Thursday, June 18

Music To Make The Rafters Ring

Social events in Hazard and Perry County included Barn Raising, log rolling, rail splitting, quilting bees, bean hulling, corn chucking, and the boy who found the red ear got to kiss the girl of his choosing. There were play parties and running games, similar to our square dances. “Chicken in the bread tray, Picking out Dough, Granny will your dog bite, No, Chile, No.” Chase the buffalo” and “Skip to My Lou” were favorites. They had good fiddles and banjo music as we all know and made the rafters ring.

On the farms of Perry and neighboring counties were well-built farm houses. Some were large two-stories with nice hewn stone chimneys at each end, always a large fireplace with plenty of room for a large back log. There was a parlor that was kept shut up and used only for courting and company. The parlor had a bed where the preacher, sometimes called a “Circuit Rider” slept. The bed had two straw ticks, a big feather bed, a large bolster, two pillows that set upright. The coverlet was homespun and the pillows were covered with starched cases with embroidery.

There was a marble top wash stand with a fancy bowl and pitcher and a soft Sunday towel. The family used salt sack towels that had been battled out and bleached. Under the bed was a chamber pot and the windows were lace curtains. On the floor was a loom woven rug carpet, clean as a whistle. On the wall hung an enlarged picture of Grandpa and Grandma.

Tools that were used on the farm included Dogwood gluts, hickory maul, grease lamps with round wicks, fireplace hooks for swinging kettles, ash hoppers, broad ax, quilting frames, knitting needles, cedar water bucket, drinking gourds, hemp breakers, wool and cotton cards, spinning and flax wheels, loom for weaving linsey, blankets and carpets, hand cradle for oats and wheat, bullet molds, powder and lead, andirons, baking skillet on legs with the lid edged to hold hot coals, sad irons for ironing, firkin the lard and butter, meal and flour barrel, wooden tray to make biscuits, coffee grinder, churn and dasher, sassafras poles for threshing wheat, oats and sometimes beans, water keg, molasses barrel, karaut keg, a stone jar for milk and also for ketchup, apple peeler, nut meg grater, shuck scrub broom, stile block for mounting horses, side saddles and riding skirts, shoe button hook, boot jack, cider mill to use up the apples, slate and pencil for figuring (ciphering), crackling squeezer, wooden butter mold with flowered imprint, shoe peg and awl, shoe last and stand in three sizes, black snake whips, bow and arrows, sling shots, vaulting poles, whistles, pea shooters, homemade sleds, fishing poles, and froe to rive boards to cover the roads.

You will notice in this list a hemp breaker. On our farm we called it a hackle. They used it to break the fiber of hemp into shreds to make strings and ropes. Yes, hemp was marijuana, but nobody ever bothered to smoke it. There was a large hemp building on Route 60 near Winchester during World War II and they grew hemp for the army.

The patch of hemp on our farm was well fenced, but occasionally an old silly cow made the mistake of taking a bite of the forbidden green. She rolled her eyes and her body on the ground and tried to jump the moon.We must have grown great charactered men in olden times. They worked hard, joined the church and obeyed the Laws of Moses. You will notice that all the tools we mentioned were operated by human energy. Maybe that is the answer.

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