Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Toolbox Tesday - Hand Drill

Hand Drill


Hand drills or eggbeater drills were initially made for drilling in metal for which a higher rotation speed is needed. However they could also be used for drilling into soft wood. Hand drills worked by continuous motion but offered an additional benefit of turning faster than a brace. They were also best used when the individual was position above they work piece. Majority of hand drills were generally fifteen inches or less in length with the possibility of changing the bit rotation speed. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Foodie Friday- Rhubarb Bars

Rhubarb Bars
  • 3 cups raw rhubarb, cut up
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
Mix together rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, water and vanilla. Cook until thick. Mix together oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, butter and nuts until crumbly. Spread half in the pan, cover with rhubarb mixture, then the other half. Bake at 350F or 375F for about 30 minutes. Cut into bars.

Backus-Page House Museum

Monday, December 22, 2014

Media Mondays

Happy Monday Everyone!
Happy First Day of Christmas Break!

Our staff here at the Backus-Page House Museum would like to wish everyone a very 
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

The focus for Christmas in the 1850s was family and coming together as a community during this festive time. Decorations were natural consisting on holly, evergreens, and ivy. During the Victorian era residents became increasingly involved in decorating for the Christmas season. They made garlands for banisters, wreaths for doors and windows and large ornate centrepieces for their dinner tables. Storytelling became a favourite pastime for Victorian families - especially at Christmas time. It brought the entire family together by the fireplace to reminisce family memories, tell ghost stories, or wild and exciting stories manufactured by adults. Christmas carolling is another tradition lost amongst the people of today. Victorian families would bundle up and together move through their communities going door to door carolling. Christmas songs were very popular and sung by carollers and in church as well!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Assistant Museum Administrator Position Deadline December 22, 2014

The Tyrconnell Heritage Society and Backus-Page House Museum are seeking a post-secondary student to fill a position for January and February, 2015 near Wallacetown, Ontario (www.backuspagehouse.ca). Duties will include museum tours, visitor services, site programming and office administration with an emphasis on marketing, correspondence, and database entry. Additional tasks may include, but are not limited to research, creation of exhibit and educational programs, summer day camp planning, site interpretation and public relations. Requirements – some computer and social media experience, current First Aid and CPR certification, current police check, excellent written and verbal communication skills, the ability to multi task and strong public interaction skills. The candidate must be able to lead and instruct individuals in recreational and leisure programs as well as plan, implement, promote, organize, and deliver outdoor and museum programs, visitor services and other Backus-Page House Museum events. The candidate must be available to work a variety of shifts including weekends and holidays.
This position is posted pending grant approval for an employment term subsidy from Young Canada Works through the Canadian Museum Association.
To be eligible to apply for this position, applicants must meet the following criteria:
Registered in the YCW online candidate inventory (see www.youngcanadaworks.ca for information on how to register)
Do not have another full time job (over 30 hours a week) while employed with the YCW
Have been a full time student (as defined by your educational institution) in the semester preceding the YCW job
Intend to return to full time studies in the semester following the YCW job
Are legally entitled to work in Canada
Is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, or have refugee status in Canada (note: Non-Canadian students holding temporary works visas or waiting permanent status are not eligible)
Must be between 16 and 30 years of age at start of employment
Meet the eligibility criteria of the program for which you have been approved
Are willing to commit to the full duration of the work assignment
The employment term will run from January 2 to February 28, 2015.
Rate of pay will be $11.00 per hour.
Forward resumes by December 22, 2014 by mail to
Angela Bobier
Tyrconnell Heritage Society
Box 26, 29424 Lakeview Line, Wallacetown, ON
N0L 2M0

or by email as a MS Word or PDF attachment to info@backuspagehouse.ca

Foodie Friday- Scalloped Turnips and Apples

Scalloped Turnips and Apples
  • 500 ml thinly sliced turnip
  • 500 ml thinly sliced apples
  • 5 ml salt
  • 50 ml brown sugar
  • 25 ml butter

Combine turnip, apple and seasonings. Arrange in a greased 1.5 L baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar and dot with butter. Cover and bake at 180C for 1 1/2 hours or until tender.

Serves 6.
Backus-Page House Museum

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Toolbox Tuesday - Gimlet



A gimlet is a hand tool that was used for drilling small holes (mostly in wood) without splitting. The gimlet can be described as a piece of steel of a semi-cylindrical form that is hollow on one side, it has a cross handle at one end and a screw at the other. A gimlet is always a small tool as a larger form is referred to as an auger as the cutting action between the two devices is slightly different. Pressure is not required when using a gimlet once the tip had been drawn into the wood. When turned the spiral sides function to both pull the cut pieces out of the entry hole as well as pull the gimlet further in the hole.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Foodie Friday- Afternoon Tea Scones

Afternoon Tea Scones
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Butter Milk

Sift dry ingredients and rub in butter; add enough butter to make a soft elastic dough. Knead lightly on floured board, cut into rounds, place on a warm griddle and bake steadily until well risen and a light brown on underside. Turn and bake on the other side until quite cooked.
These may be baked on a floured cookie sheet in a quick oven (375F) for 10-15 minutes. Make scones a little thicker when rolling out. Currents or raisins may be added. 

Serve with clotted cream, jam or butter.
Backus-Page House Museum

Friday, December 5, 2014

Foodie Friday- Melting Moments Cookies

Melting Moments Cookies
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tbsp half and half
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter until light, then gradually add the confectioners' sugar and salt. Beat this mixture thoroughly, about 3 minutes; gradually add the cornstarch and flour and blend well. Form the dough into walnut- sized balls and chill for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Transfer the balls to an ungreased cookie sheet and let stand for 20 minutes or until soft, then make a thumbprint on top of each to flatten the cookies. Bake for 15-16 minutes or until the cookies are golden on the bottom. Remove to a rack to cool. 
  3. While the cookies cool, make the icing: in a small bowl, combine the butter, confectioners sugar, almond extract and half and half until creamy. Ice the cookies when they are completely cooled. Store in tins, in layers separated by plastic wrap.  
Kelsey Conway
Backus-Page House Museum

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

World War Wednesdays: Fighting in Flanders- Gas. Mud. Memory.

