Last Friday, my wife, Mom, and Dad took a trip back in time by traveling to Lumpkin, Ga. to the 1850 village of Westville. Since 1970 Westville has been a living museum of a lost way of Southern life and the day to day skills it took just to survive.
I first visited back in the 70's on a school field trip. I took both of my sons when they were about the same age. Today we walked its dirt roads and stepped into the log cabins. Smelled fresh cat-head bisquits cooking on an open hearth fire, and ate delicious apple-egg casserole. We talked to the re-enactors and asked questions about life 161 years ago.
Today they are having a craft day to let visitors come (mainly school kids) and learn old time skills. The blacksmiths demonstrated heating up,beating, and bending basic bar stock into everyday utensils. The kids learned to weave oak strips into baskets, how to make your own soap, and your own candles. The soap and candles were the skills I was most interested in today, as I plan on making my own at home.
"Big Momma" and my Mom enjoyed the farm house open hearth cooking the best. They said it was like watching a live 1850 version of the Food Channel. We visited all 30 of the buildings, and waved at the children as they rode the wagon that was pulled by a pair of mules through town. My Dad and I talked of old time farming, he grew up living a very similar life. He knows oh too well what its like walking behind a pair of those mules in the hot southern sun. He grew up being the son of a share cropper. He would get off the school bus, change clothes, and hit the fields everyday to help his Dad bring home a crop to live on.
He says this visit to Westville is nice, but its different when you had to live it. I know I can't go back and live like my Dad did, but most of my life I've tried to. I was born at least 100 years too late. I love farming for the table and raising my animals. There's nothing like gathering your own eggs and taking them to the table, or picking the peas you planted a few months before. I may never get the big acreage I dream of, or the chance to only farm, fish, and hunt for a living.....but I'll die trying!