Thursday, July 26, 2012

Antietam: July 17-21

Hello ProRanger and NPS Friends!

Last week Jay and I spent all of our time with the Maintenance Division here at Antietam. We had a good time. Can you guys believe we have one week left?! I can't believe it! I feel like I just here. I remember the first day I pulled into Antietam with my dad, his car packed with all of my "necessities". I was scared of the cows. Now me and the cows are friends (almost)! Time is going by sooooo fast.
 Anyhoo, our first day with Maintenance, Jay and I were put straight to work. We road around with Butch repairing falling railings in the fences throughout the park, as well as putting in new fence posts to replace rotten ones. It was fun riding around with Butch. He told us how he use to work for the Park Police in Washington D.C before he retired and took on work at Antietam. On our second day with maintenance, Jay and I worked with Scott and George, helping them repair the siding at the  Muma House. The Muma House is a historic house on the Battlefield which we now use for Education Programs. All the caulking and siding that Jay and I helped with was in preparation for painters who were coming soon to give the house a fresh coat of paint.

Our third day with Maintenance was the best. We spent time with Clay and Patrick working on one of the many historic barns on the battlefield. This barn was the Park Barn. Each barn that the maintenance division works on takes lots of tender, love and care to get back into good condition. The maintenance workers have to repair any rotten boards in the ceilings or walls of the barn, rebuild any collapsing stone work, and make sure that any objects that are displaced during the rebuilding of the born go back exactly in the same spot they were in during the time of the battle. Clay and Patrick taught Jay and me how to use stone and mortar to rebuild the uppermost part of a wall in the Park Barn. The mortar we used was made out of sand, water and a type of cement. Jay and I took turns placing the stones in certain combinations until we got them in a configuration that matched with the rest of the stones around them, then we sealed the places in between the stones with the mortar Patrick and Clay showed us how to make.

Our last day with maintenance was also a day to remember. We worked with Clay again and he showed us some the historic treasures in the park. In front of the Park House, there is an old hand dug well that is about 45 feet deep! Clay allowed us to take the covering off the well. He tied a flashlight to the end of a piece of string and knotted it off when the flashlight hit the ground. After we pulled the flashlight out of the well, Jay and Clay pulled the string straight and walked along side it to measure how many feet long it was. It makes you have a ton of respect for the people living during the Civil War; I mean, to dig a well that deep without any of the machinery and technology we have at our fingertips today! It's amazing!

To cap off our time with maintenance, Clay gave Jay and me some rabbit meat from his hunting stash for us to cook before we leave Antietam. I will let you know if it tastes like chicken!!

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