Colonial hearths, like the one pictured above, have fascinated me for many, many years - ever since I was a little girl. I was afraid, as a child, that when the fire crackled and popped, embers would fly out onto the floor and start a house fire. Yet, I loved to sit near a open flame, whether in a home or around a campfire, and just take in the ambiance of the flames. And to think that the early colonial hearths were open and people cooked in them, and sat around them at night for family time, and really, were the center of their lives and survival, just really fascinated me. There was always one added element that signified safety, security, and self-reliance, and that one element was the black powder rifles that hung above the mantle.
I have always wanted a black powder rifle. I don't know anything about them, really. I liked the romantic coziness they gave to the hearth, the look of stately belonging. I knew that both revolutionary and civil war reenactors today use them, but I couldn't tell you anything about the different sizes, makes, or anything about how to tell how old a gun was. I knew from the Little House on the Prairie books that Pa had one hanging above their fireplace mantle, but I didn't know what all they took to fire - the amount of black powder to use, or the size of 'ball' needed to fire it. I just knew that some day I would like to have one. That 'someday' came Christmas Morning for me - bless my dearhearted husband!
Our hearth before:
Our hearth after:
I have a very understanding husband who made a purchase for me that I will always treasure - and while some wives may think me a bit off - I am a simpleton. I may live in 2011, but my husband knows that at times I wish I lived during the early days of our nation, and he tries his best to get me there.
It is lightly snowing outside, and I think I may get my copy of "Woman's Life in Colonial Days" by Carl Holliday, pull up my settee by the hearth, and read.
I am a displaced early American born about 200 years too late! Actually, I do like my indoor bathroom facilities, but envy the simplicity and commonness that filled the days of the colonial women. Hard work, but they would and did find joy in their day!