Learning how to forge iron marshmallow sticks, or mastering the art of growing mushrooms on a log might not be deemed necessary skills, but they sure were a heck of a lot of fun to master by women who participated in Saturday’s “Best” of the Women’s Creative Workshop at the historic Crook Farm.

The annual event, sponsored by Bradford Landmark Society, taught more than 60 women a number of skills that also included knitting, wine making, creating book safes, the art of napkin folding, yoga, woodburning, drawing, glass etching and pounding plants to create artwork, among others.

Molly Lindahl, Bradford Landmark genealogy researcher, said the program, which has been offered the past six years, serves as a fundraiser while providing awareness for the organization and historic farm on Seaward Avenue in Bradford.

“It’s been very successful (as a fundraiser), there’s been a lot of planning, but it’s been something (in addition to) the Crook Farm Fair,” Lindahl said of the longtime fair that also serves as a fundraiser. “This goes into the general fund for the everyday expenses” at Bradford Landmark.

Bradford Landmark curator Sally Costik has also stated the event often attracts mothers and daughters, sisters and friends who want to spend a day together to learn new skills, expand their knowledge, make new friends and have a great time.

Participants of the daylong workshop included Maggie Vincent of Shinglehouse who was learning how to grow mushrooms on a log from master gardeners.

“We’re drilling holes in logs and putting in a combination of sawdust, water and spawns” in the holes to grow mushrooms, Vincent explained. “Then we cover that with wax” to prevent the mixture from drying out

Vincent said she and her mother have attended the workshop the past four or five years and really enjoy the event.

“We always try something different each year,” she added.

One of the master gardeners teaching the class, Richard Putnam, said participants of the group should be able to grow shiitake mushrooms, if they follow the directions when they take their logs home.

Nearby at the blacksmith shop, Bruce Osgood was found teaching a group of women some basic techniques of blacksmithing as well as how to create iron-forged marshmallow roasting sticks using the Crook Farm forge.

One of the students, Linda Wilcox of Bradford, said it was her first experience to learn how to forge iron, let alone make a “fancy” marshmallow stick. She was at the class with her daughter, Michele Backus.

“This is fun and we have an excellent teacher,” Wilcox said. On top of that, she said they definitely plan to use their marshmallow sticks at their next campfire.

“Are you kidding, after all the hard work we put into it,” she said with a laugh.

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at kates_th@yahoo.com. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)

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