It's winter on the farm

David Gilbert
dgilbert@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 1/13/20

Winter is a quiet time at the Littleton Museum's living history farms. Though no crops are growing in the fields and the sheep spend more time in their pens than in the pasture, that doesn't mean …

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It's winter on the farm

Posted

Winter is a quiet time at the Littleton Museum's living history farms. Though no crops are growing in the fields and the sheep spend more time in their pens than in the pasture, that doesn't mean there's not work to be done.

For early settlers, winter was a time to catch up on projects around the house, said Cory Van Zytveld, a historical interpreter on the museum's 1860s farm.

“They used the indoor hours on mending, sewing and knitting,” Van Zytveld said. “But that didn't mean the daily chores stopped. They still had animals to take care of.”

Diets were limited in the winter, Van Zytveld said.

“Lots of pork and beans,” she said. “And lots of veggies that could be stored for a long time — root crops, onions and dried fruits.”

Before white people arrived, the area's indigenous people, including the Ute, Arapaho and Cheyenne, spent the winter hunkering down along Front Range streams, Van Zytveld said, where there was wood to gather and some grazing for their horses.

But when settlers began building farms along those streams, native people arrived in the fall to find their favorite wintering places taken.

“That's where a lot of the tensions began,” Van Zytveld said.

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