What’s that Noise?

NOTICE: PRESERVATION@WORK Geothermal drilling will commence no earlier than 8:30 a.m. and will cease no later than 6 p.m. each day Oct. 2-6. Noise and vibration are to be expected.

Work on the Centre Family Dwelling and Meeting House has begun! And with that comes chainlink fences, construction equipment and loud noises. Sounds lovely, right? Actually, it really is! It’s the sound of preservation@work—work that will extend the lives of these two buildings, work that will prepare them for new interpretive experiences, work that would make the Shakers proud. So, while your Shaker Village experience will be different for the next year, we ask that you embrace this project and use it as a learning opportunity. During the next 12 months, our daily adventures schedule will feature special tours and activities highlighting the work being done on both buildings. We want you to be a part of this village@work project. Come see what’s happening! Ask questions, take a tour or read more here.

First up on the to-do list is drilling wells for the geothermal heating and cooling system.

Q: What are geothermal wells?
A: Geothermal wells are wells that tap into the natural energy found beneath the Earth. These wells will be attached to water source heat pumps inside the buildings, which maintain stable indoor temperatures.

Q: How does a geothermal system work?
A: The surface of the Earth can get quite cold or hot at times. The area beneath the Earth’s crust has a relatively stable temperature and geothermal energy utilizes this heat to provide heating or cooling for structures.

Q: How many wells are we drilling?
A: 36 total—24 for the Centre Family Dwelling and 12 for the Meeting House.

Q: How deep are the wells?
A: 380-400 feet!

Q: How are the wells connected to the building?
A: Each well has “unicoil” of pipe inside the well, a “supply” and “return in the shape of a U.” Each well is inter-connected into a pipe system, known as the “loop.” The main supply and return pipes are connected to pumps inside the building. This is known as a “closed loop” system. The system is sealed so no fluid is exchanged with the environment.

Q: What’s in the pipes?
A: The pipes are filled with glycol, a fluid similar to antifreeze in your car. The fluid doesn’t freeze and can transfer heat better than ordinary water.

Q: So how does it all work?
A: In winter, the system collects the Earth’s natural heat through the loop. The fluid circulates through the loop and carries the heat to the building. There, an electrically-driven compressor and a heat exchanger concentrate the heat and release it inside the building at a higher temperature. Ductwork distributes the heat to different rooms. In summer, the process is reversed. The loop draws excess heat from the building and allows it to be absorbed by the Earth.

Q: Isn’t it expensive?
A: The short answer is yes. Creating the infrastructure of wells and piping is a cost we have chosen to incur. We also have to create duct work and piping on the building interiors to distribute the heat or air conditioning. Our design team worked tirelessly to do this in ways that are sympathetic to the buildings so the systems are mostly hidden. When we are finished, you will have to look really hard to see where we added them.

Q: Why did Shaker Village choose geothermal?
A: Part of Shaker Village’s mission is to be good stewards of our resources. Geothermal helps us do this in two ways. First, geothermal heat pump systems are more than three times as efficient as the most economical furnace. Instead of burning a combustible fuel to create heat, a ground-source system uses the earth’s energy as heat. Geothermal systems provide three to four units of energy for every one unit used to power the system’s compressor, fan and water pump. The U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency identify geothermal as having the lowest environmental impact of all heating systems. Secondly, geothermal systems are able to reach very high efficiencies. For example, geothermal heat pump can be up to 600 percent efficient on the coldest days of the year—a normal air source heat pump will only be 175-200 percent efficient on cool days—meaning the geothermal system is using far less electricity than a comparable heat pump, furnace or air conditioner. Thus, this installation will help us save financial resources in the long run on our purchase of electricity.

This project has been in the works for decades. The systems installed during the 1960s in the Centre Family Dwelling and Meeting House  should’ve lasted 25-30 years, but we extended the life of those systems 50 years. Now, it’s time to dedicate the time and resources necessary to prolong the lives of these buildings for the next generation. When we are finished, guests will have a better experience inside the buildings during hot or cold days—regulating the temperature and humidity inside the building help us preserve the buildings and allow us to display furniture and textiles that are too fragile for non-climate controlled spaces. Some big long-term wins for a few weeks of noise and dust.

