Celebration of living history brings pioneer skills alive

By Katy Nesbitt, The Observer June 13, 2012 03:23 pm

Felting is one of the homesteading skills demonstrated at Flora School Days Saturday. The event also includes a quilt raffle and butter churning.
Felting is one of the homesteading skills demonstrated at Flora School Days Saturday. The event also includes a quilt raffle and butter churning.

12th annual Flora School Days takes place Saturday 

Days of old come once again to Flora School Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the 12th annual Flora School Days.

Children continue to be the center of attention at the celebration with candle making, grain grinding, butter churning and corn husk doll making. School Days brings together all this in the celebration of pioneer skills and the restoration of the Flora School.

New demonstrations of pioneer skills are in the works as always: building wagon wheels, games for children and adults alike, soap making with oils, rope making and more.

“Each year we try to show more pioneer skills and activities,” said Nathan Thompson, volunteer coordinator, “but it always depends on who is available and what they know, or sometimes what we can teach a volunteer to do in the time allotted.”

Old favorites of the Dutch-oven lunch, the country store, and the pie social continue to be part of the ever expanding activities, providing lunch and dessert for attendees wanting to savor the activities with a bite to eat.

The wood cook stove workers, Dave and Carole Deringer, will help with the grinding and churning while caring for the cornbread baking in the oven for the lunch.

They also manage to turn out a cobbler or two for the pie social from that same wood-stoked stove.

Ferdinand, the cob oven built during one of the Flora School Education Center’s 2011 classes, will only be for display this year, but should be baking for the 2013 celebration.

Pie social draws a crowd

Dessert, in the form of an old-fashioned pie social, brings everyone into the school to see the restoration and repair work in progress. Every year a bit more of the Flora School is pieced back together, much as a quilter takes a piece of cloth and sews it into a new creation.

With each School Days celebration that comes around, visitors will see more and more of the completed repairs and renovations such as the sewing room, which is almost restored and renovated to be used for sewing and craft activities, along with classes in the same.

The country store, held in the downstairs hallway and foyer, highlights the accomplishments there in the form of restoration along with handmade crafts from Pacific Northwest craftsmen.

The popular town tours via mule-drawn wagon will be back once again this year, giving the history inside and outside the town.

The schoolhouse quilt raffle will be revived once again with Kathy Brown from Washougal, Wash., working on the new quilt. Tickets will be sold while the quilt is nearing completion. The raffle will be at the June 15, 2013, School Days 2013.

School Days activities take place at the Flora School, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and are provided by the Flora School Education Center, a 501c3 tax-exempt organization dedicated to promoting folk arts and pioneer skills and to the restoration, repair and renovation of the school.

All demonstrators and workers are volunteers and no one receives any benefit from the center beyond “the good feeling you get,” as stated by one school board member, from helping to restore history in the shape of a school and the needed skills of the pioneers.

For more information on School Days, Flora School, becoming a volunteer/board member of the Flora School Education Center, call 541-828-7700 or leave a message at 541-828-7010 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it