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Georgia On My Mind, Part 7

Every homestead required a source of water. This farm was situated on a small stream — just perfect.

Water from the stream was channeled to the springhouse where it continued its flow in a hollowed out log or a rock-lined channel (then back to the stream). Obviously, this was their source of drinking water but also used for perishable foods such as dairy products which could be stored in the trough, "refrigerated" by the cool water flowing around them.

Containers of less perishable foods could also be stored in the structure, particularly during warm weather. The building also protected the foods from animals.

This springhouse also doubled as a laundry.

Pigs were the primary source of meat on mountain farms. They could produce several large litters of offspring each year, which helped insure the family's supply of meat. The meat was relatively easy to preserve, usually by salt. Lard was produced from the fat and used for cooking and the making of soap.

Pigs were so self-sufficient that they could be turned out into the woods to forage for themselves. Farmers cut unique patterns of notches in the pigs╩╗ ears to identify ownership. Most butchering was done in the fall.

Once the pigs were butchered, their meat was salted to preserve it (note the hollowed out log which was probably used for that purpose) then hung from the ceiling. Some farms would then smoke the meat by using a small fire filling the structure with cool smoke which helped both with the preservation and also provided that smoky flavor that some ham has even today.

Pigs were not the only animals kept at the homestead. Chickens provided both meat and eggs for the pioneer family.

Here is another horse-drawn farm implement, this one is a tiller for breaking up the soil prior to planting.

Next on the tour is a corn crib. Corn was a very important crop since it fed both humans and livestock. When the corn initially ripened, it could be consumed on the cob as we often eat it today during the summer along side our burgers and steaks.

Corn which has been in the field long enough for the kernels to dry out and become hard is fed directly to animals but can also be ground up and used to make corn bread, mush, etc.

This tiny structure is an ash hopper which was used to store ashes from fireplaces and stoves until there was enough to make a "run" of lye. Water was poured through the ashes, leaching out the alkali — the liquid captured was lye, which was used in the making of soap.

Continuing our exploration of the Georgia hills, we encountered numerous small waterfalls that had iced over. Quite picturesque, n'est-pas?

A bit further and we began to encounter breath-taking views.

We were close to the Smoky Mountains — these must be their cousins.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com