Preservation work is never completed—ongoing repair, maintenance and upkeep is critical for the sustainability of this site. Thanks to your donations and site revenue, projects like this are possible.


William Updike is the vice president for natural and cultural resource management…

How does Shaker Village inspire you? Five ways to show your support.

Shaker Village is on a mission to inspire generations through discovery by sharing the legacies of the Kentucky Shakers. But, what does that mean really? We are a village at work, of great work. Storytellers educate children and adults. Farmers and chefs build healthy foodscapes. Naturalists restore rare habitats. Craftsmen preserve irreplaceable architecture. Archivists care for priceless collections. And SO much more.

Has our work inspired you? We hope so! If not, give us a chance and we will make you proud. We rely on people like you to keep this place going, to continue to make great things happen here.

We asked some of our donors why you should support us:

“Shaker Village is a jewel right here in Central Kentucky. It is up to us to carry it forward.” -Ms. Barbara Hulette, Danville, Ky.

“I live near Shaker Village and love the property. It’s wonderful that Shaker Village allows people to come hike, ride and learn the history of the Shakers. I want to help keep it going. I would love to see Shaker Village continue on for many generations to enjoy.” -Dr. Leigh DeLair, Harrodsburg, Ky.

“I feel like a piece of my soul resides at Pleasant Hill.  I always want it to be there.” -Mr. James Spragens, Lebanon, Ky.

Help us keep it going. Tell your friends about Shaker Village. Like us on Facebook (we post cute pictures of baby animals)! Sign up for our email list. Visit the online shop. Take full advantage of all 3,000 acres and what they have to offer. Here are five easy ways to show your support now:

  1. Text INSPIRE to 501501 to donate $25. It’s quick and easy!
  2. Donate online.
  3. Visit us! Come see the real work that happens here. Attend a special event or workshop or just come for the day and enjoy the tours and sights. There’s plenty to keep you busy around here. Check out our calendar.
  4. Become an Annual Passholder. We’ll get your support and you’ll get free admission and other perks. Plus, we’ll get to see you more often!
  5. Learn more about our nonprofit mission and the legacies we strive to share. Check out our website or call Melissa in the development office to learn about giving options (859.734.1547).

Wendy K. Smith, Chief Development Officer

 

Fall Favorites

Ok, so you’ve probably heard us say that every season at Shaker Village is our favorite. We’ve found it to be somewhat impossible to choose a favorite. BUT, there is something about fall at Shaker Village that gets us all excited. Of course, you’ll need to come and see for yourself, but here are some recommendations from our staff:

Kentucky knows how to do fall, and the best can be found here at Shaker Village!
Whitney Franklin, Director of Event Sales and Services

My favorite thing about fall around here is the trees! They are fabulous with all the colors.
Rosemary Helm, Warehouse Retail Coordinator

This is my first fall at Shaker Village, but I know program staff have been working hard on the Spirit Strolls that kick off Labor Day Weekend. We are all excited to share with guests stories relating to Shaker spirituality, while taking a lamp-lit, guided walk through the Village. As August winds down, I’m eager to see these lovely maple trees lining the turnpike blaze up in their autumn colors. Come share the happenings with us this season!
Bekah RobertsFarm Program Specialist

My top recommendations for guests is hiking the Chinquapin Trail to see the transition from late summer to fall. The native grasses will be going dormant and changing from green to golden brown (especially Little Bluestem). The Indian grass in The Preserve is one of the later ones to seed out with a long golden seed head and is easily identifiable by that trait. The portion of trail that runs through the wooded area has lots of oaks and hickories, making it a great place to observe squirrels caching food for the winter and whitetail deer foraging for acorns, all while hearing the Shawnee Run Creek in the background. People should visit in the fall to see Shaker Village at its best. The landscape, buildings and overall ambiance of the area—in combination with sweatshirt weather—add up to a great weekend trip.
Ben Leffew, Preserve Manager

The Halloween event is at the top of my fall favorites. Just to see the kids and the adults all dressed up and coming down the turnpike is always fun. Everyone has such a great time Trick-or-Treating and strolling down the lane in such a laid back atmosphere.
Mary Drummer, Staff Accountant

Book a room and bring your hiking boots. Spend the day on the trails, then have a bourbon while you sit in an Adirondack chair by the fire.
Wendy Smith,
Director of Development

My favorite things is the crisp air and wagon rides! There’s nothing like listening to the leaves crunch under the wagon wheels while enjoying the rich history at Shaker Village.
Gabriella Kreinbrook, Equine and Stable Assistant

The Fall Palisades Paddle is a must! Traveling down the quiet, peaceful Dix River at the height of the fall foliage restores the soul (and it’s good exercise too—but not too strenuous!)
Melissa Donahoo, Development Associate


This is a village at work, and great work happens here every day. Join our team!


