Friday, September 12, 2014

I will promise you the moon and stars ...

... providing you come to the Lucas County Historical Society's fall festival next Saturday morning, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. until noon on the museum campus. 

The moon-and-stars reference is to watermelons from the Heirloom Garden, which we'll cut into and serve in the Pioneer Barn along with coffee cake and hot cider.

Margaret Coons will provide live music, Jerry Book will offer a blacksmithing demonstration at the Blacksmith Shop and there will be face-painting and small farm animals to admire for the youngsters. All the museum buildings will be open to tour and there will be lots to see on the grounds thanks to the hard work of our gardeners, members of the Grounds Committee.  All free.

We cut into one of the melons at Tuesday's board meeting, just to see how they were doing --- and they are doing fine. These are an heirloom variety, very mild and sweet with lots of seeds. 

The variety is not that old. It was introduced in 1926 by Peter Henderson & Co. and widely grown, but eventually disappeared from commerical markets and by 1981 was thought to be extinct, according to Amy Goldman ("Melons for the Passionate Grower," Artisan: 2002).

Then Merle Van Doren of Macon, Missouri, who was still growing them, shared seed with Kent Whealy, co-founder of Seed Savers Exchange --- and the rest is history.

We grow them in the Heirloom Garden mostly because they're interesting to look at. "Moon and stars" refers to the yellow-speckled dark green skin. Each melon usually has one big yellow patch and many smaller ones. The leaves also are speckled. 

I took the photo up top late yesterday afternoon, not exactly the best time. You get a better idea of how the moon and stars are configured in the photo from last year below.

The museum will be open "summer hours" --- 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday --- through Saturday, Oct. 4 (Chariton High School homecoming is Oct. 3). Then we'll shift to winter hours --- office open one day a week, details to be announced; tours by appointment. Admission always is free.

No comments: