We’ve had the Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farm in Austin (www.pioneerfarms.org) on our to visit list for several years. Their calendar said that there would be reenactors recreating the Texas militia heading off to war. We’re always up for a good reenactment so we decided to head out to the farm this weekend.
My oldest was fascinated by the blacksmithing demonstration. There was another family there who appeared to be homeschoolers and they were asking the blacksmith lots of questions about the properties of various metals and the science behind blacksmithing. The little one and I were a bit bored by the discussion and wandered off to look at other things.
The general store at the front of the farm and another building are replicas but the majority of the buildings of the farm are buildings from the 1800s that were either native to the site or were moved in from the Austin area.
I found the 1840s Tonkawa encampment the most interesting site at the farm. Another family that was visiting and who had been to the farm previously told us that the site had actually been inhabited by Native Americans. The site was surrounded by a number of large trees and backed up to the creek.
Other sites on the farm include a German immigrant homestead circa 1868 and a cotton plantation homestead circa 1887
The reenactors were a disappointment. We were at the farm for 1 1/2 to 2 hours and all we witnessed were a few men marching around singing songs while doing rifle drills and a few women in hoop dresses watching them.
The farm offers a nice view of the kind of houses people lived in 1840s to 1890s Texas. I would not recommend going during the summer. It was quite warm when we there.
*Snakes – we did not see any snakes. However, the guided walking tour booklet warns you to beware the natural hazards of the Texas prairie – snakes, fire ants, bees, poison ivy, stinging nettles and thorns. Also the man who took our admission money told us a story of an Australian visitor who was bitten by a rattlesnake near the barn. We mostly stayed on the path and followed his advice to shuffle our feet and make noise.