Looking for some fun activities to do at home with the family? Look no further, Morgan Log House has put together some at home activities that bring the past alive in your own home.
Many Colonial families were mostly self-sufficient on their farms, especially during the Revolutionary War period when purchasing items could be expensive. They could find most things they needed on their farms. Some might have made their own writing ink or fabric dyes. Here’s a recipe for walnut ink that you can try to make at home. Other dyes you can find at home may be onion, berry, or spinach/grass dyes.
Black Walnut Ink
Walnut Trees are one of the oldest trees in the world and Black Walnuts can be found in our area of North America. Their nuts can be strong and provide a dark color tannin, useful in dyeing. The ink can be used for quill writing, wood staining, or fabric dyeing.
- Stove Pot
- Ladle Spoon
- Canning Jar
- 1 Tablespoon Vinegar
- Plastic Gloves
- Plastic gloves may be needed, especially during the boiling steps to prevent hands from absorbing color.
- Gather about a dozen (12) walnuts. The blackest and most shriveled are the best.
- Place the walnuts in a stove pot with water. Simmer until the water becomes dark brown and the shell husk are tender. Gently and safely remove the husks with a ladle spoon while the mixture is boiling. A soil-like mixture should be in your pot.
- Add more water to the pot and simmer until the liquid is a deep brown and the consistency of ink or a somewhat-runny sauce. This may take 3 hours or more depending on the color and consistency that you want.
- Once you’ve reached the color and consistency that you like, strain the mixture through a sieve into the canning jar.
- Add vinegar as a preservative.
- Let cool and it’s ready to be used.
Walnut ink will stain. Be sure to cover all surfaces and wear old clothes when you make it!
he Morgan Log House has been very grateful for the Forsythe-Robinson family for sitting down and sharing their information with us. Sis Forsythe Robinson, was a young girl when she lived in the Morgan Log House in the 1930s during the Great Depression. The house did not look like it does now, as a Colonial home. Sis talked with her granddaughter about living in the house and what it looked like, experiencing indoor plumbing, farming, and other activities during her years at the house.
You may want to learn more about what your parents and grandparents experienced when they were younger. Here are some ideas.
- What was it like growing up?
- Are they veterans?
- What was school like?
- What games did they like to play?
- What music did they like?
For more ideas about doing an oral history interview, check out StoryCorps.
In the Colonies, families were mostly self-sufficient on their farms, making their own meals from food from their farms and rarely traveled to eat meals at taverns or inns. Women did much of the cooking and baking; girls learned their housekeeping skills from their mothers.
At the Morgan Log House, we have a recipe for Welsh Cakes- they’re a combination of a scone and a pancake. Here’s our recipe. What are some of your family’s recipes? Try cooking or baking them and if you don’t know any, ask your parents or grandparents to share.
Yield: 2 dozen
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter, diced
- 3/4 to 1 cup of currants (or raisins)
- 2 large eggs, beaten with enough milk to yield 3/4 cup liquid
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg
- Work in the butter until the mixture is fairly evenly crumbly, a few larger pieces of butter can remain
- Mix in the currants
- Add the milk/egg mixture, mixing until everything is moistened
- Turn the dough onto a well-floured work surface and divide in half. Shape each half into a thick, 4” to 5” disk.
- Roll the soft dough into a 9 1/2” circle; it should be about 1/4” thick. Be sure to lit up the dough and flour underneath as you roll, so it doesn’t stick.
- Using a 2 1/2” to 3 1/2” round cutter, cut the dough into circles.
- Heat an ungreased skillet over low-medium heat. Deep fry the cakes (no grease) for about 2 1/2 minutes on each side, until they’re golden brown and cooked all the way through. It’s best to fry one sample cake first, to see if your pan is the right temperature.
- Dust the finished cakes with cinnamon-sugar.