Fun Activities for Home
During this time of social distancing, MHHM has temporarily postponed its educational programs. But this doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with MHHM at home!
Just like the oak trees growing in the historic garden, Macculloch Hall is branching out in new directions to serve our visitors.
Check back frequently for more museum and garden activities. Take pictures of your work and tag MHHM on Facebook or Instagram at @maccullochhall.
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Munchie Monday: Pickled Peaches
Louisa Macculloch’s cookbook contains many recipes for pickling, preserving, and jellying oranges, plums, tomatoes, and peaches. This makes perfect sense considering her husband, George Macculloch (1775-1858), grew these fruits among the over thirty fruits and vegetables on his 19th-century farm. His garden journal records the dates that peaches were harvested, usually late July through early October, from 1829 to 1856. The garden journal is available digitally here, where you can page through each year to see what was growing on the Morristown farm.
In March, MHHM started a citizen scholar program calling for volunteers to help transcribe George Macculloch’s garden journal. Help is still needed on this project. It offers a glimpse into life in 19th-century New Jersey and provides a valuable indoor project while keeping cool the summer. If you would like to find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org.
3 3/4 -4 lbs. of sugar to 7 lbs. of fruit. Peel peaches & stick 3 cloves in each peach. Put sugar in preserving kettle with one quart of vinegar & 2 oz. each of cloves & stick cinnamon. Boil five minutes after the sugar is dissolved. Put the peaches in the boiling syrup a few at a time & cook until tender, but not soft enough to fall apart. When all are cooked, boil syrup down to half the quantity, or until it is a very rich thickness, then pour over the peaches.
Adapted Pickled Peaches Recipe
This recipe does not require boiling and canning. “Quick” Pickled Peaches should be stored in the refrigerator and kept for up to two weeks. Use two clean Mason jars with lids and rings for this recipe.
3 cups sugar
3-4 pounds fresh peaches (approximately 8 or 9 peaches)
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
Bring a pot of water to a boil while washing peaches. Blanch the peaches in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain, rinse in cold water, and peal the peaches. Cut peaches in half, remove the pit and insert three cloves in each half.
In another pot, heat vinegar and cinnamon sticks and stir in sugar until dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the prepared peaches and reduce to low heat. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove peaches with a slotted spoon and divide into two mason jars. Heat liquid to a full boil then pour liquid over peaches to about ½ inch from the rim. Let cool to room temperature, wipe the jar rims and seal with lids and rings. Refrigerate. After three days in the refrigerator, open and enjoy on salad, with meat dishes, or as a dessert.
August 8, 1860
In 1860, the United States actively disrupted the trade of enslaved men, women and children from Africa while cultivating a thriving domestic trade of enslaved people. The importation of enslaved people to the United States was outlawed on January 1, 1808. To formally end the domestic trade and enslavement of people in the United States, however, would take the next 4 years of the Civil War (1861-1865) and the adoption of the 13th Amendment on December 6, 1865.
On August 7, 1860 Lieutenant Henry W. Miller, grandson of George Macculloch, and Lieutenant Henry D. Todd, uncle of MHHM founder W. Parsons Todd, were on board the USS Mohican patrolling for slave traders near the mouth of the Congo River. USS Mohican was part of the U.S. Navy’s African Squadron. 50 miles up the Congo River nearly 900 African men, women and children were being forced on board the slaver Erie. Erie’s mission originated in the port of New York City, where it is estimated that at least two ships a month left for the West African coast as part of the trade of enslaved people to Cuba.
160 years ago, on August 8, 1860, the Erie entered the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean and was spotted by the USS Mohican. Erie was under the command of Captain Nathaniel Gordon, an experienced trader of enslaved people, whose father had also engaged in human trafficking. As the USS Mohican approached the Erie, Captain Gordon reached for forged documents and several nations’ flags that could prevent his ship from being boarded and searched. The USS Mohican was a new vessel, however, which prevented Captain Gordon from knowing which country the ship represented. At that decisive moment, Captain Gordon took a chance and hoisted the wrong nation’s flag. Lieutenant Henry Todd boarded the Erie and realized instantly that the Erie was a slaver. The nearly 900 people held captive in the ship’s hold were on their way to lives of enslavement in Cuba.
On August 8, 1860, the USS Mohican rescued nearly 900 people. On the same day, a second slaver, the Storm King, which held 600 kidnapped African men, women and children on board, was also stopped en route to Cuba. This makes August 8, 1860 the day the largest number of kidnapped African men, women and children were freed by the U.S. Navy in United States history.
The U.S. Navy brought the kidnapped people to Liberia, a 15-day journey from the Congo River. Captain Nathaniel Gordon was arrested and after two trials was sentenced by Judge William Shipman on November 30, 1861. Gordon was hanged for being a slave trader on February 21, 1862. Gordon is the only person in United States history to be executed for the crime of trafficking enslaved people. President Lincoln refused a pardon to Captain Gordon, giving him a short reprieve to prepare for his execution.
At Gordon’s sentencing, Judge Shipman spoke:
“Do not attempt to hide its enormity from yourself; think of the cruelty and wickedness of seizing nearly a thousand fellow beings, who never did you harm, and thrusting them beneath the decks of a small ship, beneath a burning tropical sun, to die in of disease and suffocation, or be transported to distant lands, and be consigned, they and their posterity, to a fate far more cruel than death…Remember that you showed mercy to none, carrying off as you did not only those of your own sex, but women and helpless children. Do not flatter yourself that because they belonged to a different race from yourself, your guilt is therefore lessened—rather fear that it is increased… As you are soon to pass into the presence of that God of the black man as well as the white man, who is no respecter of persons, do not indulge for a moment the thought that he hears with indifference the cry of the humblest of his children.”
Read about President Lincoln on the case of Captain Nathaniel Gordon.
