BUILDING A CABIN
Back then when couples got married and planned a home, they found the land to build on, then friends and neighbors came and helped them build. With a good size group of people, a cabin could usually be put up in one day. This was often referred to as a "cabin raisin' "
On the appointed day they came, neighbors and friends, riding or afoot, to their holding the men with their rifles and axes, the women with their pots and kettles. Every child toddled along too, helping to carry the wooden dishes and spoons. These free givers of labor had something of the Orientals notion of the sacred ratification of friendship by a feast.
The usual dimensions of a frontier cabin were sixteen by twenty feet. The logs already cut and laying at hand, the builders labored all day. At noon, the ladies had a meal ready, their morning no less busy than the men's. The food was made in sufficient quantities there was enough for supper, when the day was done. The crimson sun sinking into the unknown wilderness beyond the mountains, poured its last glow on the roof of the cabin and on the group near it's walls. With unfelt fingers, subtlety, it painted a soft red touch of the west in the faces of the men.
In primitive design, this frontier cabin was, perhaps, after all, the perfect home a place where the personal life and the work life was united and nothing futile found space. Every object in the cabin was practical and had been made by hand on the spot to answer a need. Besides the chairs hewn from hickory blocks, there were others made of slabs set on three legs. A large slab or two with four legs served as a movable table; the permanent table was built against the wall, its outer edge held up by two sticks. The low bed was built into the wall the same way and was softened for slumber by a mattress of pine needles, chaff, or dried moss.
In the best light from the greased paper window panes stood the spinning wheel and loom, on which the housewife made cloth for the family's garments. Over the fireplace or beside the doorway, suspended usually by deer's antlers hung the firearms and yellow powder horns, On a shelf or on pegs were the wooden spoons, plates, bowls and noggons. Also near the fireplace, which was made of large flat stones with a mud plastered wood chimney, stood the grinding block for making hominy.
Cooking was done on the open hearth by the women who dressed the skins of wild animals and brought water from the springs in crude pails. They milked the cows, cut firewood, spun, wove, knit and washed the clothes, tended the bees, chickens, gardens, and kids while the men and boys worked the fields and hunted the game.
Submitted By Ethel Taylor
June 9, 2004
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