..........Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com.........

Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spring Houses and Refrigeration

Before the invention of the refrigerator, icehouses were used to provide cool storage for most of the year. Placed near freshwater lakes or packed with snow and ice during the winter, they were once very common.

It was a business to cut ice blocks from frozen lakes in the winter and store them in ice houses. The ice house would have thick walls for good insulation. The ice would be packed together with hay or sawdust to insulate.

Ice blocks would be hauled to cities and towns and people would buy smaller ice blocks to put in their ice boxes (a wooden insulated "cabinet"). The block of ice would be placed in the upper portion of the ice box and food would be in the lower portion. The ice man would come around just like the milk man did and would use ice tongs to carry the blocks of ice into your kitchen and place it in your ice box for you.

You could use an ice pick to chip off pieces of ice for your iced tea.

Here is a built-in icebox.

The first type of electrical refrigerator had the motors on top like this one.

If you lived in the rural areas then you usually had a spring house, or springhouse, which was a small building used for refrigeration. It was usually a one-room building constructed over the source of a spring. The water of the spring maintained a constant cool temperature inside the spring house throughout the year. In settings where no natural spring is available, another source of natural running water, such as a small creek would be used. Many diverted a portion of a larger creek, to a spring house. The main use of a spring house is for the long-term storage of food that would otherwise spoil, such as meat, fruit or dairy products.

Refrigerators came into public knowledge in 1915 when General Electric and Frigidaire developed the first one. But they didn't really take off until the 1930's when they became more available and more affordable due to the use of freon. They went into mass production after WWII.

I got online and found some photos of spring houses.

And here is how they were used.

Root Cellar

An interesting story of building a root cellar!

Root cellars are for keeping food supplies at a low temperature and steady humidity to keep from freezing during the winter, and keeping food supplies cool during the summer months. They take advantage of the insulating power of dirt. A root cellar is often in a basement of a house or dug as a pit or into the side of a hill. A dirt floor helped keep humidity right. Typically, a variety of vegetables would be placed in the root cellar in the autumn, after the harvesting of the vegetable gardens had been completed.

Cold and Moist areas usually stored potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, greens, cabbage

Dry and cool is where you stored garlic, onions, pumpkins, winter squash, sweet potatoes, green tomatoes

Separate cellars stored fruits like apples, oranges, pears.

I found some photos on the Internet of old root cellars

And some not-so-old root cellars that are used today.

Root Cellar
by Theodore Roethke

Nothing would sleep in that cellar, dank as a ditch,
Bulbs broke out of boxes hunting for chinks in the dark,
Shoots dangled and drooped,
Lolling obscenely from mildewed crates,
Hung down long yellow evil necks, like tropical snakes.
And what a congress of stinks!
Roots ripe as old bait,
Pulpy stems, rank, silo-rich,
Leaf-mold, manure, lime, piled against slippery planks.
Nothing would give up life:
Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.

A Pantry

This was a nice, easy post about cleaning and keeping a pantry.

I like this woman's blog. I don't know why, I just do. It's almost like getting a letter from my Aunt Ruth who lived on a farm in NC or my Grandma who lived not far from Aunt Ruth on their farm. I wish I was as industrious as she is and they were with all the canning, freezing, gardening. I'm a good homemaker but it's gotten to where I can't go outside and do stuff. I either get too tired and overdo and end up in bed for days or I get bit by fire ants and end up in the hospital. So gardening is out for me. But the childhood memories of Dad working a garden, of us being made to help him, of Aunt Ruth writing to tell us the squash was coming in by the buckets full or Grandma writing to tell us the cotton came in good that year...somehow it comes together in this blog. Hope you enjoy it too. (By the way, I believe this lady lives in Australia so their seasons are opposite ours.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Elaine & Melinda Were On TV Today

Elaine and Melinda were invited to be on the local TV show, Your Carolina , with Jack Roper and Kimberly Kelly to talk about dog rescue. It was filmed at Michelin on Main in Greenville, SC. I went along so I could take photos and videos. They did a wonderful job and I'm so proud of them. The dogs were very well behaved too!

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