Read an article from Harper’s Weekly, published on March 8, 1862, on the execution on Captain Nathaniel Gordon.
Listen to Ron Soodalter speak about his research and book, Hanging Captain Gordon: The Life and Trial of an American Slave Trader.
Weather Watcher: Head in the Clouds
When was the last time you spent time looking at the clouds? The shapes and colors of the clouds give us clues about what the weather is and what weather to expect. Did you know that the clouds were given names by Luke Howard (1772-1864), an amateur meteorologist in England, after sketching and observing cloud patterns?
Join us for Storytime: Guess and Go! on Facebook Live today at noon to find out more about Luke Howard and the names of clouds.
In July, families in the Morristown area learned about weather and how it affected George Macculloch’s 19th-century farm in the three-part virtual Saturday morning series called “Dig it! Plant it! Eat it! In a Box”. Join us in August to learn about cloud patterns, what vegetables and fruits grew on Mr. Macculloch’s farm, and to make art with teaching artist, Lisa Madson. To learn more about this FREE program, generously funded by The Astle Alpaugh Family Foundation, email Cynthia Winslow, Curator of Education and Community Engagement, at email@example.com.
Listen to other cloud stories on Youtube!
Munchie Monday: Corn Fritters
With Jersey corn available, August is the perfect month to try Louisa Macculloch’s corn fritter recipe. The corn fritter recipe is one of over 150 recipes included in the cookbook belonging to Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863).
According to the garden journal kept by George Macculloch (1775-1858), in 1839 the Macculloch’s grew nearly 4 acres of corn on their 26-acre farm. With multiple plantings, the corn was harvested until October 10th that year. Macculloch valued the 1839 corn crop at $106.87.
Corn fritters are often thought of as a dish from the southern states. This recipe in Louisa Macculloch’s cookbook may date to the time when there was boarding school at Macculloch Hall and many of the students came from the south.
To a quart of scraped corn, add a tea cup of wheat flour, two beaten eggs and milk to make a thin batter.
Adapted Corn Fritter Recipe
½ cup flour
¼ cup milk
2 cups fresh corn (cut from cob)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut corn from 3 ears of corn and set aside. Beat two eggs, add ¼ cup milk, ½ cup flour, and salt and pepper. Once combined, add corn to mixture. Heat pan over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is heated, pour a spoonful of corn mixture in the pan, about 2-3 inches wide. Serve hot with butter.
Learn some corn fritter fun facts at mobile-cuisine.com.
The National Weather Service
Rain, snow, partly cloudy skies—right or wrong, where would we be without daily weather forecasts? In 1870, 150 years ago this year, President Grant signed into law a bill that established the National Weather Service. The 1870 bill was introduced and passed in response to the number of shipwrecks in the Great Lakes caused by bad weather. In a two-year period, over 3,078 shipwrecks occurred and 530 lives were lost.
Today, the National Weather Service has 122 weather forecast offices (WFO) in six regions. New Jersey’s weather forecast office is located is located in Mount Holly (Philadelphia) with the office call sign PHI.
20 years before the National Weather Service received its official designation, volunteer weather observers were collecting data and telegraphing it to a central location to be plotted on maps and analyzed. Believe it or not, the telegraph (which was first demonstrated by Samuel Morse in Morristown, NJ) and the Smithsonian Institution were critical to this work. The Smithsonian Institution was the central location where weather maps were created and archived. Over 500 weather stations were sending daily weather reports by telegraph by 1860.
In recognition of the work of the National Weather Service, MHHM will focus on weather throughout August during Wednesday’s Storytime: Guess & Go! at noon on Facebook Live.
Be a weather watcher and record high and low temperatures in your neighborhood.
Learn more about the history of the National Weather Service, one of the six agencies part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA).
Read some fun facts about the weather.
Wild About Wildlife: The Hidden Habitat of Moles
An unusual sight, if you’ve ever seen it while sitting or working in the garden, is a raised 3-inch wide strip of soil or grass that continues to grow longer as you watch. Once you’ve seen one you won’t be caught off guard again- you’ll know that there is a mole digging alongside you. Moles’ bodies are built to dig and live underground in their hidden habitat. Although they are small, their shovel-like clawed paws allow them to dig a tunnel 13 feet long in one hour. Moles do have eyes and internal ears but they are very small because of they live their lives underground, which is why their sense of smell is their strongest sense. Their favorite food is earthworms and, once caught, they will store earthworms in an underground chamber. Moles are solitary creatures, living on their own a month after they are born.
Join us today for Storytime: Guess & Go! at noon on MHHM’s Facebook page to hear a mole story and learn about its life underground.
How do Moles see the world? Watch this video to find out!
Discover fun facts about the life of a mole at justfunfacts.com.
Munchie Monday: Lemon Cake
Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863) resided in Morristown from 1810 until her death in 1863. She was active in her church and led several charities in the Morristown community. While we have very few letters written by her, her cookbook does provide a glimpse into her home on Macculloch Avenue. This week we share one of her several cake recipes, a lemon cake recipe, to enjoy with your family!
A little background history on lemons shows that lemons were actually human-made, a hybrid of the bitter orange and the citron. The first lemon seeds were planted in Hispaniola in 1493. Today, the top lemon-producing states are California, Arizona, and Florida.
1 cup butter
3 cups sugar
3 ½ cups flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon of soda
Adapted Lemon Cake Recipe
2 sticks of butter, softened (1 cup)
2 ½ cups sugar
3 ½ cups flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 lemon (zest and juice)
Yield: 2 loaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Add zest of one lemon (optional). Sift together flour and baking soda. In another bowl combine milk and lemon juice. Alternate adding a spoonful of flour mixture and liquid mixture to the creamed butter, sugar and eggs. Mix well. Pour mixture into two loaf pans, greased and floured. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Recipe makes two lemon cakes loaves.
