Old technology New fun

Mabee Farm provides engaging educational event

While some people might go to the movies, play video games, post pictures on Facebook or go on a road trip during a normal weekend, this wasn't always the case. In the past, a Saturday afternoon might be spent making a canoe or flint napping, and recently some adults and children participated in the same sort of activities to learn and experience early technology.

Mabee Farm Historic Site held Early Technologies Day, co-sponsored by the Native American Institute of the Hudson River Valley, on Saturday, Aug. 7, and provided activities and demonstrations to help people learn about the past with a hands-on approach.

When first walking onto the farm, participants could see Richele Ford in the distance holding one of her birds for the Birds of Prey demonstration. Ford, from Ford's Falconry, often rescues these birds to help them heal or just continue to survive.

One owl, named Whodini, was hit by a car and lost a wing. He acquired his name after escaping from his leg harness on the first night in Ford's house. The owl went over to the water bowl of Ford's dog, took a few sips, and then flew back to his perch.

"[Whodini] is a grumpy old man, and he doesn't like to be handled much," said Ford. "He is hissing at me " that's a sign of displeasure " it doesn't mean I love you. He'll also take his beak and click it, and that is an early warning sign and birds will do that toward other birds to stay away."

Unlike owls, which hunt mostly using sound, people had to make tools and weapons. One common early weapon was the crossbow, which has seen some high-tech upgrades in recent years, although the core elements are still present.

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