Aunt Eunice here. Well, you may have noticed the year is winding down. Winding down implies a slowing of movement such as in an old fashioned clock. A clock tick, tick, ticking the seconds down until it hits midnight on New Year’s Eve. Does the clock get wound up again at that point? There are millions of seconds in one year so why does the year seem to go by faster with each month? They all tick away, the same way, second by second. I am full of questions this time of year. I don’t do personal resolutions for the New Year, but I really like to get answers to my questions, even inconsequential ones.
Now that our final fundraiser of the year, Old Time Christmas, is over we enter Quiet Valley’s only truly quiet phase. The end of December and the month of January are the staff’s time to reflect, to evaluate the past year and to look ahead. This is when assessment on the programming and events of 2020 will take place. What worked, what didn’t? Are there programs that just don’t serve a purpose anymore, can they be tweaked or is it best to set them aside. Are there holes in the programs and activities we offer? This kind of review is what brought about offerings such as our Preschool program which takes place each spring and fall. It brought about the Farm to Table Experience which eventually morphed into the Farm to Table Dinner. Small summer events came about more than a decade ago due to this process. The one in June focuses on something we do very well here at Quiet Valley and has been of growing interest to the public for a number of years, Gardening. Raising your own food is a very rewarding and tasty hobby and for the early homesteaders it was a necessity. In July we added a day to focus on the traditional music of the 1800s. Families of that time period had someone able to play a fiddle or dulcimer and making music was just a natural part of their lives. Children learned at a young age that singing a repetitive song made chores go a little bit faster and it didn’t seem like such drudgery. In August we started to hold a day dedicated to the heritage crafts and folk art of the 19th century. Demonstrators share their specialties and there are some chances to try the process out for yourself. Quiet Valley exists to not only preserve the life skills and history of rural farm life of the 1800s, but even more importantly to teach it to others.
As I look back at 2020 it is like looking at a picture of yourself that is underwater. It’s somewhat familiar and yet not quite what we would normally expect to see. The COVID-19 pandemic shifted our programming and events into something different, something new and yet at the same time a bit familiar. It was a confusing process, frustrating at times and a challenge. I am proud to say the Quiet Valley staff, board of directors and volunteers were up to the challenge. We had some great ideas on new ways to present activities and events. What we offered may have been different, but it stayed true to our mission. We shared what life was like on a small family farm in the 19th century. We taught visitors how it would have been for those early settlers who were willing to face hard times to own their own land and to be free to make their own choices. We helped the public make the connection from the past to the present and offered lessons on how this knowledge can be relevant in their lives today.
As the year winds down second by second I am glad to have this time to reflect and review and to plan and to assess, but to also rest in the knowledge that we “did good”! As January arrives though we will hit the ground running as we will be eager to face the upcoming challenges with hopefully at least some of the courage our forefathers had. What new thing needs to be added, what else can we share with our visitors, what would you like to learn?! I can’t wait to get started.
See you in 2021! Best Wishes for the New Year and take care. Aunt Eunice