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Author Topic: Lost Cities and Civilizations  (Read 139076 times)

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Re: Lost Cities and Civilizations
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2014, 10:33:54 pm »
When fire really was renewable energy   

Home Life in Colonial Days

Alice Morse EARLE (1851 - 1911)



Many of our New England poets have given us glimpses in rhyme of the old-time kitchen. Lowell's well-known lines are vivid enough to bear never-dying quotation:—[73]

"A fireplace filled the rooms one side
With half a cord of wood in—

There warn't no stoves (tell comfort died)
To bake ye to a puddin'.

"The wa'nut log shot sparkles out
Towards the pootiest—bless her!

An' little flames danced all about
The chiny on the dresser.

"Agin the crumbly crooknecks hung,
An' in amongst 'em rusted

The old queen's-arm that granther Young
Fetched back from Concord busted."

To me the true essence of the old-time fireside is found in Whittier's Snow-Bound. The very chimney, fireplace, and hearthstone of which his beautiful lines were written, the kitchen of Whittier's boyhood's home, at East Haverhill, Massachusetts, is shown in the accompanying illustration. It shows a swinging crane. His description of the "laying the fire" can never be equalled by any prose:—

"We piled with care our nightly stack
Of wood against the chimney back—

The oaken log, green, huge, and thick,
And on its top the stout back-stick;

The knotty fore-stick laid apart,
And filled between with curious art[74]

The ragged brush; then hovering near,
We watched the first red blaze appear,

Heard the sharp crackle, caught the gleam
On whitewashed wall and sagging beam,

Until the old, rude-furnished room
Burst, flower-like, into rosy bloom."

No greater picture of homely contentment  :emthup:could be shown than the following lines:—

"Shut in from all the world without,
We sat the clean-winged hearth about,[75]

Content to let the north wind roar
In baffled rage at pane and door,

While the red logs before us beat
The frost-line back with tropic heat;

And ever, when a louder blast
Shook beam and rafter as it passed,

The merrier up its roaring draught
The great throat of the chimney laughed.

The house dog on his paws outspread
Laid to the fire his drowsy head,

The cat's dark silhouette on the wall
A couchant tiger's seemed to fall;

And, for the winter fireside meet,
Between the andirons' straddling feet

The mug of cider simmered slow,
And apples sputtered in a row.

And, close at hand, the basket stood
With nuts from brown October's woods.

What matter how the night behaved!
What matter how the north wind raved!

Blow high, blow low, not all its snow
Could quench our hearth-fire's ruddy glow."

Nor can the passing of years dim the ruddy glow of that hearth-fire, nor the charm of the poem. The simplicity of metre, the purity of wording, the gentle sadness of some of its expressions, make us read between the lines the deep and affectionate reminiscence with which it was written.   

Agelbert NOTE: Did you know many of the early New England Colonists lived in CAVES!!?  :P Ya didn't? Why not? Oh, you must have taken the American History that left that part out.  ;D And you thought cave people were just from the stone age, didn't ya? 

How about the fact that the Franklin Stove was an idea that Ben got from the Germans who knew how to keep ALL the house warm instead of just the kitchen? In Dutch and English homes, prior to the use of a stove for heating and cooking, standing water would freeze in the bedrooms during the harsher parts of the winter.  :o  Yep. The Dutch and the English, after they moved out of the caves  ;D (they should have picked up on how efficient passive geothermal heat is but they missed that...),  were freezing their arses off in winter for nearly a century until the Germans brought their "new fangled" stove/heating device to the colonies.

Until then, everybody just cooked IN (not ON) the hearth. Forget all those pretty pictures of tidy, bricked fireplaces framed with a nice mantelpiece. ALL that came later.

The fireplace tongs and such were VERY long to keep the cook from getting roasted while she positioned the food here and there. And most, and often ALL, of the pots, pans and "Dutch ovens" had legs!

And get this! The town councils had to offer home owners to replace ALL THE NAILS in the houses when a person moved in order to keep people from burning down their homes in order to "harvest" the nails for use on the next house! Nails were rather expensive, you see. England was NOT fond of colonies being able to make their own "high tech" stuff.   

Do you want to know more? You can listen or read this book free and learn how it was REALLY done way back when. For those who think there is a future of going back to nature of the "collapse", this is a valuable education in the nuts and bolts of basic, low tech, but still civilized, living. ENJOY!

Audiobook here:

E-book here:
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37


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