The pics are of the Hutchinson Homestead, a restored mountain farm built in the med-19the century. This homestead is representative of the life and times of early settlers of the Stone Mountain area. Four generations of Hutchinsons lived and worked here. Before modern transportation became accessible to the area, this was a common practice in the North Carolina mountains.
Originally, red clay chinking was used on the house to tighten the walls against the weather. The clay was collected from a nearby stream bed ad mixed with water to a stiff consistency. Split boards were placed between the larger gaps between the logs for filler and the chinking was then packed into the cracks with the fingers.
The mud eventually fell out as it dried and shrank, or was broken up by mice, carpenter bees, or children, and re-chinking became necessary.
Inside the house, wooden slats were nailed over the chinked crack for additional protection for wind, rain and cold.
Log houses historically began as a one room cell and were often extended at a later date by the construction of another room.
The house was the most important part of the Hutchinson Homestead. It was here that the family prepared and ate the food, slept, and took shelter from the weather. The shape and size of the Hutchinson log cabin are the sum of the family’s needs, and the resources they had available to fill those needs-raw material at hand, tools to shape them, and people to use the tools, and cash to buy nails and other things the forest did not provide. The home was built in 1855, and originally consisted of only the north pen, which included a kitchen, bedroom, and upstairs loft.. In this tiny house John and Sidney raised 8 children. One of these children and his wife later added the south pen. To make room for their 8 children, they converted the original kitchen to a living room/be4droom and added an adjoining framed passageway, kitchen, and front porch.
Every mountain farm had a garden. The size varied, depending on the needs of the family. Garden vegetables were eaten fresh and also preserved for later use. Before home-canning, pickling and drying were the primary methods for preserving food. Some plants stored well for the winter in holes dug in the ground. They also used a variety of wild greens and berries.
Many wild plants were used for medicinal purposes
Meat house and tobacco loft This meat house was built by John around the time the log cabin was built. It served 3 purposed. As indicated by the salt-damaged logs, the back room of the building served as the meat house. The front room was a corncrib; the upstairs loft was where tobacco was hung and dried. The meat house protected one of the most valuable items on the mountain farm-the meat supply. Pork was the most common meat because hogs cost almost nothing to rise, the curing process was simple, and every part of the animal but the “oink” could be eaten. Salting and smoking were the most common means of reserving meat and protecting it from insects and bacteria.
Each spring John would plant four or five rows of tobacco. He‘d go through the field when the leaves began to turn golden and very carefully pick and tie them into bundles. He hung the bundles from the rafters of the roof. He’d go over his little patch several times during the summer until late August or early September when all the leaves had ripened,
Many farmers kept fires burning in the tobacco barn to cure their tobacco, but not John. In John’s day, this building had a tin roof. The tin got hot enough during the day to heat the room and cure the tobacco without a fire.
The hogs were killed in late November when the weather had turned cold to stay. Since there were no meat freezers in the mountains, they had to rely on the winter weather to keep the meat from spoiling while it cured. All the neighboring men did the hog killing together. They went from farm to farm until everyone in the valley had enough meat.
The barn was the place where the equipment and animals needed for survival were stored. The too A barn was so critical to a farm operation that is it was sometimes built before the house. All the tools were kept there. All the animals and their food were stored there.
Corn was the major food crop in the southern mountains, and it was stored in cribs. It was harvested by pulling the ears and tossing them onto a wagon driven through the field. The wagon was then pulled under the shed alongside the building (or inside the building in the case of this double corncrib0 and out of the weather. The farmers unloaded the corn into a big pile, and invited all the neighbors over for a corn shucking. As the corn was shucked, it was thrown into the crib through an opening near the top. When the corn was needed, it was removed through the smaller doors located lower down.,
Corn had to be thoroughly dried before being ground into meal; otherwise, it would gum up the millstone. For this reason, corncribs were always built with enough space between the logs to provide plenty of air circulation. They also tended to be as tall and skinny as possible.