PERU - The long history of farming hasn't been forgotten by two North Country men, and through one unique event, they've given people a glimpse of a place where others won't forget it either.
The former Leeward Babbie Farm on River Road welcomed dozens of people to a corn husking bee Dec. 13. The event was a chance for people to step back in time to the early 1900s when farmers would gather with their families, friends and neighbors for what was considered a "social occasion," said farmer Leeward C. Babbie.
"I have fond memories of doing this as a kid back in the early '40s," said Babbie. "We used to get a group together, sit in a barn with lanterns and just husk corn."
Babbie said corn husking was "a slow process," but was sufficient when farms were a fraction of the size they are today. The evolution of farm technology has helped expedite working the land, but socialization from events like husking bees has become a thing of the past.
"I just wanted to bring that back a little," said Babbie.
The husking bee was also part of a much bigger project Babbie hopes to get off the ground. Partnering with his nephew, Rick Laurin of Chazy, Babbie has plans to open the Babbie Rural and Farm Learning Museum on the site of his former dairy farm.
"We want to educate the kids, but instead of looking for pieces to be demonstrated, we want them to be able try some of them out," said Babbie, adding corn husking events like last Sunday's bee would be part of the experience.
"The thing with our museum is we want this to be interactive," said Laurin. "We're not like most museums. We actually want the kids to experience what it was like to work on a farm years ago."
Babbie and Laurin already have the majority of the artifacts they plan to feature in the museum, including vintage tractors, sleighs, and a wide selection of other farm equipment and tools restored to working condition.
The two have already submitted paperwork to the New York State Board of Regents to become a certified museum, which Laurin hopes will be approved as early as next month. When the certification is granted, he said, the work to prepare the museum to open will really begin.
"We're looking forward to it," said Laurin. "This is something we've both been interested for years and years."
"It's our dream and it's becoming a reality," said Babbie.