is tackling this year so that we can better serve our museum audience. We fortunately have the opportunity to have 5 tablets that will be placed throughout the museum. On these tablets I have just finished creating presentations that describe each room in the museum and point out specific items in each room - much like a tour guide would. These tablet presentations are perfect for self-guided tours or for those with hearing disabilities - these guests may utilize the tablets at their leisure and read along as their tour moves from room to room. 
           We have noticed this season that many people prefer to discover the museum at their own pace and would rather tour the house alone. However, when these people have questions about the objects or collections, there is no one there to answer them. Therefore, alongside the use of the self-guided tablets, I have also created self-tour booklets that guests can use while they travel throughout the house. These booklets are meant for guests to keep as a souvenir and can be referenced when they have questions. Altogether - this season we are moving forward to a more accessible and inclusive environment here at the Backus-Page House Museum.

by Sarah Johnston

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Behind the Scenes Sunday 3

Things Backus-Page House Museum staff were saying this week: "Does your computer have internet?  Nope.  (insert huge sigh here)"

The bane of my existence this week was dodgy internet.  Even when we could connect to it, it was so slow it took me over 3 hours to send one email.  They tell me there is an issue at the closest tower so if you send us an email or are expecting one from us, please have patience.  We didn't realize how many tasks require use of the internet until we lost it.  We couldn't even take credit card payments since it requires Wi-Fi.  Let's hope our technological issues are solved by Tuesday morning when we're back in the office. 

New to our collection this week is a Bible belonging to Robert Stevenson of Tyrconnell dated 1876.  It contains a pressed flower, marriage license to Sarah M. Crane and handwritten listings of the family births and deaths.  This item, along with a 1904 W.R.A. medal was donated by Jennifer (Stevenson) Worth, the great great granddaughter of Robert.  Jenny and I went through school together and her mother, Mary Jane Stevenson, volunteered with the Tyrconnell Heritage Society in the early days of the society.  Jenny recalls coming to the Backus-Page House with her Mom before all the renovations and being told to wear her work clothes.  Jenny was so excited to see the renovations complete and how we've furnished the rooms and maintained the grounds.  I was glad for the quick visit to catch up.    

Adding an item into our collection (called an accession) involves many steps.  When the item arrives, a Gift Form is filled out listing all the items being donated and the museum staff person and the donor sign the form, giving ownership to the Backus-Page House Museum.  I try to get as much information from the donor about their item(s) such as who it belonged to, where did they get it, how was it used and anything else they can tell me.  The next step is for me to decide whether the item will be added to our permanent or educational collection.  Educational means it can be handled and demonstrated and permanent means that it can be seen, but not handled. 

With the Stevenson Bible, I took the time to transcribe all the handwritten births and deaths for our records and for anyone interested in the genealogical information.  This way we can use or provide the information without opening the actual Bible.  I also included a copy of my transcriptions with a thank you letter to Jenny, similar to the letters we send to each and every donor. 

Every item in our collection has a worksheet for it with such information as measurements, description, history, maker, and most importantly what it's assigned accession number will be and where on the item that number is written.  The funniest description I have seen on one of our worksheets says "like the one the Honey Nut Cheerios Bee carries".  It's a desciption for a honey dipper!!   

The worksheet, gift form, and any other documentation pertaining to the artefact are filed in the current year's binder in order of accession number.  The accession number is written onto the item itself in an inconspicuous location.  Research is done to assign a monetary value to the item so we know the amount for the donor's charitable tax receipt.  These values are approved at the monthly board meeting by board motion and vote.   

Onto the computerized collection records: A photograph is taken and the computer file of the photograph is given the accession number as it's name, making it very easy to find.  The artefact is entered into the Collection Registry for the current year using only it's accession number, name of the item, and the donor's name.  All information on the worksheet is entered into the Master Card Catalogue database plus a digital scan of the gift form and photograph(s).  At this time I decide where the artefact will be placed whether that is inside the museum, the barn, the collection storage room, or for paper documents or photographs, the accessions filing cabinet in my office.  The location is an integral part of the Master Card Catalogue database.  

