Imagine Northeast Iowa

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Learn the Trades of our Ancestors at the Plagman Barn
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Learn the Trades of our Ancestors at the Plagman Barn

As the breeze becomes crisper and the leaves begin to fall, the communities of Clayton County are full of events and festivals that make our county unique. From art festivals to celebrations of heritage, each weekend is full of fun and excitement. Just outside Garber in the countryside lies a barn that is only open a few days out of the year to demonstrate and show people what farming was like when their ancestors worked the land. Plagman Barn will be opening its doors September 15-17 this year, and host countless demonstrations, feature live music, and provide delicious food you can only get at the Plagman Barn.

As I walked past the barn gates, the sound of county music resonated across the barn grounds. To my right was the ever-favorite Country Store, with people filtering in and out to scour the shelves for antique goodies and locally made treats. To the left, small groups of visitors were gathered around the many different demonstrations and displays that were set up for the day. To preserve the history of farming the way our ancestors did, the Plagman Barn’s mission has been to showcase antique farming equipment and teach the people how people farmed and crafted before the advancement of technology the way we know it today.

I had walked by the blacksmithing demonstration, and was captured by the nature of the craft. As the blacksmith hammered the red-hot iron on the anvil, bright orange sparks flew out from either side as the metal was worked into its finished product. The children watching were in awe at the sheer strength of the demonstration. It was heartwarming to see children show an interest in a long-forgotten tradition, and I had a feeling there could one day be a revival of the craft. Just beyond the blacksmith was a logging demonstration, and the aroma of cedar wood become more potent with each step closer to the saw. It was a very warm scent; like being in a log cabin, surrounded by the smell of the logs while a fire crackled in the fireplace.

With another lap around the grounds, I noticed a long line extending from a single, small building. It made me very curious, naturally, so I hopped into the line and peeked ahead to see what was so exciting. As the line inched along, I finally made it inside the building, and was greeted with the sweet aroma of freshly fried sweet goodies. It had been a homemade doughnut demonstration, and they were sharing how they were made, and selling them at the other end of the building as quickly as they were being made. As I stood there, the woman at the fryer had offered me a fresh one straight from the fryer. When I took my first bite, the soft, sugary doughnut was like a delicate pillow of dough; soft, airy, and absolutely delicious. When I made it to the end of the line, I bought two dozen to take home and share with family and friends.

I had a great time at Plagman Barn, and learned about all the different farming technologies of our ancestors. It was a beautiful day, I met some great people, and went home with a sweet treat I couldn’t wait to share with my family.

 

Written by Jayna Felder | Photo Credit to Garber

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  1. RovingPatrick
    What a beautiful barn.
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  2. CCDG Blog
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