Young Girls Blast into the Past with History

Avery and Anne-Campbell Pace
Fay Mitchell

Sisters Avery and Anne-Campbell Pace spent the summer volunteering at Horne Creek Historical Farm in Pinnacle while out of school. They can hardly wait to tell you all they can do.

“We make fried apple pies, which have three basic ingredients,” 10-year-old Avery explains, “milk, eggs and lard.” After they make them an adult cooks the pies.

“We help with the Hauser orchard here,” seven-year-old Anne-Campbell chimes in, brushing her bangs from her face, “but not the Southern Heritage orchard.”

The girls’ father, Tom Pace, is on the nonprofit North Carolina Living Historical Farm Committee, Inc., and started bringing the girls to Horne Creek Historical Farm when each was a toddler. The early 1900s farm was the home of Thomas and Charlotte Hauser, and their 12 children. Since 1987 it has been a state historic site. The Pace sisters are becoming masters of the skills needed for living in the past.

Drawing water from the well“I have been teaching them more craft activities each year,” Site Manager Lisa Turney says. “They can make spoon dolls, corn shuck dolls and corn shuck brooms, fried apple pies, draw water from the well, shell and grind corn and more.”

In fact, the girls are so good that they talk to and teach other youngsters 19th century activities. Avery, older and more experienced, educates the young visitors on Saturdays about what chores kids would do on a turn-of-the-century farm. Since April she has averaged about 25 volunteer hours a month.

The girls do enjoy the normal kid activities, and Avery lists playing with Barbie dolls, present-day games and going to camp as things she enjoys. The bubbly brunette Anne-Campbell particularly likes to make slime, play on a trampoline and water ziplining. They also like to teach a popular period game.

“We make corncob darts,” Anne-Campbell says. “You put a turkey feather on a corncob and toss it in a bucket.”

“We do another game, hoop rolling, where you roll the wheel downhill and push it with a stick,” Avery continues, carefully keeping her straight blond hair off her face. “We like that one too.”

Avery made her first splash at Horne Creek when she was just four-years-old. “Lisa said, ‘Let’s put them in the Christmas By Lamplight program.’” Avery recalls. She and some other youngsters were dressed in period garb to pass out treats to visitors to the 18th century style holiday program and dinner. She and Anne-Campbell still do the program with other children.

“They were adorable in their costumes and a real hit with the people attending,” Turney says. “They would hand the people a treat bag and say ‘Merry Christmas.’”

Another program that was a big hit was “The Fantastical World of Fairy Tales and Houses,” also tied to children of the past. “The Hauser kids had fairy tales, that was a big thing for the Hausers,” Avery observes.Avery with fairy housea

There are several beautifully illustrated fairy tales books at Horne Creek Farm. It seemed a good idea to do a program and share the fairy tales so the children would use their imaginations and use things from nature to make a fairy tale house. Fairy themed snacks were part of the event too.

“We thought about it when I was in kindergarten,” Anne-Campbell adds. “We should make those.”

It’s not unusual for the girls to come up with programming ideas for the historic site. Avery currently is helping to develop ideas for next year’s summer day camp.

“I have used her and Anne-Campbell as a sounding board for children’s programs,” Turney says. “They are our ‘test market.’ Nine times out of 10 if they don’t like the sound of a program other children won’t either.”

Avery also shared her volunteer work at school. “I had to do a community project, so I thought, ‘I know the site manager and all the information, so I told them about making fairy houses.” A board with pictures from the event, a Powerpoint presentation and a fairy house that she made were part of the presentation, which earned an A+.

In addition to fairy houses, they help to make fairy jars, which have a fairy silhouette on the exterior which is covered with crinkled tissue paper and watered down glue. When the added t-lights are turned on, it looks like a fairy is floating in the jar.

“The first program was standing room only, and people came from all around,” Turney recalls. “They were so creative. It gave people a chance to use their imagination and not be attached to electronic devices. I think the parents had as much fun as the girls did.”

Turney says the girls have good ideas, are very smart and can carry out and complete given tasks. They also give honest opinions on program ideas. Not only do they give time and talent, but treasure.

“Avery developed and carried out a fundraiser for the farm, with her own idea and no help from anyone,” Turney explains. “She made bracelets and sold them, and donated $50 to the site.”

Anne with fairy houseTogether the girls recently made two additional fairy houses that will be part of a silent auction at the site’s spring fundraiser.

Volunteering at Horne Creek has benefited Avery too, as her mother, Amy, told Turney. “She thanked me for letting Avery volunteer and said she had seen Avery’s confidence soar this year. She credits a lot of that to Avery’s volunteering at Horne Creek and being given responsibilities.”

There are 27 state historic sites with volunteer opportunities for children and adults across the state. For additional information on opportunities and programs at Horne Creek Farm, please call (336) 325-2298.