If you would like to add a glaze to the lemon cake, foodnetwork.com provides this glaze recipe:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 ½ tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
Using wire whisk, mix ingredients until smooth and pour over the top of the lemon cakes.
For some interesting facts about food in early New Jersey visit www.foodtimeline.org.
Santa’s Christmas Eve
It may only be July but you can bet that Santa and his elves are already busy making toys for Christmas! Fortunately, Thomas Nast (1840-1902), through his drawings, gives us hints of some of the work that is happening right now at Santa’s workshop at the North Pole. In the late 1800s, Nast’s drawings of Santa Claus were among the most popular illustrations he made while working as an illustrator for Harper’s Weekly. Some of Nast’s 33 Santa images were inspired by Clement Moore’s 1823 poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” Nast taught us that Santa reads letters from children and creates a naughty and nice list. He may have also been the first to reveal the secret location of Santa’s workshop at the North Pole.
Nast moved with his family to Morristown in the spring 1872. They lived in Villa Fontana, just across the street from Macculloch Hall. The roofs and steeples of Morristown, his home on Macculloch Avenue and several of his children are included in many of Nast’s images of Santa Claus.
To learn more about Thomas Nast’s drawings of Santa Claus with MHHM’s F.M. Kirby Curator of Collections Ryan Hyman, visit www.smithsonianmag.com.
To see Nast’s Santa images in person, visit us in December. Bring your Santa Search and Find sheet with you to MHHM and you and your family can visit FREE! (PDF document)
Wild About Wildlife: Rabbits
If you were to look outside your window, there is a chance that you would see a rabbit. In fact, rabbits are so common that they are present on every continent except for Antarctica. As herbivores, rabbits eat plant material and vegetation exclusively. They can also give birth to up to 35 baby rabbits, called kits or kittens, per year. Rabbits are social creatures that live in groups in underground tunnels called burrows.
The eastern cottontail is the most common type of rabbit in North America. It is also the type of rabbit that you are most likely to see in New Jersey. The eastern cottontail has brown fur with white spots on its back, but in the winter, its fur can become more grey than brown. It is mostly nocturnal, but will sometimes be active around dusk or dawn. Despite its small size, the eastern cottontail can jump between 10 and 15 feet.
Rabbits have a bad reputation among gardeners and farmers as they sometimes eat crops. However, you may be surprised to learn that they can actually be beneficial for growing plants. Rabbits are highly-efficient, natural composters and their manure can be used to produce nutrient rich soil. Rabbit feces is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and potash, which makes rabbit manure a good natural fertilizer. Leaving out vegetable scraps and other garden waste can encourage rabbits to create manure and possibly deter them from eating garden plants.
Check out this video to learn more about rabbits.
Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) is the author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, a story about a young rabbit who gets into a bit of trouble with the local farmer. Her stories have been translated into 35 languages and 45 million copies have been sold. Check out this video to listen to the story.
If you want to be an author like Beatrix Potter, you can use this template to make your own book!
Join us on MHHM’s Facebook page for Storytime: Guess & Go today at noon to hear another famous story about rabbits!
Munchie Monday: Gingerbread
We do tend to connect gingerbread with Christmas but people have been eating gingerbread since the time of Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece. Ginger was taken for medicinal reasons, including the soothing of the stomach and digestion. Today gingerbread houses and gingerbread men come to mind, thanks to the stories of the Brothers Grimm.
In Europe, the guild of gingerbread bakers determined which bakers could bake gingerbread and what times of the year. Members of the guild could bake gingerbread throughout the year while others could only bake it on Christmas and Easter. European traditions were brought over to the American colonies with German and English immigrants.
Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863) had several gingerbread and ginger cake recipes in her cookbook. All of these recipes call for baking powder or baking soda which may mean they date from the 1840s to the 1860s.
Soft Ginger Bread
Cream together ½ cup butter and ½ cup sugar. Add 2 eggs, 1 cup molasses, and ½ cup milk. Sift together 2 cups flour, 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon ginger and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Add to other ingredients. Bake in moderate oven.
Adapted Recipe for Today
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 cup molasses
½ cup milk
2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, molasses, and milk. Sift together flour, baking powder, ginger and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Grease square baking pan and pour gingerbread mixture into pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes. To test, insert toothpick in center and toothpick should come out dry.
Make a gingerbread sandcastle.
If you have an ice cream maker, try this recipe for gingerbread ice cream.
Tea and Cakes: A Salute to Jane Austen
Are you thinking about enjoying a Jane Austen (1775-1817) classic this weekend or watching an adapted version on screen? Tomorrow, July 18th, marks the anniversary of Jane Austen’s death and provides an opportunity to consider the contributions this young author made to literature.
Why not make some Shrewsbury Cakes to go with your hot or iced tea? Similar to English shortbread, the small delicious cakes are named for the medieval market town, Shrewsbury, located in Shropshire, England. The recipe calls for basic ingredients: flour, sugar, eggs, and butter but were often made with rosewater or nutmeg and cinnamon.
In Chapter 6 of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, her character Mary shares, “I hate sending the children to the Great House, though their grandmamma is always wanting to see them, for she humours and indulges them to such a degree, and gives them so much trash and sweet things, that they are sure to come back sick and cross for the rest of the day.”
Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863), a grandmother of nine, was the first of a long-line of loving and perhaps indulgent Macculloch-Miller grandmothers with over fifty cake recipes, including two recipes for Shrewsbury Cakes in the 19th-century family cookbook. Typically, Shrewsbury Cakes were rolled out and cut with a cookie cutter but the recipe below does not provide that instruction. However, Mrs. Macculloch does recommend adding some grated coconut.
Shrewsbury Cake (original recipe)
Mix together ¾ lb. sugar, ½ lb. Butter. When light add 5 eggs, well beaten. Add vanilla, peach or rosewater to flavor it. A grated coconut is a great improvement. 1 lb. four. Drop them with a large spoon on buttered paper. Sift a little sugar over them.
