When we went to Rocky Mount we cooked bacon, corn bread, and tea the way they did it in 1791. In wealthy homes the kitchen was a separate building from the house, because if the kitchen burned down, the whole house would. A slave cooked for the whole family, and lived in the attic above the kitchen. We made our own tea bags, and put spices in our tea from the garden. We cooked corn bread from scratch in a cast iron pot called a dutch oven. Everything we cooked was cooked over an open fire. The room felt like it was at least 200 degrees. We were told that more women died because of the kitchen fire than childbirth. In 1791 the children had chores to keep a good supply of water throughout the day for the slave, and to keep the dishes washed. I am awfully glad that I live in the year 2008, with an oven, running water and electricity!
Cooking at Rocky Mount by Britany
At Rocky Mount we were able to take a cooking class so that we could understand how the cooking was done in the 1970’s. Megan, Jemma and I were in the corn bread group, Ronnie, Keegan and Mitchell were in the tea group, and a couple other kids made bacon. When we made the corn bread we used one and one-half cup corn meal, one egg, one tablespoon of oil, and one and one-half cup of milk. We stirred it until it was mixed well. Then, we set the pan of batter on hot coals that we scooped out of the fire, and scooped out more hot coals to put on the lid. It took about 15 to 20 minutes to cook. While we were waiting for the corn break to cook, we went outside to see the Spring House, and gather some mint leaves for the tea. We gathered spearmint, peppermint, and lemon balm leaves. When we got back to the kitchen the corn bread wasn’t quite finished yet, so we finished the tea and sat around talking for a few minutes. When it was done, we all enjoyed the snack we had made. It was very good. When we were done we had to wash our own dishes and put them away.
Our trip to Rock Creek Recreation Area was officially a Nature Study outing, but it turned into so much more. We had a picnic and then did, in fact, study nature some.
There was some searching for termites, and then a dirt clod fights.The boys enjoyed swimming in the lake until it started pouring rain. Typically the kids have to get out of the water at the first sign of rain here, because lightning almost always accompanies the rain, but this time was unusual because there was no lighting. Mitchell took advantage of the oddity by floating on his back in the lake with the rain coming down on him for quite some time.
While we stayed at the trail-head, Britany and some of the other teens and parents when on a hike to the falls.
We went to Rock Creek Recreation area with our co-op group, and a few of us had an opportunity to go on a hike up to a waterfall. We were expecting the hike up to the falls to be four hours long, but we didn't have that much time, so we didn't know if we would be able to go all the way to the top. Even though we knew we might not make it to see the waterfall, we were still excited to go on the hike.
All around the trail was very pretty. We saw many interesting plants, and fungus. We talked about the plants we had passed and even identified some of them.
We made it to the waterfall quicker than we expected. When we got there we took off our shoes and socks and went to play in the water. Megan and I sat on a ledge, and the water rushed past us. It was cool and refreshing.
On our way back to the cars it started to rain. We ran on some of the flat parts of land. When we were running the rain was hitting us on the face.
When we got back to the cars, we met up with the people who didn't go on the hike. We left the park at about four o'clock in the afternoon. Even though we were wet and cold, we were happy that we reached the waterfall.
At the Appalachian museum I saw the actual cabin that Mark Twain lived in as a child, and it was interesting how similar it was to the one that is in my book, "The Little House in The Big Woods". In Twain's cabin was a trundle bed right below the regular bed. In my book Mary and Laura slept in the trundle bed. In a corner in the back of the room I saw a baby crib which was like the one that baby Carrie slept in. In front of the fireplace there was a butter churn. Mary used the butter churn to make butter. Above the fireplace hung a gun. In my book Pa would come home from a long day in the forest, and hang his gun over the fireplace. In the front of the cabin, in the left hand corner, there was a fiddle sitting on a table. In the evenings Pa would play his fiddle until the girls were asleep. Looking at Twain's cabin really brought the book I'm reading to life.
When we went blueberry picking there were tons of bushes to pick blueberries off of. There were big blueberries and small ones, but we wanted to get as many big ones as we could fit in our buckets, because they were the tastiest ones. We all plowed through bushes, picking blueberries and eating lots of them too. After a couple of hours of picking we had five gallons of blueberries. We made blueberry cobbler with some of them, and it was good!