As I sit here procrastinating, waiting for my vacuum cleaner to be fixed, I’m thinking about the log cabin I visited last week. It was set up with some of the furnishings of the time, a real reality check for me in this high tech 21st century. First, there was the home itself, actually larger than some of the Tiny Homes that are all the rage these days. Unfortunately, I can’t see myself in a tiny home for more than a few days before I would miss everything or anything. Anyway, the log cabin had three rooms, making it a pretty good sized place.

My first impression was this window with its little bit of curtain, a sign that a woman (I’m speculating on that, but pretty sure, so I’m not being sexist) had been there trying to make the place a little bit more homey. It touched me and I pictured her sitting at the table with her washbasin looking outside, probably at all the work there was to be done out there. IMG_7688Stepping through the front door, I was confronted with dirt floors and all that implies. I know they got packed down, but there was still dirt. Did they track dirt into their beds at night? For the women who moved from nicer places back east, this must have been an OCD challenge of the highest order, trying to keep the dirt out of everything. In the corner, was this tool that I think was to push the dirt or pack the dirt. With the crack under the wall, I guess you just pushed it outside. Please get my vacuum cleaner fixed soon! Next to is it an ice box for which you’d have to have ice stored from the winter. Maybe they stored other things in there, too. IMG_7700The fireplace is in the center of the room, a big fireplace that probably acted as the heater for the house. Pots and pans were stored inside it with other utensils on the mantel. The dining table was in front of it. Cleaning those pots must have been fun! IMG_7698On one side of the fireplace was the bathtub, which was another challenge. First, you have to get water and heat it and take turns unless you want the whole family there with you. We think we’ve got it bad when kids are knocking on our bathroom door, interrupting our private moments! How do you dump the water at the end? The tub full of water looks like it would be heavy to me.IMG_7697

On the other side of the fireplace was a display of laundry equipment (well, I use equipment loosely). The tub and washboard are well known, but think about using them. My grandmother had one of those along with a wringer washer. We’re not that far removed from all this when you think about it. Praise to my washer and dryer! Note the short clothesline by the fireplace. They didn’t have many clothes. The rug beater on the wall is a prop since there are no rugs in this dirt floor house, but I remember those. Put the rug on a line and beat the dirt out of it. It worked, but you had dirt flying. I wish they’d call for me to pick up my vacuum cleaner! Don’t know about the ironing board here, especially since there was no iron displayed, but it’s another thing to think about. Having one of those heavy irons sitting on the stove to pick up with a cloth and iron the clothes doesn’t seem like fun. At least steam irons are easier if you like to do ironing, which I do if I’m in the mood and don’t have a stack of it like the old days. These days, I tend towards knits.IMG_7695

The Master Bedroom (fancy term) was large for the times. There was one large bed with a chamber pot, which reminded me of the times I stayed with my grandmother who still used one of those. It horrified me as a child, but she didn’t like to walk down the hall at night to the bathroom because she rented out rooms in her house to pensioners (retired men), but that’s another story. There was no outhouse in this little display, but I’m sure they either had one or walked to the woods somewhere. Thanks for indoor plumbing all around! You would think the people had bad backs from the kind of work they did, but those mattresses weren’t made for helping with that. They were grateful to be off the floor, while I’m grateful for soft sheets. Can you imagine what they’d think of Sleep Number beds? And, again, I have to think about tracking that dirt into the bed. I didn’t think I was such a clean freak.IMG_7692At the front of this bedroom was the dressing table beside the curtained window. This still touches me…as do the hooks with the clothes. As I walk (I said walk) into my nice closet filled with choices, I need to remind myself what it would be like to have one or two dresses to wear until they wore out. Most of the lady’s belongings were probably stored in the chest at the foot of the bed. I have my grandmother’s cedar chest, which was probably filled with everything she had at one time. I also have a little trunk that was my great-grandmother’s and probably held her belongings at the time it was new. And I’m sitting here in shorts and a t-shirt and running (well, walking) shoes. Could these people even imagine?IMG_7693The other bedroom had two beds and little else. As I said, this was actually a pretty good sized house with its three rooms. I’m still getting past the dirt floors and the reality of what that meant. When it rained, there had to be mud added to this picture. My my.

Outside, there was a crudely made rocker, the only relaxing place I saw to sit, with a churn beside it. At the side of the house was a large outdoor oven with a big pot. Did they use that for big meals, laundry, or everything I can think of? The dinner bell was the only form of communicating with each other as they worked and played.IMG_7703These were strong people, working from dawn to dusk, taking care of the house, the garden, the livestock and each other. I hope I carry these images with me through my day to remind me of where my people came from to bring me to my life today. This wasn’t my family’s cabin, but I know I have ancestors who lived like this or with even less. Somehow, they raised children who went on to better and better lives until we reached the present generations. This log cabin life is still possible if you want to go back to simpler times, as some people do. I like the simplicity of it, except for the dirt floors and that bathtub and…  Actually, I’m awestruck with how far technology has advanced us in such a short time and I appreciate it. Even more, I appreciate the past and what it can teach us today. I appreciate that woman putting up her curtain and sitting at her dressing table, dreaming dreams. Here’s a tip of the broom to her and people like her in all our generations past!