Joseph uses childhood lessons to teach at Pioneer Week

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 14, 2001

Orilla Joseph remembers how she and her sister used to churn butter twice a week when they where children.

&uot;My sister and (I) were the youngest in the family and that was our job to make the butter,&uot; Joseph said.

As an adult, Joseph says she no longer makes butter on a regular basis but at least once at year she uses her mother’s old churn for children who attend Pioneer Week – The Way it Was, at Historic Jefferson College in Washington.

The annual event teaches children some of the jobs involved in life years ago.

&uot;It was okay but I don’t want to go back to it,&uot; said Joseph, who did not have electricity in her house until she was 15-years-old. &uot;(Children) don’t realize what an easy life they have.&uot;

Joseph has been making the butter for Pioneer Week – The Way it Was, since it began in 1987.

She said making the butter makes her remember her childhood.

&uot;Mama taught us to shake a jar,&uot; Joseph said. &uot;That’s the way we started out.&uot;

As they got older, they moved up to the butter churn that Joseph still uses today.

The device has gone through some upgrades through the years but the churning mechanism is the same, Joseph

And on Monday the &uot;pioneer&uot; children will get to try it out for themselves.

&uot;I make (the butter) out there and let them churn,&uot; Joseph said. &uot;They like to see where it comes from.&uot;

Often the children do not realize they are going to make butter when they first see the churn.

&uot;Most of them think its ice cream,&uot; Joseph said. &uot;When they first see it they think you’ve made them ice cream.&uot;

Joseph says she uses whipping cream to make the milk and the temperature has to be right for it work.

&uot;You’ve got to have it room temperature for it to make,&uot; she said.

Children who attend pioneer week will also participate in such things as crafts, storytelling, games and activities such as dying eggs with natural colors, spinning, weaving.&160;They will also learn to make things such as bread and lye soap, said Anne Gray, a historian at Historic Jefferson College.

The program costs $25 and will run from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday to Friday.

About five slots are still left available for any child who registers by today at Historic Jefferson College, Gray said.