fall and the hogs are slaughtered and the meat is preserved. You are
watching the wife and kids finishing canning. Jellies and jams are
being prepared on the “cook stove” in the kitchen and water is
boiling in the old wash tub, in the back yard, to can the green
beans. As you sit on the back porch chewing your tobacco you watch
the youngest of your children clean the last of the vegetables for
“end of the garden salad”. You like that salad to go with salt pork,
pinto beans and cornbread on a cold winter night because it reminds
you of spring. Spring! The time to rake the winter clutter of the
garden and go “green picken”. All the neighbors say that your old
women (wife regardless of age) can spy ramps, tangle gut and joe pie
a mile away. It’s a good thing because the only greens you “know”
are the turnip greens that sprout in the garden and polk salad. It
will be a long time till March.
reason you look toward the green beans hanging at the end of the
porch, hanging there and drying in the air so “shuck beans” or
“leather britches” can be enjoyed at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Your world revolves around these holidays and you take a minute to
talk to God. You know that you can’t pray out loud as long as some
of those people at the association meetings or sing a sermon for
three hours like some preachers can do, but you know He listens. How
did you learn this?
have been a life time of getting up early, eating wholesome food and
drinking water from the spring while working hard in the clean air.
You always enjoyed taking a break about mid morning to watch the fog
rise from the valley floor so she always packed an extra square of
cornbread with a piece of pork for you to have. You drink water with
your snack, coffee was used sparingly because obtaining it took a
long ride on horse back from Delbarton to Williamson and cash money.
Suddenly you thought about money, money for the doctor, for flour
and spices, nails, shoes, school supplies and food if it ran out
during the winter.
that you have saved back enough money for the winter and you know
that if there is a problem the neighbors will help. It takes a while
to walk to your closest neighbor and a long ride to reach others but
you are thankful for them. You always let visitors share your table
and sleep in the barn, so you could help them and hear the latest
news. If a neighbor falls sick and needs help with the chores or if
a barn needs raised or house built, every one pitches in. The kids
are safe because everyone watches out for them. Boys of various ages
can play in the same ball game since the big guys give the little
ones a chance and they will watch out for them like a father. Money
on the other hand is every ones safety net and hard to come by.
Best not to depend on the neighbors for money.
all this thinking you realize that the family’s cash supply is
replenished with the spring rain as well and, as always, you look to
go to the barn to get your log stamp and to clean the grease of the
old cross cut saw, you remember putting grease on it so it wouldn’t
rust but does it need sharpened? This winter that oldest boy can
help! He spent all last year laying behind the cook stove with his
school books and an oil lamp studying for his final test. He did
score pretty high on his exams and now he has graduated from the
eighth grade! If we had roads and more schools that boy could give
anybody’s child, any where, a run for their money.
log this winter just like last winter. The crosscut saw is used to
make a level cut to nearly the center of the log on the side facing
the direction that you want it to fall, use the ax to cut a notch
above the saw cut and then from the other side, start a level saw
cut 2 or 3 inches above the first cut. Before the last cut reaches
the center of the log the tree will begin to lean. Don’t forget to
run, the end of the log can kick back and branches can break off.
The logs will be stamped on their ends, and with the help of the
neighbors, dragged over saplings laid across their path to the
sandbars for the spring floods to carry them to Naugutuck. From
there they will float down the Tug Fork to the long boom at Lousia.
The nagging feeling that someone caught some of your logs, dehorned
them by cutting the ends off, and re-stamped them always comes back.
big yellow poplars up there in the left branch would fetch a good
price at Lousia if you can get them there and get credit for them.
Suddenly you remember the big singing convention this summer. Now
that was something! The whole family mounted up and rode across
Buffalo and Sycamore mountain to Williamson. You managed to get
there before they let the cables down at the ford so the steamboat
could get to the Mouth of Pond. (The site of this ford was located
near where the end of Pike Street is today.)
a beautiful evening sitting on a quilt, pulling pieces of chicken
and pie out of that big wicker picnic basket, funny, your favorite
was always cold baked potatoes with saltine crackers and lemonade
from that old crock that kept it cool. That old fellow from Johns
Creek was a talker but what he said makes a lot of sense to you now.
If they wanted to splash logs out of a branch having a very small
flow they would lay two logs across the stream with one being higher
and a little down stream of the other. After a walk way was
constructed behind the upper log a wall of 2 x 3 inch timber was
placed across them to make a dam. They would blow it up after all
the logs were floating. Now there is black powder left over from
working the coal bank this summer.
thoughts return to those big poplars and the money they would fetch
at Lousia, you might be able to go to one of them Williamson banks
and open a savings account for the first time. But, what if the
spring rains don’t come right and there is no big raise to wash the
logs downstream, or what if someone dehorns the logs?
Delbarton had a splash dam we could tie our logs together and splash
then down Pigeon Creek when we were ready. We could ride the rafts
and have some long poles to guide them so they don’t jam and we will
collect the money due us when we get to Lousia. It will take us two
days to walk back so we will have to sleep in some ones barn, and we
will have to send someone to walk to Naugutuck to warn people to
keep their kids back from the creek on the day of the run.
seemed pretty clear to you on that fall evening that Delbarton
needed a splash dam.