photos by Sabalou
In The Appalachian Mountains Of Kentucky
|The David McKenzie house was likely built in 1860. These
were hard times but good times too. In those days a well-built
house was constucted around the well to protect the water from
animals, to protect the small children playing in the yard and near
the home to make it easy to draw a bucket of water. And of course
Moutain Music was ever present! When you visit you shall hear some
as you retreat in time to the days of McKenzie Farmstead!
You have heard of the one-room school, the little red
schoolhouse? Well that was only partly true here in Appalachia.
One-room school? Yes! But they were not painted red, they were
mostly white or of unpainted logs. Students in those days used
goose-quill pens and ink made from elderberry juice. The furniture
was constructed of logs and was not conducive to the students'
comfort. The schoolhouse was also used for other events such as
town meetings or just plain fun gatherings.
||When you come to visit, Jeff and Abe, our friendly oxen,
will be happy to show off for you. One of the most important crops
raised was cane sorghum. It was extracted by mule power and boiled
in cauldrons until syrupy . Corn was grown as feed for the animals
and to grind into meal for the family. Hay was also a necessity for
the animals. There was a separate area for a garden where
vegetables were grown to be used by the family.
||Faith is the heart of Appalachia! Faith and culture were and
still are linked by the tightest of bonds. Fishtrap Church was a
constant supply of faith and security in the face of poverty,
disease, and the unpredictable elements of Appalachian life. The
church has a wide variety of pews scattered throughout, one dates
back to 1851. Portable oil lamps were used for light. Heat came
from a coal-burning pot-bellied stove. Services were held the first
Saturday and Sunday of each month. Baptism was done in creeks and
rivers, even in the winter.
|The crib barn stored the bounty of the land, keeping animals
and people alive and fed throughout the year. Hay was stored in the
loft for the animals, also making a wondrous place for children to
dream and play. The hog lot was where the hogs stayed to fatten
them up before butchering time. Hog killing was a once-a-year event
when it got cold enough to keep the pork from spoiling.
||Fire, air, earth and water were once considered to be the
four elemental substances of our world. In the early years, only
the blacksmith worked with all four. His forge held the fire and
his bellows controlled the air to his purpose. His material, iron,
the black metal, was part of the earth, and water was essential to
cool his heated iron and give temper to the red-hot steel. The
blacksmith was well respected not only for his strength but for his
intelligence and imagination for making the wide variety of items
that was used by the township. His most important function was
supplying the tools of civilization and war.
The grist mill was essential to the working farm. It was used to
grind the corn into meal for the use of the family. We are now in
the planning stage of adding a mule-powered grist mill and hope to
have this completed soon.
Today we have demonstrations using a mule to remove the sorghum
from the cane, this occurs during
Paintsville's Apple Day Celebration which is the first Saturday in