Modern Adaptation of Shrewsbury Cake
1 ½ cups of sugar
1 cup softened butter (2 sticks)
1 tsp of vanilla
3 ½ cups of flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add beaten eggs until incorporated and vanilla. Sift 3 ½ cups of flour and add slowly to the mixture.
Steps for cookie cutter cakes: Refrigerate dough for 1 hour. Roll out on floured board till ¼ inch to ½ inch thick and use cookie cutter. Bake on greased cookie sheet for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. (This is a crispier, thinner cake.)
Following Mrs. Macculloch’s instructions: Drop a 1 ½ inch spoonful of dough for each cake on greased cookie sheet. Spread a little sugar over each one before baking. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. (This is a thicker, cakier cookie.)
The Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England has multiple online resources including a recipe for Shrewsbury Cakes.
Nancy I. Sanders, author of Jane Austen for Kids: Her Life, Writings, and World, shares photographs from her visit to Jane Austen’s home while researching and writing her book.
Wild About Wildlife: Honeybees
Records from 1810 show that there was honey and honeycomb at Macculloch Hall. Gentleman farmer and citizen scientist George Macculloch (1775-1858) wondered about the small honey bee when he wrote “Is the bee guided by reason or instinct and necessity? Neither legislators nor mathematicians nor architects. What sense brings them home from far?”
Since George Macculloch posed these questions, dedicated scientists and citizen scientists have studied honey bees and have uncovered many secrets of the honey bee’s life. These small creatures play a huge role in how a garden looks and what it produces. Honey bees’ work enables them to provide food for their hives and nearly one third of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts that we enjoy.
Join us for Storytime: Guess & Go! today at noon on Facebook Live to learn more about the life of the honeybee.
Watch honey bees inside and outside the hive.
See Liberty Science Center’s virtual honey bee exhibit.
Get tips for planting a pollinator-friendly garden.
Do a honey bee word search.
World Watercolor Month
Dig out your old watercolor set, buy a new one, or make your own and spend some time “capturing” nature in color during World Watercolor Month. If you need some inspiration, the creators of World Watercolor Month have provided 31 prompts for watercolor painting, one for each day in July.
MHHM summer 2020 teaching artist, Lisa Madson, incorporates watercolor into many of her prints from nature. As an artist and teacher, Lisa uses a technique called eco-dyeing that transfers impressions from leaves and flowers onto paper. She often brings additional color to a hand-printed work using watercolor in a later step. Her art has been on exhibit in many venues including recent exhibits at the Bernardsville Public Library and at Frontline Arts, formerly known as The Printmaking Council of New Jersey (PCNJ). MHHM looks forward to sharing the opportunity for free virtual art lessons led by Lisa in July and August for families and summer groups to create their own works of art. To find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn how to make your own watercolor from food coloring.
Register for a free virtual watercolor class at the Princeton University Art Museum scheduled for Sunday, July 12. The class will have closed captioning available in both English and Spanish.
Wild About Wildlife: Chipmunks
Spending time in a park or while on a hike, chances are you’ve heard or seen a scampering, scurrying chipmunk. If you had a chance to look closely, you’d see five dark brown stripes separated by four white or beige strips that start on the chipmunk’s face and go down the back of its body. This is our Eastern chipmunk. Eastern chipmunks actually look different than Western chipmunks, which have longer tails and spend more times in trees.
What else do chipmunks do when they are not scampering and scurrying? They can also swim, leap, and climb. They build burrows underground, with many tunnels and rooms. Chipmunks sometimes live in the same burrow for many years. At MHHM, we have a chipmunk that lives in a burrow underneath the sassafras tree in our garden and who we are always happy to see. Chipmunks stay very close to their homes, usually only traveling 160 feet from their burrows. They usually live alone, only living in groups when they are first born.
Chipmunks have a very good sense of smell which helps them find food, usually seeds, nuts, and berries. Maybe you’ve seen a chipmunk with its cheek pouches all puffed out, filled with seeds. They will also eat insects. Chipmunks also use their sense of smell to identify their brothers and sisters. You may see one chipmunk sniff another chipmunk face to face.
Join us today at noon on Facebook Live for Storytime: Guess and Go! to learn more about chipmunks during Wild about Wildlife Month!
Listen to a Native American tale of How Chipmunk Got His Stripes written by Joseph Bruchac and James Bruchac.
Munchie Monday: Bread Pudding
From east to west, north to south, bread pudding recipes exist around the world. Called by different names in Malaysia, Panama, Germany, and Puerto Rico, and made with different ingredients and liquids, bread pudding is a comfort food for those not wishing to waste stale bread. Made for centuries in English kitchens, it would not be a surprise if the bread pudding recipes in Louisa Macculloch’s 19th century cookbook date back to her English grandmother or great-grandmother.
The recipe shared below appears to be based on an even earlier recipe, also included in her cookbook, which calls for the bread pudding to be baked in water. In the converted recipe, it was taken into account that a dry pint is more than a liquid pint. Extra liquid may have been necessary in the early recipe because the texture of 19th century bread may have needed more moisture to not dry out too quickly when baked. We hope you make time to enjoy another recipe from Macculloch Hall Historical Museum!
Mrs. Macculloch’s Bread Pudding Recipe
One pint stale bread
1 quart cold milk
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons full sugar
2 eggs beaten with a spoon
Soak bread in milk, then mash smooth and add other ingredients. Bake in moderate oven 45 minutes. Serve hot.
Adapted Bread Pudding Recipe
6 slices stale bread
2 cups of milk
1 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of sugar
Preheat oven to 350° degrees. Cut bread into large cubes and soak in two cups of milk. Beat two eggs and stir in salt and sugar. Pour egg mixture over soaked bread and incorporate thoroughly. Put into ungreased baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until top is light brown. Serve hot with sauce or fruit. Remainder of bread pudding should be refrigerated.