Once the item is in it's assigned location that ends the accessions process.  Charitable tax receipts are mailed out each February to our donors.  I hope this quick description gives you an idea of what happens after you donate something to us for the collection.  Moving an item through this process can take anywhere from an hour to all day if we have trouble finding information. 

Leave a comment below about other behind the scenes museum work or park management you would be interested in reading about and share all our posts on your social media accounts.  Thank you.

Don't forget Sunday Summer Teas 1-4pm in July and August.  $10 per person includes tea, baked goods in the parlour and a tour of the museum. 

Angela Bobier, Cultural Manager

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tourism Talk

Dutton Library
July 10
  • School Aged Summer Reading Club  
  • 1:30PM to 2:30PM
July 11
  • Family and Me Story Time
  • 10:30AM to 11:30AM
July 14
  • Lego Mondays
  • 1:30PM to 2:30PM
July 15
  • Family and Me Story Time
  • 10:30AM to 11:30AM

Cactus, Cattle and Cowboys-
  • At the Rodney Fairgrounds on July 12
  • Opens at 9AM
  • Food and vendors, family events, and petting zoo
  • 12PM High Noon Horse Parade
  • Cattle and Horse breed displays, horse demos, wagon rides and trail rides- BYOH (bring your own horse)
Backus Page House Museum
  • Summer Sunday Tea
  • 1:00PM to 4:00PM
  • $10.00 a person
  • Includes tea, baked goods and a guided tour of the museum

Written By: Alex Goos

Service Saturday- David Ford

This weeks service saturday features David Ford, from Wallacetown. David was hired in March as the part-time book keeper for the museum. He started volunteering after he was hired. The first event that David volunteered at was the War of 1812 event, held in May. He then volunteered his time helping organize and run the Strawberry Social and the summer fundraiser, Backus-Bucks. 
David enjoys all aspects of the museum, he particularly enjoys the local history involved. He also admires the beautiful atmosphere at the Backus-Page House Museum, along with the park environment and history of the area. 

Thank- you David for all of the hard work you do for the museum! 

Kelsey Conway
Backus-Page House Museum 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Foodie Friday- Rice Waffles

Rice Waffles
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1 1/2 cup of flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 ounces melted butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten well
  • Milk
  1. Boil the rice until quite soft, mix with it the flour, salt, melted butter, eggs, and as much milk as will make it a thick batter.
  2. Beat lightly and bake in waffle irons.
Kelsey Conway
Backus Page House Museum 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Catching Up With Catie!

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Last week was the first week that we opened the barn for tours of our extensive antique tool collection.  We will be doing this every Tuesday to Friday and calling it “Homestead Days.”  So if you haven’t had the pleasure of viewing all of the neat tools that we have on display, come on out J  Kelsey, Mel and I also did another thorough weeding of the vegetable garden near the house and it looks so good!  We are very proud!  Mel has made the goal to go into the gardens every day to keep up with the weeds and keep them looking great.  Thanks Mel! 

Kelsey and I have been working on boards for day camp as well.  There is a board designated for each day/theme and we have been having fun painting to decorate them.  The object of them is to introduce the theme for the day, but each child will have their name on the shape of an object for that day and we will take attendance by having them stick their name tag onto the day’s board, into the shaped space that corresponds.  For example, on “Neutral Indians” day, their names will be on arrowheads and they will put their arrowhead onto the board, on the outline of an arrowhead that is already on the board.  There is a picture of a few of our boards below J

Lastly, this past Sunday was the first of our summer teas here at the museum!  We got the parlour ready last week and all of the fine china is out and ready to serve our guests.  Teas are every Sunday from 1-4 pm and are $10 a person, which includes tea, treats and a tour.  We hope to see your lovely faces soon!  Have a wonderful week.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Toolbox Tuesday- Carpenter's Hand Screw Clamp

