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Don’t Be So Draft

, , , , , | Friendly | June 26, 2018

I go to a colonial fair at a working 18th-century living history farm in Northern Virginia about once or twice a year. The fairs, which are pretty popular, run once a season except in the winter. Because the fairs are popular, the farm tends not to have enough costumed interpreters for each station of the farm.

Once, I went with my family and there weren’t any living history interpreters at the old tobacco barn station. The tobacco barns of the 18th century looked pretty much like modern barns. However, there were roughly six-inch (15-centimeter) gaps between the boards that made up the siding of the barn. This was to allow air to pass through so the tobacco, hanging up above, could dry out properly.

My mom and I went inside the barn to check it out. A lady and her young daughter were looking around as well. It looked like a typical barn with just the barn doors, no windows, and the tobacco hanging up above our heads.

The young girl asked her mom why the boards were so far apart. The mom stated she didn’t know. What got me was what came out of her mouth next. She spoke to a man I’m pretty sure was her husband and stated, “No wonder they always complained that these old houses were so drafty! You can stick your hand between the boards!”

I really wanted to follow her to the actual house, a half-mile away from the barn, to see what she thought that was.

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