Check out this 2008 article by Joanne McFadden which shares a variety of bread pudding recipes.
The Buck Moon
Farmers have used almanacs for years to get tips for growing and planting crops. In addition to planting tips, almanacs contain long-range weather forecasts and lunar calendars to help farmers and gardeners decide when to plant seeds. Some believe that the moon can have an effect on how plants grow. The Farmers’ Almanac, which Mr. Macculloch had a copy of, claims that the water inside plants is affected by the gravitational pull of the moon just like the ocean tides. Each lunar calendar includes the phases of the moon. Full moon’s occur every month and each one has a name that is derived from Native American traditions. Native Americans did not use a calendar system like the one we have today. Instead, they used the moon to track time. The names that are used in almanacs come from Algonquian speaking tribes of New England and the Great Lakes.
This July 4, in addition to fireworks, you might see the Buck Moon as well. The Buck Moon gets its name from male deer, known as bucks, because antlers typically grow in July. July’s full moon is also called the Thunder Moon, because of the frequent thunderstorms in July, or the Hay Moon, because farmers typically prepare hay for winter around this time of year. This year, the Buck Moon is extra special because it is also a penumbral eclipse. Penumbral eclipses occur when the moon crosses into the faint out edges of the Earth’s shadow, making the moon slightly darker than usual. This July 4, keep an eye out for the Buck Moon and see if you can see the penumbral eclipse!
Check out this video to learn more about the different moon names and how those names came to be.
Native Americans tribes had different beliefs about stars, moon, and space. Check out this playlist of videos from the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian that features a variety of Native myths. When watching, think about the similarities and differences between them.
The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape are Native Americans who are indigenous to New Jersey. They are descended from the Alqonguin speaking Nanticoke and Lenape peoples. Check out this video of a Lenni Lenape Pow wow from the 2017 New Jersey Folk Festival of one of their traditional dances. What can you learn about their culture from the video?
Want to learn more about the science behind the moon? Check out this video from National Geographic!
Wild About Wildlife: Birds
You probably see or hear at least one or two birds during your day, but have you ever stopped to think about how unique birds really are? Some can swim and dive. Some walk. Some hover and fly. There are so many different species, different sizes, and different colors in our New Jersey backyards! During Wild About Wildlife Month, held each July, take time to appreciate the birds in your neighborhood. Learn about the goldfinch, robin, mourning dove, cardinal, and blue jay in our Backyard Birds sub tab and join us at noon today on Facebook Live for Storytime: Guess & Go! to hear more about birds.
Learn about birds and what makes them special at this interactive site.
Take a virtual visit to The Raptor Trust on their Facebook page.
Enjoy a video of the Turtle Back Zoo Aviary, home to 350 birds.
Hear Good-Night, Owl! by Pat Hutchins and find out why Owl can’t seem to fall asleep.
Munchie Monday: Pudding
Of all the types of desserts in Louisa Macculloch’s cookbook—charlottes, whigs, jumbles, and puddings, the pudding is probably the one we are most familiar with today. Born and raised in England, Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863) brought her traditional recipes with her to Morristown, New Jersey in 1810 and these recipes were passed down through generations of her family.
We’ve heard of figgy pudding, plum pudding, and Christmas pudding but how well do we know what a pudding was compared to today? Prior to the late 1700s, an English pudding could be savory, being sausage or meat-based, or sweet. By the 1800s, even though the methods of steaming or boiling a pudding in a cloth bag remained the same, a pudding was more like a cake.
Louisa Macculloch had seventeen pudding recipes in her cookbook. These included several recipes for bread pudding, plum pudding, and lemon pudding as well as an 1849 recipe for cocoa-nut pudding. Today we are sharing one of her apple pudding recipes, which is undated, but the recipe hints at an earlier time.
Original recipe: Apple Tapioca Pudding
¾ cup pearl tapioca put to soak in one quart of water in which ¾ teaspoon of salt has been dissolved. Soak about three hours (near the fire). Peel and core four apples, cut in quarters and arrange in baking dish. Sprinkle with sugar.
Add ½ cup sugar and 2 tablespoons of butter to tapioca. Stir over fire till it reaches boiling point. Pour over the apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg and bake one hour. Serve hot with hard sauce or cream.
Modern conversion: Apple Tapioca Pudding
¾ cup large pearl tapioca
¾ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup sugar
Soak ¾ cup large pearl tapioca in one quart of water, with ¾ teaspoon of salt, for at least three hours. Pour off extra water and use strainer. Preheat oven to 350° degrees. Peel and core three to four apples, cut in quarters and arrange in baking dish. Sprinkle with sugar.
In a saucepan over low to medium heat melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add strained tapioca, ½ cup of sugar and stir. After it boils and thickens, pour over the apples in the baking dish. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and nutmeg. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until apples are soft and pudding is bubbling. Serve hot with hard sauce or cream.
Tapioca was popular in 18th century England and was considered beneficial for the young and old. Today we know that tapioca is a resistant starch and functions like fiber in the digestive system. To find out more about tapioca and the Cassava root, visit www.livestrong.com.
The Night Shift
Even though some moths are active during the day, moths have an important job to do as night time pollinators. Moths often pollinate plants that other pollinators ignore. They are known pollinators of evening primrose, night blooming jasmine, and honeysuckle.
Globally, there are more species of moths (160,000) than there are of butterflies (17,500 species) according to the Smithsonian Institution. Even in New Jersey, moths rule with 1,500 species compared to 150 species of butterflies! Some species of moths are so colorful that they are often mistaken for butterflies.