Carpenter’s Hand Screw Clamp
A hand-screw clamp Carpentry. is a clamp having two wooden jaws that are adjusted by two long screws.  A clamp is a fastening device to hold or secure objects tightly together to prevent movement or separation through the application of inward pressure. In the United Kingdom and Australia, the term cramp is often used instead when the tool is for temporary use for positioning components during construction and woodworking;  There is historical evidence that clamps made of iron and or wood have been used since at least the 17th century.  Both wooden and wood-and-steel designs can be loosened or tightened by gripping them with both hands, a handle in each hand, and rotating the clamp. A clockwise rotation tightens the clamp.  A hand-screw clamp, like that pictured above, can be used when you do not want to mar the surface of the object you are clamping or when you are working with odd shapes. Choose a hand-screw clamp when working with fabric, wood and plastic, as well.  This tool is quite easy to use; you simply open the jaws of your hand-screw clamp and position it on either side of the object you want to clamp. Keep the clamp and object parallel.  Use both of your hands to tighten each of the clamp's screws. Apply equal pressure to both screws. Keep the vise jaws parallel to the edges of the clamped object to ensure it is held equally by both wooden jaws of the clamp.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Media Mondays!

July QR Codes

This month we have chosen 5 special objects throughout the museum that are 
showcasing our new QR codes! We chose these objects because they are mysterious to most of
our visitors and our tour guides enjoy using them as a guessing game during tours! 
We chose to showcase a button hook, hair receiver, spittoon, candle mold, and child's goat toy…

I won't ruin the fun of showing you what they look like or what they involve - instead grab your smartphone and come out to the museum and take a tour! 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Behind The Scenes Sundays

Things Backus-Page House Museum staff said last week: "It's not giant hogweed, it's cow parsnip."

A belated Happy Canada Day and Happy Independence Day!  Sarah and I spent the afternoon on Tuesday at the Canada Day Celebrations in Dutton.  We took our new banner (shown in the photo), some gift shop items, and upcoming event flyers.  As always, the salt water taffy and maple kisses were the favourite with shoppers and History Camp for Kids was our most asked about event.  Thank you to everyone who stopped by to say Hello. 
Our 2013 financial audit is completed and I was able to submit two grant applications (Community Museum Operating Grant and Ontario Seniors Community Program) before month end.  Last year was the first time we reached the $100,000 in revenue milestone.  As a charitable organization, this comes with many changes in bookkeeping, which I won't bore you with, but does take extra time from staff.  Now that we've had the first audit, next year should be a much quicker process for us and our accountant. 
This has been a sad week for nature with high winds coming through last weekend and knocking down a large walnut tree just to the east of the museum and branches blocking part of the Spicer Trail.  By the time you read this post, all will be cleaned up thanks to Talbot Tree Service and volunteers Larry and Paula Graftsein and Rob and Janice Ellis.  Betty McLandress and staff spent alot of time weeding vegetable gardens.  Everything (including the weeds) are growing really well, except for the beans I planted which some birds decided looked tasty, so no Lazy Housewife Beans this year.   
Since our Sunday Summer Teas start today (1-4pm, $10/person includes tea and tour), the parlour was set up on Thursday to accomodate 2 tables of 4.  Tablecloths, linen napkins, flower arrangements, and cups and saucers are all ready for our visitors.  Volunteers will be donating the weekly baked goods made from 1850's recipes and I hear seed cake and apple cake might be served today.  Traditionally Mary Jane Backus would have hosted tea in the dining room of the house for her guests. 
Listen on St. Thomas MyFM for our summer commercials.  Leave a comment below telling us what baked goods you prefer to have with your tea and what topics you are curious about "Behind the Scenes at Backus-Page".  
Cultural Manager

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Service Saturday- Betty McLandress

This weeks volunteer profile features Betty McLandress, from West Lorne. Betty decided to start volunteering with the Backus-Page House Museum when she saw the ad in the paper in search of volunteers. In the past, Betty has spent much of her time volunteering at various places in London. Betty helps with many of the events that are held at the museum including, the Strawberry Social, the Heritage Farm Show and clean up day in April. The museum is very grateful for all the help Betty provides, especially her hard work weeding the orchard garden this week. Betty enjoys the peaceful, quiet and relaxing environment at the museum. She says, "even though you are working, you're relaxed". The objects in the house, especially the beds are of interest to Betty because she finds it fascinating to see how the Backus family would have had to live. 

