New Rokeby Museum book gives a peek into 19th century farm life
FERRISBURGH — Today, “eating local” is all the rage, from school cafeterias to four-star restaurants. But not that long eating local was theonlyway. It was a way of life and a matter of necessity.
Rokeby Museum announces publication of a new book: “Farming & Feasting with the Robinsons,” with text by Jesse Natha and drawings by Rowland Evans Robinson. This unusual pairing — the work of an artist who died more than 100 years ago illustrating the words of a contemporary writer — works together seamlessly.
Four generations of the Robinson family farmed at Rokeby, their home in Ferrisburgh, operated today as Rokeby Museum.“Farming & Feasting” pulls from the museum’s rich collection of letters, diaries and household accounts to explore the family’s ways of farming, preserving and eating more than a century ago. Natha checks in with the Robinsons each season to see what’s on their minds, on their plates and on their chore lists.
“Farming & Feasting” is richly illustrated with drawings by Rowland Evans Robinson, who was born at Rokeby to abolitionist parents in 1833.Depicting the many mundane chores Vermont farmers shouldered day in and day out, Robinson left an intimate record of a vanished way of life. Artistically, the pictures may seem insignificant at first glance: They are small and mostly drawn in pencil, but they reward the viewer who takes the time for a closer look.