Did you know that inchworms are the caterpillars of the Geometer moth? The moths lay their eggs on foxglove, primrose, and thyme plants. In late June and July, the inchworms dangle on silken-threads from tree branches traveling to the soil and leaf litter where they will spin their cocoons.
Listen to Leo Lionni’s Inch by Inch told by Jeffrey Woodrow.
Once you’ve colored your moths, take the project one step further and make a moth habitat.
Hear a story about pollinators, Flowers Are Calling, by Rita Gray.
National Pollinator Week
Pollinators come in all shapes and sizes. Most often we think of insects like bees, butterflies, moths, flies and beetles as pollinators when we see them on flowering plants. Birds and mammals can also help as plant pollinators. While inside the flower, the pollinator gathers pollen from the stamen, the male portion, and transfers it to the pistil, the female part. It is believed one third of the world’s food supply is produced through pollination. Thanks to our pollinators we have gardens full of flowers, and fruit trees and bushes full of favorite fruits, and vegetable gardens teeming with the veggies we love to eat!
Some fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, beans, eggplant, and corn do not need pollinators. They can self-pollinate or are aided by the wind. Even carrots, potatoes, lettuce and broccoli can grow without pollinators. BUT if you love your fruit like watermelon, pears, plums, pumpkins, blueberries, raspberries, and apples, you will need to thank a pollinator! And what is a fresh salad of lettuce, tomatoes, and carrots without CUCUMBERS. Cucumbers and squash are also among the vegetables that need the help of pollinators. During your next meal take a moment to think about and thank a pollinator!
Stop by our gardens and take a look at the tomatoes and potatoes in MHHM’s teaching beds, and see how many pollinators you can spot.
Watch Storytime: Guess & Go! at noon today on Macculloch Hall Historical Museum’s Facebook Live to hear two stories and guess the connection. Today we will “bee” sharing the Refrigerator Pickle recipe that has created a “buzz” in the Museum’s historic garden for four years.
Munchie Monday: Jumbles
This month to celebrate National Country Cooking Month, Macculloch Hall Historical Museum has shared several desserts from the recipes of Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863). From charlottes to whigs, we now move on to a jumble recipe. Jumbles, also spelled jumbal or jumballs, were a type of sugar cookie or biscuit popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. Louisa Macculloch had several recipes for jumbles in her cookbook. Some recipes called rose water and almonds while another for coconut. Martha Washington had several jumble recipes in a cookbook she used. Jumbles could be baked or boiled.
Early jumbles were shaped in a loop or braided into a knot pattern and could be stored for a long period of time. Some believe that jumbles led to the development of pretzels, bagels or even donuts. Louisa Macculloch ends one of her jumble recipes with the words, “this makes a quantity, enough for company”. We hope you and your company enjoy this treat!
½ pound butter
½ pound sugar
¾ pound flour
Brandy to taste
Roll out in sugar
Adapted recipe (halved) for Jumbles
½ cup of butter
½ cup sugar
2 cups of flour
½ teaspoon of fresh nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375°. Mix ingredients until combined. Form into 1 inch balls, roll in sugar and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 14-15 minutes. Makes 2 dozen.
Bake jumbles with caraway seed, aniseed and lemon zest from an recipe shared on an episode of The Great British Baking Show.
We honor and celebrate Juneteenth, the date when on June 19, 1865, Union Major General Gordon Granger read General Order No. 3, the enforcement of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, to enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas. This moment publicly announced the end of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery with Union troops there to enforce it.
Today we recognize the dedication and work of our colleagues at the ground-breaking Harriet Tubman Museum in Cape May, NJ. They are working to preserve and educate the public about Harriet Tubman’s life in Cape May in the early 1850s, and to highlight the role members of the Cape May community played in the fight against slavery.
Though the museum’s scheduled opening for today, Juneteenth 2020, has been postponed due to the outbreak of COVID-19, we celebrate and remember Harriet Tubman’s abolition work in Cape May.
Hear stories about the life of Harriet Tubman by Lesa Cline-Ransome, author of Before She Was Harriet.
Watch the TED-Ed video on The Breathtaking Courage of Harriet Tubman by Janell Hobson.
Did you know tomatoes are the most popular vegetable in the world? According to a 2018 article published by worldatlas.com, tomatoes take first place, and not by a small margin! Although a tomato is technically a fruit because it forms from a flower and its seeds are on the inside, this did not disqualify it. Nearly 400,000 pounds of tomatoes are grown each year. Onions, the second place winner, were not even close to tomatoes in the running, with just over 200,000 pounds produced annually.
George Macculloch (1775-1858) recorded growing tomatoes in New Jersey in his garden journal as early as 1829. Even though many things have changed, it still holds true that if you start growing New Jersey tomatoes no later than mid-May, you can harvest and enjoy them from midsummer to early October. George Macculloch’s garden notes state that 10 to 12 plants were sufficient for his family, including his grandchildren. His notes don’t refer to specific varieties of tomatoes, but today there are many options.
If you are interested in spending a little more time with George Macculloch’s garden journal, MHHM is still inviting citizen scholar volunteers to transcribe one year of his journal. Please email Cynthia Winslow at email@example.com for more information.
Join Macculloch Hall Historical Museum on Facebook Live today at noon for a story about tomatoes live from the museum’s historic kitchen.
Visit Rutgers’ New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station for tomato planting tips and for a selection of varieties that do well in New Jersey.
See a complete list of the 10 most popular vegetables in the world from worldatlas.com.
Whigs, a Nice Tea Cake
Take time this week to make and share a traditional family recipe with younger family members! June is National Country Cooking Month, a good time to take out family recipes that have been passed down and enjoyed in your family.
Mrs. Macculloch had two whig, or wigg, recipes in her cookbook, one dating as far back as 1849. Wiggs were tea biscuits or tea cakes eaten in England. They were usually served only on special occasions, like funerals or weddings, because they were expensive to make. It is believed the name “wigg” came from the Dutch word “wedge”. After they are baked, wiggs are eaten warm with butter.