World War Wednesdays: Fighting in Flanders- Gas. Mud. Memory.
     I know, I know, I do so much advertising for the museums in Ottawa that it's a shame they don't pay me for it. But, there truly are so many amazing things being done by these institutions that I can't say enough good things about them! One of the greatest perks of being a University of Ottawa Student is that we get free admission to any museum in the city on Thursday evenings, so I like to spend as much time as possible at one of my favorite places on earth, the Canadian War Museum. I've spent a large amount of time there already this year, which has been the highlight of my semester, and I still feel like I haven't yet experienced the entire thing. This past week, I had the opportunity to go on a VIP guided tour with the History Students' Association of the University of Ottawa. The tour that I went on focused on the Second World War and some of the key items in the museum related to it. It was so cool to get some background stories on objects that I normally just pass by!
      What I wanted to write about is something that is brand new to the museum. In recent times the temporary exhibit at the Museum has been Witness, which showcases the works of First World War artists A.Y. Jackson (a Canadian, of the Group of Seven), and Otto Dix (a German). I loved this display so much, it was a fascinating representation of the war's influence on these two artists, and I was sad to hear that it was closing. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that its replacement is just as amazing!
     The exhibit is called Fighting in Flanders- Gas. Mud. Memory. Here is the Museum's synopsis of it:
An exhibition developed by the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, in partnership with the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917, Belgium, and with the generous support of the E.W. Bickle Foundation.
From the opening movements of the First World War, most of Belgium was occupied by German forces. Fighting in Flanders – Gas. Mud. Memory. explores how Canadians in Belgium had to adapt to the significant challenges – from the first use of poison gas in the Second Battle of Ypres to the hellish mud of Passchendaele. The exhibition highlights the famous poem In Flanders Fields by John McCrae and examines how Canadian and Belgian collective memories have evolved over the last 100 years.
     As mentioned, the exhibit highlights all events that took place in Flanders, Belgium during the First World War. It takes you right through the muddy hell and back again, ending with an emotional re-creation of the actual memorial and simulation of how the area honors the events that took place there.
     The highlight of the exhibit for me was the simulator that allows people to safely smell what the poison gases used during the battles actually smelled like. For some reason, this really affected me. Smelling all the different types of gases really made me feel that horror, as though I was waiting to feel the effects and have the awful reactions just as the soldiers did. It has been said that the sense of smell is the most powerful for creating sensations, and I definitely experienced that. In case you wondered, I did not choke, go blind, or lose any other senses, though I did get a good gag from the phosgene.
     The exhibit features soundtracks of battle sounds and harsh fighting, as well as the soldiers' cries in reaction to encountering the gas. This adds a truly horrifying element to the experience. Of course, sight is the most important sense of the exhibit, and my sense of sight was definitely on overload. Here are some of the highlights:

Examples of how the Remembrance Day poppy has evolved in Canada
An original copy of In Flanders Fields, handwritten by John McCrae
John McCrae's medals
A "Roll of Honour" from the final memorial segment of the exhibit
     There are just so many amazing aspects of this exhibit, which was two years in the making. I highly recommend that you make sure to visit it if you find yourself in Ottawa-- it will be here until late April 2015!
     I regret that I will be taking a tentative break from posting due to exam season and holidays. Thank you so much for reading my posts, I genuinely appreciate your taking the time to read my ramblings. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season.
            As Always,

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas Craft Sessions

Our Holiday Craft Sessions start next week!

December 8th - 12th.

Tickets are $10 per person,
they include the craft making and a tour of the museum decorated for the holidays!
Monday, December 8th - Pinecone Carolers
Tuesday, December 9th - Clothespin Wreath
Wednesday, December 10th - Candle Holder
Thursday, December 11th - Christmas Door Hangers
Friday, December 12th - Christmas Centerpieces
We encourage you to RSVP
by calling the Carriage House at 519-762-3072

ToolBox Tuesday - Brace


A brace or brace and bit is hand tool that was used to drill holes, usually in wood. Pressure was applied at the top and the tool was rotated with the u-shaped grip. This type of hand drill could be used to drill wider and deeper holes compared to it's other counterparts because it gave much greater torque. Although with the much greater torque came lower rotational speed. Majority of other hand drills could easily achieve several hundred rotations per minutes although the brace struggled to achieve even 100 rotations per minute. The design of the brace and bit made it easy to keep at a precise 90 degree angle. The front part of the brace that held the bits consisted of a chuck spindle with v-shaped brackets or clamps inside. Turning the spindle clockwise would tighten the bit and counter-clockwise would loosen the bit to remove it. Right behind the chuck is a three position gear release which would allow ratcheting of the handle when in tight spots. The u-shaped crank had a wooden spindle on it that would freely turn therefore there would be no blistering of the hand.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Media Mondays

Media Mondays

Home for the Holidays at the Backus-Page House Museum
The museum is decorated for the holidays and open for tours!
As well as we will be hosting daily craft making sessions!
December 8th-December 12th.
Please purchase your ticket by calling the Carriage House.
Tickets include entrance to the daily craft session and a tour of the museum.
Please RSVP and inquire about ticket prices by calling the office at 519-762-3072.
A list providing the date and which craft we will be making will be posted soon.