A Shaker Village adventure is waiting for you! Make plans to visit this fall!

Stargazing Poets and Humbug Farmers

Lithograph of the Lick Observatory and telescope mentioned in a sermon printed in The Manifesto in 1891. Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The Shakers were no strangers to celestial phenomena like the solar eclipse that will cast fleeting darkness over portions of states from South Carolina to Oregon—including Kentucky—on August 21. Their journals recount star patterns, moon phases, comet sightings, and solar and lunar eclipses. To some Shakers, the spectacles of space exemplified core principles of Shaker theology and culture like order, union and harmony; to others it was seen as nonsensical and foolish. Nonetheless, regardless of whether the majority of Shakers were supporters or skeptics of astronomy, records in the archives show cosmological rhetoric made its way into their schools, journals, eulogies, poetry and farming practices.

SHAKER STARGAZERS

Unable to ignore the many astronomical wonders of the night sky, the Pleasant Hill Shakers recorded sightings of cosmic marvels ranging from eclipses and comets to moon irregularities. In each instance, they noted specific details about the time of day, duration, totality and any remarkable characteristics of the astronomical occurrences they observed:

  • March 19, 1843 At this time there is a comet to be seen which appeared about a week ago. It has an extraordinary long tail stretching nearly halfway across the hemisphere toward the south though not very brilliant (sic). It appears to be a stranger to astronomers.
  • March 25, 1857 The sun was eclipsed this eve. visable only for 8 or 10 minutes.
  • December 6, 1862 Last night we had a total eclipse of the moon.
  • August 7, 1869 At ½ past five o’clock in the evening the sun was total eclipsed.
  • June 24, 1881 There is a large comet now to be seen in the N.E. [non periodic comet] We see it best at 3 in the morning than any other time.
  • October 4, 1882 A Comet is to be Seen at this time in an easterly direction. East South East. between 4 & 5 oclock A.M. among the longest & most brilliant ever Yet Seen  A beautiful Sight!
  • February 24, 1897 The moons of Feb & March have laid on their backs and it has rained nearly the whole time in these two months.
  • May 28, 1900 Sun in eclipse from 6:30 to 8:30 A.M. about 9/10 totality. 

In 1866 and 1867, the Pleasant Hill Shakers recorded instances of seeing a “big circle” and “bright circle” around the moon—an optical phenomenon called a lunar halo in which the light cast onto the moon’s surface by the sun refracts through ice crystals in the Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in an eerie ring.

ASTRONOMY + SHAKER AGRICULTURE

The Shakers were very much in-tune with natural and celestial cycles and used their knowledge of astronomy—and, in some cases, astrology—to inform their agricultural practices. In a report written on behalf of the Mount Lebanon Shakers in July 1898, Calvin G. Reed tells how, at the recommendation of astronomers, the community had taken up a “free journey on the earth’s stupendous railway,” during which they observed six signs of the zodiac, including Leo. While they found “the Lion’s breath rather too hot for unalloyed comfort” in July, by September, the Shakers record a change in the seasons and agricultural schedule in a direct correlation to the stars, explaining, “this is the harvest season of the year as the constellation Libra or the Scales denotes, the season of gathering in the fruits of the earth.”[i]

Though not always pleased with the results, the Pleasant Hill Shakers placed a degree of confidence in the authority of almanacs, from which they gleaned weather forecasts, planting charts, tide tables and astronomical informational upon which to base their agricultural decisions. In August 1857, one journal keeper reflected upon the Almanac’s predictions of rain during the last quarter of the moon, troubled that if it rained as much as the publication claimed it would, based upon the moon phase, it would be “almost impossible” for them to thrash their grain.[ii]