Louisa Macculloch’s recipe reads:
Whigs, a Nice Tea Cake
¾ lb. of four (approximately 2 ½ cups)
1 pint of warm milk
2-3 tablespoons of yeast
When light add 4 oz. of sugar (Mix and add ½ cup and 1 tbsp. of sugar)
4 oz. of butter (1 stick of butter softened)
Bake it in little tins, and eat hot with butter. (Roll into small 1 inch ball and place on lightly greased cookie sheet)
The original recipe does not include oven temperature or length of time to cook.
Modern-day conversions and instructions:
4 cups of flour
2 cups of warm milk (Begin with 1 ½ cups of milk and add remaining ½ cup at end, if needed. The dough should be dense, sticky, and hold its shape.)
3 ¼ teaspoons of active dry yeast and 3 teaspoons of instant or rapid-rise yeast
½ cup and 1 tbsp. of sugar
1 stick of butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350°. Mix ingredients. Be careful not to over mix. Let dough rise for 15 minutes. Fill muffin pan, each cup a little more than half way. Bake for approximately 25 -27 minutes.
Watch how wigg seed cakes were made in the 18th century.
Learn about the Smithsonian’s exhibit Food: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000.
Discover food museums from around the world!
Learn how food shapes cultures.
National Red Rose Day
Although Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863) and Empress Josephine of France (1763-1814) lived in completely different worlds during a shared time in history, they are connected through their love of roses.
When Louisa Macculloch moved into her new home in Morristown in 1810, one of the first changes she made to the garden was to add rose bushes. Today, visitors to Macculloch Hall Historical Museum’s historic garden can enjoy the beauty and pleasing scent of many varieties of roses.
While enjoying her garden, Mrs. Macculloch may not have known that Empress Josephine was enjoying the beauty of her rose garden at Chateau Malmaison thousands of miles away. Empress Josephine loved roses. She was actually called Rose by her family, her full name being Marie Josephe Rose Tascher de la Pagerie. She married Napoleon Bonaparte in 1796 and moved to Chateau Malmaison in 1799.
It was in this garden where Empress Josephine enjoyed the over 250 varieties of roses she collected. Her private gardeners helped create and grow a garden containing all known varieties of roses in the western world. Even ships in battle were known to cease fire to allow ships carrying rose plants and seeds to Empress Josephine to pass through unharmed.
Empress Josephine hired Pierre-Joseph Redoute (1759-1840), a botanical artist, to paint portraits of the flowers in her garden. Redoute’s paintings of roses were published in three volumes, Les Roses, allowing us a glimpse into the beauty of Empress Josephine’s rose garden today.
To learn more about botanical artist Pierre- Joseph Redoute (1759-1840), visit botanticalartandartists.com.
If you need a little help to start your work as a botanical artist, visit this website for drawing tips.
There is nothing like eating freshly picked peas right from the pea pod when their sweetness is at its peak.
From 1829 to 1856, George Macculloch (1775-1858) recorded in his garden journal the dates he planted, the dates he gathered and how far apart he planted his crops each year. In 1840, Macculloch wrote, “late pease never answer”. This meant his second crop of peas didn’t do as well as the first crop. Despite this, according to his garden journal, Macculloch did try planting a second crop of peas again in 1846. He learned that if he planted the second crop 12 to 15 days after the first crop (March 20) the results were more successful.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was also fond of growing peas and he had 15 varieties of English peas grown in his garden. Jefferson and other farmers held an annual contest to see which farm could bring to the table the first peas of spring.
Listen to the story First Peas to the Table by Susan Grigsby, geared for 2nd grade, and use this Teacher’s Guide for the story.
If you have picky eaters not interested in eating their peas or other veggies, try showing them these videos.
Plant a late crop of peas for a fall harvest according to your zone planting schedule.
Need more reasons to plant peas? Read 5 great reasons to grow peas from Garden Gate magazine.
Munchie Monday: Chocolate Charlotte
Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863) was born in London, England and lived in Morristown for over fifty years. She had a positive influence on generations through her dedication to her family, including her children and ten grandchildren, and to several charities in 19th-century Morristown. At MHHM we are fortunate to have several things that once belonged to Louisa Macculloch, including a hand-written cookbook.
Food and family go together no matter the time period in history. Today we can learn about the Macculloch family from the recipes they left behind. From recipes, or receipts as they were sometimes called, we learn what ingredients were available, what technology existed, and what flavors were popular. Mrs. Macculloch’s cookbook contains recipes for breads, preserves, and desserts.
Every Monday this month look for a new dessert recipe, sometimes an adaptation, from Mrs. Macculloch’s cookbook. We are selecting from her jumbles, wigs, charlottes, and puddings—yes, these were the desserts of the 19th-century!
A charlotte was served either hot or cold. In the past, cooks would use soaked stale bread as a dessert crust but today, lady fingers or biscuits are used. The filling would be a stewed fruit or cream which was poured into the mold. Try this no-bake Chocolate Charlotte recipe which we’ve used in MHHM’s education programs.
Discovering the history behind the foods we eat is a fun way to find out about the past. Chef Walter Staib, from City Tavern in Philadelphia, has spent years exploring recipes from the past. Chef Staib published A Sweet Taste of History: More Than 100 Elegant Dessert Recipes From America’s Earliest Days in 2013.
Learn how Downton Abbey benefited from the expertise of food stylist Lisa Heathcote.
Learn About Composting
Happy National Learn About Composting Day! Composting is a natural way of recycling organic material such as leaves and vegetable scraps. The organic material creates a nutrient-rich fertilizer that is beneficial for plants and gardens. Many things that are normally tossed in the trash, and later end up in a land-fill, can be composted. Vegetable or fruit scraps, coffee grounds, tea leaves, and egg shells can be composted but not meat, milk products, or animal waste.
