Yesterday, I had a wonderful trip with my grandchildren and daughter in law to the North Georgia Mountains. We went to the area of Clayton, Mountain City, and Dillard, Georgia. Close to the North Carolina border.
It was breath-taking scenery from Gainesville going past Tallulah Falls and seeing the awesome sight of the beauty of the mountain region at the foot-hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
We spent time at the Fox-fire Museum, located on the side of a mountain, with a winding little road to reach the fascinating historical place. It was like going 200 years back into time. It covers a large area with many old log cabin buildings moved in from other areas restored to original and very authentic.
One begins at the Gate house which contains the Foxfire gift museum, built from several deteriorating buildings and an abandoned railroad trestle from Burnsville, North Carolina. There are about 20 buildings on the side of the mountain, including, the wagon shed, Blacksmith shop, Hog Scalder, root cellar, mule barn, the smoke house and other buildings.
For this event, those who home school were invited, and many wide-eyed children watched as an elderly man made wooden churns, bread trays, rockers and etc, all carved out of wood by hand. In another building a local merchant awed the crowd by taking string and making rope right before their eyes. My 4 year old grandson, Prince William, stood still holding one end while the man braided the rope, in wide-eyed wonder.
Then the children watched as another local split logs, then took an instrument called a “fro” and made wood shingles used for roofing the cabins. Called a fro because the wood must be held at a certain angle and anchored so it can move to and fro, to make the shingle.
Nearby was a “hog scalder” a large iron pot built with a rock structure around it used to scald the hogs. The hog was lifted by the ankles via a rope pulley device to drain the blood. Plus the scalding water loosened the hair follicles, so the hog could be scraped.
One of the most impressive sights was seeing the old covered wagon, built in the 1700’s and used in the exit of the Indians when they were driven out of the area to relocate in Oklahoma. Named the Zuraw Wagon, it’s the only documented wagon known to have traveled to Oklahoma in the historical “Trail of Tears” A forced relocation of the Cherokee Indians from the North Georgia Region. The wagon was built in the 1700s completely by hand.
According to the local stories told, the white men took the Indians in this wagon to another location towards the West where they were met by other Indians who carried them on to their destination in, Oklahoma. Many died along the way.
One small cabin houses all the yarn of one lady who replicates the method used years ago. She was sitting on the back porch spinning yarn from wool and beside her was a pot boiling the brown outer layers of onions she used for dye. There were many various colors of yarn in her shop. Beautiful colors she created from locally grown things, she made the dye from.
One lady explained to me how they made lye soap. I recalled my mother making lye soap but had forgotten how she made the lye. It’s created from the ashes of oak. The ashes were removed from the fireplace or the wood cook stove to make the lye which in turn was used to make the soap to wash clothes, floors and dishes.
Surrounding the structures is a split rail fence, handmade.
For anyone interested in knowing how to survive in the event the economy in this country should ever crash to a point we would be forced to return to a way of life where everything was handmade and all the food grown by locals, I suggest acquiring the book foxfire and reading it. It is loaded with fascinating information about another time and another place not far away. And not that long ago.
We ended our trip with a wonderful lunch at the famous Dillard house.
LET FREEDOM RING
The Freedom Lady