Fort Langley is the birthplace of BC; the Fort Langley National Historic Site of Canada is a popular attraction for visitors and locals. However, it was the BC Farm Museum that drew a friend and me to Fort Langley a couple weekends ago. We went to see my friend Kate’s exhibit called Handmade to Handheld. The exhibit was excellent; I was really struck by the way she contrasted the old handheld tools such as a butter churn with the modern day ones such as cell phones.
We also spent some time wandering through the museum itself, guided by volunteer and former farmer, Hugh. He turned on the windmill for us to make the water flow into the waterwheel. He explained how he’d revived an old generator using a metal beer keg he’d picked up on the side of the road. He sounded like more of an inventor or an engineer than a farmer. He told us the giant cauldron had many purposes. It was used to mix up the animal feed, boil the hair off pig skins and as a bathtub for all of the kids. He pointed to one of the carriages with a smile and confided that he had courted his wife in one just like it. Hugh farmed for many years – in his words, he grew everything. He made our tour so much more enjoyable and interesting, showing us treasures we might have missed, some of them, like the old red harness, were works of art. This museum is a gem, in no small part due to the dedicated volunteers like Hugh who run it.
We spent the rest of the afternoon poking around in Fort Langley. It’s a wonderful little town with cute shops and cafés. They have a cranberry festival coming up on October 6th; last year 70,000 people attended! If you head out that way, don’t miss the BC Farm Museum. They close for the season on October 14th.