Thank you Betty for all the volunteering you do at the Backus-Page House Museum! 

Betty McLandress at The Strawberry Social 
Kelsey Conway
Backus-Page House Museum

Friday, July 4, 2014

Foodie Friday- Salt Water Taffy

Salt Water Taffy
Did You Know- Salt water taffy got its name from a popular story about a candy store owner, David Bradley. David Bradley had a candy shop on the Atlantic city boardwalk. A big storm in 1883 caused the ocean water to wash out David Bradley's candy store and soaked his taffy supply. After the storm, a young girl came into his store and asked for some taffy. David jokingly offered her some "salt water taffy" and the name stuck ever since. 

Salt Water Taffy

  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup white corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. edible glycerin
  • 1 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp. essential oil flavouring
  • paste food colouring 
  • icing sugar
  1. In a large heavy saucepan, stir together sugar, corn syrup, water, cornstarch, glycerin and salt. Bring to boil over medium heat; cook, without stirring but brushing down the side of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water, until candy thermometer reaches hard- ball stage of 260 F or when 1 tsp. hot syrup dropped into cold water forms hard ball, about 8 minutes. 
  2. Remove from heat. Stir in butter until melted; stir in flavouring and colouring. Without scraping bottom, carefully pour onto rimmed nonstick or greased baking sheet. 
  3. Let cool enough to hold indentation when pressed with finger, about 7 minutes. Using greased scraper fold taffy over itself, turning and folding until cool enough to handle.
  4. Using buttered hands, pull, fold and twist taffy until very pale (almost white), opaque, firm and more difficult to pull, about 15 minutes. 
  5. On icing-sugar- dusted surface, pull and twist into 1 inch thick rope. Using greased scissors, cut into 1 inch pieces. Wrap each piece in waxed paper, twisting ends. 
Kelsey Conway
Backus Page House Museum

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tourism Talk

Dutton Library
July 3rd
  • School Aged Summer Reading Club 1:30PM to 2:30PM
  • Adult Book Club 7PM to 8PM
July 7th
  • Lego Monday
July 8th
  • Baby and Me Story Time 10:30AM to 11:00AM

Backus Page House Museum
  • Summer Sunday Tea
  • July 6th 1PM to 4PM
  • $10.00 a person includes tea, baked goods and a guided tour

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Catching up with Catie!

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Our big event this past week was the Strawberry Social!  It turned out to be a beautiful night for it and the strawberry treats that were served were delicious!  We continue to enjoy the leftovers here J  Last Wednesday night was also the night that we launched our new parlour curtain samples.  Throughout the month of July, the samples are on display in the parlour and everyone is able to come and vote for their favourite by putting a donation of change into the corresponding jar.  So come out and vote! 

Other than our event, the rest of the week was pretty quiet, although we did get a nice grant from Mr. Joe Preston for new shelves in the storage room, which is needed!  Our MNR student started with us on Sunday and we are so happy to have Melanie back for a fourth year with us.  Our team is complete and what an awesome one it is! 

We also had quite a big and very windy storm on Sunday afternoon, which knocked a couple of our beautiful trees down out here and also left us a nice mess of twigs and branches to clean up on the grounds.  Luckily no buildings were damaged and no one was hurt J  I hope that everyone had a wonderful time celebrating for Canada Day yesterday, and is having a safe summer so far and keeping cool.  Until next week,



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Toolbox Tuesday- T-shaped Auger

T-shaped Auger

This tool is an invention of Roman times and is basically a long drill bit with a pair of wooden handles used for rotating the tool.  Augers were used to drill large and/or deep holes in wood, for which the bow or pump drill was not very useful. They were applied by shipbuilders, bridge builders, millwrights, wheelwrights and the like.  The drilling action of the auger is based on the principle of leverage: the longer the handle, the greater the potential of applied force.  Some augers and reamers were huge and had to be operated by several people.  The design changed over time, but was changed very little by the 19th century.