Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Visit to the Farm Museum

  On Saturday we went to the old Appalachian Farm Museum. The Museum is made up of old farm buildings, that would have otherwise been torn down, and combined them into to one "farm". All of the buildings were saved from actual old farms in the surrounding area.

     The first  building is an old farmhouse that is similar to our house at Sweet Summer Farm.  It is called the Davis House. It was built by John E. Davis. He started building it in 1899. He had been farming in the area for about ten years. He spent about two years building his new home. He built this house for his family, his wife and his seven children. His last three children were born in that house.  Mr. Davis built his house out of logs even though  sawmill-lumber was readily available. Davis built his house using a technique called matched logs. It is where you take a log that is hewed flat on two sides, then split in half along its length to produce two building logs. They were then used in "matching" positions on opposite walls.

 An old smoke house is also on display. The smoke house was usually the closest building to the house not because of easy access, but just to be able to keep it safe from wild animals. Most families raised hogs. The hogs could have many large litters each year and could be turned out to forage in the near by woods. The meat could be preserved with salt and smoke and keep for long periods of time. This would help ensure the family's meat supply.

 The wood shed is a replica of the Davis shed.  They also  had an Ash Hopper. Ash Hoppers were used to store ashes from stoves and fireplaces  I bet most people have never seen one. Ashes were used to control some pests in the garden. But most important the ashes were used to produce lye so that they could make soap.
    They also had a corn crib, except theirs wasn't leaning to one side like ours. But we learned that the style of corn crib we have was a corn crib and gear shed combination. Corn was a very useful crop to grow. First of all, you could eat it cooked, you could dry it and grind it up to make cornmeal out of it, you can make it into hog, chicken, horse, any kind of animal food, and you could also trade it for other goods.

    They had an apple house that was used to store their apples in the winter. Apples were a great thing to grow in the mountains because the cooler climate in the mountains made for better growing conditions for the apples. Also, apples provided many different uses you can eat them, you could make them into apple cider, apple vinegar, apple sauce, apple butter, and of course apple pies. Also, apple slices could be dried to use later. Some would also use sulfur smoke to help preserve them. t
The sulfur smoke would get rid of any bacteria. Where the apple house originally was built into the side of a mountain which would keep the apples protected from hot summers and cold winters, and also because from the hill you could just walk right into the top floor! They stored the apples in the apple house until they took them to market.

      Then we saw some bee gums. Honey was a very useful thing to have on a farm. It is a great sweetener, It could replace sugar if you didn't have any. You could also trade or sell honey. Black Gum trees were most commonly used because they were usually hollow. They were called "bee gums" because of they had hinged lid and a wooden bottom. Which were storage containers called "gums" to store food and other goods. We hope to get bees at our farm next year, but I think we will go with traditional bee hives   

      There is also a beautiful old barn, a blacksmith shop, a springhouse, gardens with interesting fences, and of course a chicken coop.  We really enjoyed going through the displays inside and the gift shop. If you get the chance you should visit the Mountain Farm Museum. It is located just outside of Cherokee NC on the way to Gatlinburg TN                                                                                                                  
Appalachian Farmhouse

Big old barn

The ash hopper

The bee gums

The smoke house

The empty garden just some herbs on the edge next to the fence

An old chicken coop

 Apple house

An interesting fence design

 Old corn crib that is the same style as the one on our farm

The old blacksmith shop

 Old spring house