Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Everyday life around the homestead...

Grandfather Tandy was a shoemaker and he tanned all his shoe leather from horse and cow hides. To make all the shoes needed for his family he had all sizes of wooden shoe lasts he carved. He used these lasts -a foot shaped form-for pattern and size. One of his neighbors lost a team of large mules and gave Tandy the hides to make into boots and he got a nice pair of new boots. Tandy made hundreds of little wooden pegs which he used to put the shoe soles on for all his shoes soles were put on with little wooden pegs as there wasn't a metal tack in any of the shoes he made.

They raised the flax that Narcissia spun the thread from to sew the shoes with. Flax is a blue flowered plant grown for its fiber. The flax was a source of linen as well as for the thread. Narcissia had two spinning wheels-one large and one small. She spun the thread and it was twisted and doubled and waxed to sew the shoes. A small awl or pointed tool was used to make holes in the leather. The thread was then pulled through those holes with a needle.

They raised sheep for the wool and cotton which Narcissa spun the thread which she wove into cloth to make the clothing for the family. She had a large loom she wove the cloth on and did her sewing by hand. She corded small bats from the wool and cotton to make the bed covers with. These bats were only about 8 x 12 and so it took a lot of them for a full size quilt. The quilts were much different to what we buy in the stores today.

Plenty of hogs were raised for butchering which was done at home. The heart and liver were well cooked and then put with the head meat which had been cooked well done and picked from the bone. This was all beat into a pulp with a wooden mallet. This was made into head cheese and mincemeat. Narcissa was said to be a champion mincemeat maker. The meat was washed and hung to dry after it's allotted time for salt curing then it was sell smoked with green hickory wood for so many hours each day. The sausage was packed into long muslin bags and smoked along with the meat. There was always plenty of meat butchered to last the family until butchering time next year.

There was no such thing as a refrigerator in those days so the milk and butter were hung in a bucket by a small rope in the well to keep it fresh. So all the water had to be drawn by adults so not to get it spilled into the well for if this did happen the well had to be cleaned out, which was no small job.

All the wood ashes were saved and put into a ash hopper and ran water through them for lye for making soap. Narcissia made all her soap both hard and soft soap. Tully Tandy used lots of soft soap in tanning of his hides for making the shoes for the family.

Tandy raised White Hickory King Corn , wheat, rye, barley and buck wheat which he took to the grist mill for the family bread. He also raised Sorghum Cane for a barrel of Sorghum. They also raised peanuts and popcorn for home use and in early Fall apples were taken to the Cider Mill and made into fresh Cider. After the family had drank their fill of the fresh, sweet sparkling cider the rest was kept for vinegar for home use. In late Fall there were always a large rick of potatoes, apples, cabbage and turnips and these were well covered with dirt.

Just inside the garden fence along three sides were tame Rhubarb sometimes called Pie Plant. There were also tame gooseberry bushes- the very large variety. So the family very often enjoyed good old Gooseberry, and Rhubarb and Mincemeat Pies and let's not forget the Pumpkin Pies which Narcissia always dried pumpkins for winter time pies.

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