ASTRONOMY + SHAKER SKEPTICS

While many Shakers found astronomy relevant in the realms of education, creative writing and farm work, not everyone was persuaded. Maintaining the belief that astral bodies had no effect on what happened on the earth below, some Pleasant Hill Shakers—particularly farmers—were adamant critics, filling journal pages with ridicule at any notion suggesting agriculturalists should put their trust in astronomical or astrological events. Particularly skeptical, farmer and journal keeper James Levi Ballance sized-up the influences of the moon on the Earth in these ways:

“…it is very inconsistent to imagine the moon has any influence over the weather….The moon must be very smart to make it rain or snow here and at the same time not suffer it to rain or snow there. The tides are also partial and local and of course they are not under the influence of the moon.”[i]

“Common sense and stubborn facts should have done away with the moon making it rain many years ago.”[ii]

“It did not rain at our farm 4 miles above us, there was a little sprinkle and here we were thoroughly saturated with water, they must have had a different moon from ours or else there is no truth in the moon making it rain (all a humbug).”[iii]

ASTRONOMY + SHAKER VILLAGE TODAY

The archival records at Shaker Village indicate the Shakers were just as intrigued by the wonders of space as modern spectators are today. While not within the “path of totality,” guests who visit Shaker Village on the day of the Great American Eclipse will be able to experience a partial eclipse with about 96 percent obscuration. Those planning to view the eclipse from the Village are reminded to bring proper eye protection to wear for the entire duration of the event.


Visit Shaker Village on August 21 during the Great American Eclipse and throughout the year. Join us for $5 after 5:00 programs or plan your own stargazing adventure at the Amphitheatre.

Emálee Krulish, Archivist


[i] “Notes about Home,” Calvin G. Reed, The Manifesto, Vol. 28, No. 11, November 1898
[ii] Journal, April 1, 1854-March 31, 1860, Bohon Shaker Collection, Volume 11, Filson Historical Society
[i] Journal, April 1, 1860-December 31, 1866, Bohon Shaker Collection, Volume 12, Filson Historical Society
[ii] Journal, November 23, 1871-July 31, 1880, Bohon Shaker Collection, Volume 14, Filson Historical Society
[iii] Journal, April 1, 1860-December 31, 1866, Bohon Shaker Collection, Volume 12, Filson Historical Society

Recipe: Zucchini + Squash Pickles

We have an abundance of patty-pan squash coming in from the garden this year, and we hear we aren’t the only ones. It seems to be a very productive year for garden veggies! Right now, our garden team is harvesting 30-40 pounds of summer squash every other day!

The abundance doesn’t stop there. Our butternut winter squashes have produced with equal vigor and have ripened earlier than expected. The beets are in, the garlic has been dug and sorted, and the tomatoes, basil, peppers, okra and eggplant harvests are ramping up! It doesn’t get much better than enjoying late summer crops from the garden.

That means The Trustees’ Table has to get creative with how fresh ingredients are getting prepared on a daily basis. Here’s one of our favorite ways to serve the fresh squash and zucchini:

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 qt. apple cider vinegar

1/2 qt. water

1 1/4 c. sugar

1 tbsp. red pepper flakes

1 tbsp. fennel seed

1 tbsp. mustard seeds

1 tbsp. dry mustard

1 bulb fennel, sliced and tops rough chopped

6 large zucchini, sliced into 1/8-thick rounds

1 onion, thinly sliced

1/4 c. Kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

Bring vinegar, water, sugar, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, dry mustard and mustard seeds to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar.

Toss zuchinni and salt in a large bowl and let stand until zucchini releases moisture, 30-35 minutes. Drain squash, add fennel and onion. Pour pickling liquid over vegetables to submerge and stir. Cover and chill at least 12 hours. Enjoy!


In the Shaker tradition, our farmers take pride in planting, tending and harvesting sustainably-grown fruits, vegetables and herbs, destined to end up on your plate at The Trustees’ Table.

J. Steven Brockman is the executive chef. A south central Nebraska native, he grew up surrounded by the corn and soybeans of his grandparents’ farm…

Dylan Kennedy is the farm manager. An avid mountain biker and traveler, he has farmed as far and wide as Foxhollow Farm in Oldham County (Kentucky) to New Orleans…