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11-07-02: Log cabin skills will be on display in Fort Recovery
Pioneering to return

The Daily Standard
    FORT RECOVERY = Fort Recovery native Chris Ewry has cooked up a lot of history in the log cabin at the Fort Site Park in her hometown and, by chance, four years ago she stepped into her future there too.
    Ewry, 38, now of St. Marys, will mark her 18th year giving pioneer life demonstrations at Fort Recovery's annual Retail Merchants' Christmas Open House, scheduled for Nov. 17.
    Dressed in her home-made pioneer clothing, she's made a lot of soup and stews over the years at the cabin and a few years ago added spinning and weaving demonstrations.
    "I taught myself to weave and spin using books from the library. But I learned a lot about sewing from my mother (Mary Lou Kramer of Fort Recovery), who crochets, knits, makes quilts, and made a lot of our clothes when we were growing up," said Ewry, whose living room is nearly dwarfed by a large loom her husband Mike got for her birthday a couple years ago.
    "He bought it second hand and it needed some repairs. He also made some new wood pieces and generally restored it. Right now I'm weaving blankets," said the stay-at-home mom as her daughters Marie, 3, and Heidi, 8 months, played nearby.
    The little girls also will make an appearance at the log cabin this year dressed in their own little pioneer clothes.
    "Marie was there for a while last year and seemed to like it. She sure is a natural greeter. She stood at the door and yelled at everybody to 'Come on in'," said Ewry who has been a civil war re-enactor since 1984 with the Northwest Territory Alliance.
    In fact, it was at a re-enactment at Fort Recovery several years ago that she met her husband, who's been a re-enactor for about 20 years.      "I think I was baking a pie in the cabin when he just happened to come through the door. We were married four years ago," she said.
    Ewry said she doesn't do as much baking for demonstrations now that she has children and concentrates more on hearth cooking.
    "Mike and I go over the night before and decorate the cabin with old-fashioned holiday things like ivy, apples, greenery. If we're feeling really ambitious, we'll string popcorn. We also put candles and cookies on the Christmas tree," she said.
    The tree cookies proved too tempting to one short guest a few years ago.
    "A little dog came in and squeezed through the railing around the tree and snatched a cookie off the tree. And, yes, I let him keep the cookie although I did chase him out of the cabin," she recalled.
    Visitors are drawn to the cabin by the aroma of good things cooking, but it's not a tasting party. Due to liability and insurance restrictions, it's an admire from afar scenario.
    "I cook two meals - a soup of something light for lunch and something slow cooking for supper, like a roast or sauerbrauten. Usually I invite family or local friends I haven't seen in a while for supper with us. But the food is never open to the public," she said.
    What's cooking for this year?
    "I honestly don't know yet. It will probably be a stew or soup of some
kind," she said.


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