April 23, 2014
Believe it or not, there are evidences that spring is really going to makes its debut. For example, check out this Magnolia tree in full bloom! There are various trees and flowers around Nauvoo that are now beginning to show signs of life.
Aside from the signs of spring emerging, about the only other BIG news for us teamsters is the arrival of a couple of new horses. The horses, black Percherons named Nip and Tuck--at least for now--were purchased from one our former teamsters, Elder Nunn, from Canada. He brought them down for us, arriving last Friday.
After fitting new harnesses to them, we tried them out on one of our wagons. They seemed to do just fine.
On Easter Sunday, Jan (a.k.a. Sister Larson) and I were assigned to give tours in the Brickyard. Check us out! Don't we look like a couple of authentic pioneer brick masons?
We quite enjoyed the three tours we were a part of. It was interesting to learn how the saints made the brick for their homes and other structures back in the 1840s. I learned that it took several weeks from start to finish to mold, cleanup, and fire the bricks. To brick a "normal" sized house back then, about 40,000 bricks were required--and it took about 60 cords of wood to fire that many bricks. There were seven brickyards in Nauvoo, and among them they were able produce about 4,000,000 bricks in a single season. I'm sure your really interested to know the recipe for making bricks--and even if you're not--so here it is:
- Four parts clay containing iron oxide to one part sand (from the Mississippi bank)
- Mold mixture (called "pug") into brick shape
- "Hack" (turn over) the bricks daily until dry
- Stack dried bricks into a clamp (or stove kiln)
- "Wet smoke" (or dry) the bricks for up to one week to remove additional moisture
- Fire the bricks (heat them) at as high a temperature as possible for up to two additional weeks
- Cool the bricks for another week
On Easter Sunday evening, all of the teamsters and the wagon narrators and their spouses had a dinner together. Each couple brought an assigned dish. We had a great time getting to know one another a little better.
After we were finished eating, a couple of our musically-inclined teamsters entertained us.
Elder Broadhead--a professional musician from Canada--performed some good ol' country music . . .
and then Elder Ballard (from Arizona) joined in on his harmonica. On a couple of songs, we all joined in. It was a lot of fun.
I guess that's about it for this week. Have a great week.