At MHHM, composting is even MORE FUN with red wiggler earthworms! Hundreds of school children and summer campers have learned about vermicomposting, composting using earthworms, during visits to our historic garden or when our earthworms visit students in their classrooms.
Even though New Jersey gardens are filled with night crawler earthworms, red wigglers are recommended for composting since they stay on the top layers of the soil. Red wigglers will eat the organic materials and produce worm castings. These worm castings can then be used directly or as a liquid fertilizer for your plants.
As a first step, keep track of what organic materials you or your family throw in the trash in a week to see how much you could be composting. Younger children can create a colorful poster of fruits and vegetables and other items that can be kept out of the trash.
Composting means less methane gas produced from landfills, more plants growing stronger with chemical-free fertilizers, and happy red wiggler earthworms doing what they do best—eating and recycling!
Do you and your family want to become vermicomposters? Learn how here.
Looking for an outdoor activity and books about earthworms? Visit lemonlimeadventures.com.
Prefer to stay out of the dirt? Make your own earthworms with pipe cleaners and beads.
Growing in the Garden:
Is your 3 to 5 year old excited about the garden? Join us for our first virtual Growing in the Garden session Tuesday, June 2 at 2 p.m. Growing in the Garden will take place every first and third Tuesday every month at 2 p.m. To register, and for more information about this program, email Cynthia Winslow, Curator of Education and Community Engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Strawberry Month
May is National Strawberry Month so it is time to pick a favorite family recipe and make plans for a special occasion. Strawberries are listed in George Macculloch’s (1775-1858) garden journal every year so it is likely strawberries were enjoyed by his family every spring.
While you enjoy your strawberries, make a strawberry garland and read/listen to a story about strawberries listed here.
The First Strawberries: A Cherokee Story retold by Joseph Bruchac
Jamberry by Bruce Degen
Strawberries Are Red by Petr Horacek
The Very Berry Counting Book by Jerry Pallotta
The Strawberry Garden by Lia Yaffe Talmar
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood (Read in English by Mister Kipley’s Classroom Learning Adventures and in Spanish by Storyteller/Lector Marvin J. Morazan)
In A Soldier’s Words: Lindley Miller
In April 1861, Lindley Miller (1834-1864) answered President Lincoln’s call for volunteers by enlisting with the 7th Regiment New York State Militia, also known as the Silk Stocking Regiment. The day his regiment left New York City is documented in Thomas Nast’s painting, The Departure of the 7th Regiment to the War, April 19, 1861. His brother, Henry Miller, was in the crowd of thousands there to shake his brother’s hand as he passed.
The Silk Stocking Regiment reached Washington, D.C. by April 25th. Their arrival ended the siege on the nation’s capital, preventing its loss to the Confederates just weeks after the fall of Fort Sumter.
By 1863, Lindley was back in New York City to witness the draft riots first-hand. The NYC draft riots started a chain of personal losses for Lindley that changed his life. His young bride, Anne Huntington Tracy, pregnant with their first child, died after giving birth and his two-month old daughter died soon after. Turning his loss into service, Lindley requested and received a commission as a captain in the “First Regiment Arkansas Volunteers of African Descent” in late 1863. He wrote a marching song for his men and many poems that MHHM has in its collection. To learn more about the marching song, visit our blog post Song of the First of Arkansas.
“Come On!” We will till God’s ideal shall trample breathless wrong;
“Come On!” We will, till freedom ring through every human song;
“Come On!” We will till not a Soul in gloom and dread involved,
This darkness shall give way to light–This problem shall be solved.
In 1864, Lindley Miller returned to Morristown to recover from an illness he caught in camp. In July 1864, Lindley Miller succumbed to his illness and died.
This summer, one of MHHM’s college interns will work with 15 letters written by Lindley Miller to his family during his service in the Union army. This project will make his life and military service more accessible to students, scholars, and those interested in the Civil War.
Read Lindley Miller’s poems and learn about the Civil War through a Soldier’s Words. (PDF Document)
To learn more about the departure of the 7th Regiment from New York City, visit readme.readmedia.com.
Found Art Friday
Running out of ideas for a fun family project? Make it a Fun Found Art Friday. During your walk, collect sticks and when you get home create art using your sticks. Some ideas include making a shape like a heart or spelling out your initials using your stick supply. Your art can be temporary or made permanent by using wood glue and a picture frame. Connect with someone else and share your art with them online.
Need some more found stick art ideas? Visit figmentcreativelabs.com for inspiration.
If you can’t get outside, check out tinkerlabs.com for ways to use recycled materials for a found object art project.
Learn why creating a culture of collecting materials for art is important for children’s development.
Learn tips to create a creative environment for found object sculptures.
Celebrating National Salad Month
During MHHM’s summer program Dig it! Plant it! Eat it!, visitors and staff pick fresh vegetables and herbs from the historic kitchen garden. We learn healthy recipes together.
To celebrate National Salad Month, we happily share a recipe that was a big hit in our “house” last summer, Roasted Beet and Apple Salad!
MHHM will soon share the plans for a virtual Dig it! Plant it! Eat it! this summer.
Recipe: Roasted Beet and Apple Salad
1 lb. of beets (baked at 425 degrees for 1 hour with olive oil)
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar, divided
1 tbsp. finely chopped shallots
½ tsp. honey
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. coarse black pepper
6 cups torn crisp greens (romaine, kale, Swiss chard)
2 apples (quartered, cored and sliced)
½ cup flat-leaf parsley
Cut baked beets and sprinkle with 1 tbsp. vinegar and set aside. Combine remaining 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, shallot, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk in remaining 5 tbsp. of olive oil. Combine lettuce, apples, and parsley in a serving bowl, add beets and drizzle with dressing. Enjoy!