When we started this adventure three years ago our plan was to travel the
country seeing all the places we wanted to, on our schedule, and at our pace.
Our first year was full of traveling, seeing family, and having many wonderful adventures along the way. Our second year, we decided that settling for part of year sounded nice and so we found our workamping gig here at the Barberville Pioneer Settlement. We loved it so much that we decided to return for a second season and traveled to New England for the
summer and returned to Central Florida last September. All was going well, we were again immersed in Florida history and enjoying adventures in and around the area and had made plans to travel again this summer and return to this gig next fall. We were going to go out west this time to The Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier, Devil’s Tower and Mt. Rushmore and then stop at an FMCA rally in Nebraska where I was going to do a workshop and perform. Then everything came to a screeching halt! The national parks closed, campground would not take people from out of state, and the rally was canceled.
As I stated in our last post, things were right on track until the Pandemic. When the Settlement closed their doors they had to lay off all of the staff though the director, assistant director, and grounds keeper were volunteering to still come in to keep the basic operations functioning during the closure. We were fortunate that the Settlement agreed to let all of the Workampers stay put even though the museum was closed and that our “hours” would be doing odd jobs around the museum and helping to do some of the work that tends to get set aside when you have programming almost every day. So instead of our usually field trip presentations, now we were painting, fixing things, cleaning, doing grounds keeping, sorting and organizing the craft supply building, and eventually producing publicity videos.
Over this past year I had become the keeper of the weaving room and so I worked on warping looms, prepped shuttles for future rug weaving, and began weaving place mats to sell in the store.
Joanna’s new domain The two looms in the center are 120 and 150 years old! Getting the warp measured on the Warping board Loree helping to warp the Baby Wolf Loom Trying my hand at weaving on a lap loom Prepping shuttles for the rag rugs Replacing the warp on the 120 year old loom
I found some lovely white material in our craft building and made valance curtains for the auditorium which Jon and Heinrich, our grounds keeper, had to figure out how to hang! Then I made masks for all of the staff so that we could safely work together. Eventually, we made enough masks to sell in our store for when we open back up.
Auditorium before curtains Sewing 28 panels Jon and Heinrich figuring out how to put the rod under the screen Hanging the curtains Making masks for the staff Wearing the masks every time we go out And the final product! Our fearless leader!
Debra, our executive director was looking for ways to keep the Settlement connected with our members and the public and thought doing Facebook live videos would be fun. As it turns out, our cell signal out here in the boonies is not very strong and the videos were not very good so Jon and I started making a more produced version. I researched the buildings on our grounds digging deep into the museum archives, wrote scripts, planned the shots, and then Jon videoed and processed the clips to make them a more professional developed publicity series called History Matters. During the last 5 weeks we have produced 5 videos.
The Museum will be re-opening again starting this next Thursday, May 21st and will only be open Thursday – Sunday from 10 – 3. We will be assisting in the sanitizing & social distancing efforts and keeping the place tidy for visitors. I know the animals will be happy to have more people around!
Peep, Ollie, Sancho, Pete & Tamale Igor enjoying his swimming pool Caring for the animals Lassie Cake is on guard Our beautiful peacocks All the girls Caboose and Lassie Cake Sancho Buddy and Lassie Cake This beauty stopped by an IO moth Buddy rules the roost Sancho meeting Ollie This guy just wandered through our campsite The boys strutting their stuff!
All the while we have been trying to decide what we were going to do this summer. Since our plans were to just travel the country and the stay at home orders are just being lifted we decided to sit tight until things were safe to be out again. Right now we have canceled all our reservations though the end of May and will decide then where or how far we might go in the coming months. We know we would like to get out of the heat of July and August in Florida and are hoping things settle a bit before then and we are still hopeful to get out west if it is safe.
Pandemics and full time RVing is fine if you stay in place but traveling can be quite risky. With campgrounds closed to new reservations and most attractions being closed, it just doesn’t make sense for us to venture out at this point. We can easily self isolate here in the woods for a while longer and then we will have to see what happens for next fall as we do not know if field trips will be happening or if we will be able to have our Fall Jamboree but for now we are planning to spend another winter in Florida.
So for now we are safe, healthy, wearing our masks, washing our hands, and social distancing. We go out to the grocery once every couple of weeks and occasionally we get take out to support our favorite local restaurants.
Once we have decide on our future plans we will write again.
Till then stay safe and healthy!