Monday, October 24, 2016

This Land Was Their Land, This Land Is My Land....

Today is a beautiful autumn day...
a good day for a trip!
So, lets take a trip back in time.


Let's walk this beautiful land that I call home and talk a little about its history.


First of all...
the farm is situated in the rolling hills of Central Pennsylvania.
What we call mountains around here... most of you would just call "hills".


These rolling hills and valleys are dotted with quaint, small family farms...
some... dairy, some... cattle, some... chicken, most... corn and soy...
and then there are a handful of farms like ours who like to think we grow "love."


As I walk the countryside I often think of the people who lived here before us.
I think about how different their lives must have been from mine...
and how difficult.

I know that the original people of the land came from various tribes of the Five Nations...
native Americans from the Algonquins, Susquehannocks and Iroquois were the earliest
tribes on record.


Around the mid 1750's the Lenni Lenape (Delaware) Indians moved west
from the Delaware River Valley due to encroachment upon them by the European settlers.

These same settlers headed west into our area about the same time.

One of the earliest structures in the county is our old log cabin.
It's origin is the mid 1750's.

I envision a small family heading west from Philadelphia...
their covered wagon filled with everything they thought essential...
 coming upon this land and finding it a suitable place to settle.

The original one-room home was the bottom left side of this picture.
A one-room log cabin is built over a springhouse (their water source.)


The ground is tilled and food crops planted.
Eventually a small barn is built for the family's livestock.

The original barn stood in the area that is now our bee yard.  Date unknown.
And a brave new life in a wild new world begins.

Our old log cabin is one of the earliest structures still standing in the area.
It dates from the mid 1750's.
Originally it was one room.
There was no evidence of a fireplace...but there is a small chimney;
so I assume an old iron stove accompanied the family in their covered wagon.

You can see the original outside wall running through the center of the house...on the left of this photo.
At some point an addition was added beside the original room,
and an upstairs as well.
We know that the upstairs was an early addition by the diminutive size of the 
stairway and doorways.
(After all, people of the 1700's were smaller in stature.)

The small amount of history about this area tells that there were many
skirmishes between the Lenni Lenape and the European settlers, as they
had both come to this area seeking refuge.
A historical placard alongside the road a couple miles from the farm tells the story 
of the massacre of many settlers in the area.


I was told that it was not uncommon to build these cabins above a water source
so that settlers would not have to venture outside to get water during these 
times of conflict.
(The spring is dry these days...as a result of the summer's drought.. but ordinarily it drains out a pipe in the concrete beneath the springhouse door.)

Today this cabin stands as a reminder of our past.
It's last inhabitants were during the 1960's when the property was rented 
by a mother and son.
There was no indoor plumbing and only rudimentary electricity...
just as it is today.


We have had much work done over the years to maintain this piece of history.


The most recent being the building of a rather large retaining wall inside  the springhouse 
(the foundation was beginning to buckle)
and the installation of antique gutters and
a rain chain to a water barrel...


to prevent the erosion of the ground around the foundation from rain running off the roof.


I have dreamed of using this old log cabin to open a shop of some sorts.
However, we get barely any traffic past our farm and are so very rural...
I don't believe I'd have much in the way of customers.
So... it remains just a reminder of a day long gone...
when life was very different than is is today.


One thing remains the same, however...
it stands in the midst of a beautiful land...
a land I am so grateful to feel beneath my feet each and every day!


Thanks so very much for your comments and questions.
It's always helpful to have some ideas!
The funny thing is.... I was talking with a friend the other day.
She mentioned that she just didn't "get" why people blog...and why anyone want to read blogs.
I have to admit it made me wonder if I was serving any purpose...
thanks for the reassuring!

24 comments:

daisy gurl said...

What a beautiful piece of the past. So glad that y'all are able to maintain this historical and significant treasure.

I could see it being used as a tearoom, where you also sell your honey and knitted crafts.

Louise Stopford said...

Wonderful ... I love history - what a lovely post!!! Kind regards, Louise S, Cheshire.

Missy George said...

Lovely post...What a charming history lesson...Such a nice piece of history along with beautiful pictures..Enjoy your week.xxoo

Carine said...

What a gorgeous land!

Carine said...

What a gorgeous land!

Portia said...

Wow. Thanks.

It's hard to imagine someone living there as late as the 1960s with no indoor plumbing. I guess that shows how accustomed I am to my own privileges and how comfortable my life really is. It's a lot to think about.

I always enjoy your blog and I'm looking forward to reading your answers to other questions.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is a little slice of heaven. I read it every morning before work. It's a great way to start the day...you make everything brighter with the blog...I love seeing your garden, and the smiling faces of all your critters! It's definitely a labor of love!

~~Ashley~~

Anonymous said...

This is exactly the post I was going to ask for!! The inside of the cabin is every bit as beautiful as expected. While it's easy for us to romaticize living simply on such beautiful land, your reminder of the courage and strength of the settlers is important. Kudos to you for your preservation efforts. April

Moggie said...

This post is an great example of why people read blogs. Learning about something new, seeing the pictures of a structure built in the mid 1700's that I would never get to see in person...even your everyday posts about life on the farm are so interesting to someone who works in an office and lives in suburbia...it's new, your words give me something to think about, and I get ideas for my own home and tiny garden.

Not all blogs are alike. I read decorating blogs mostly, and I visit very few on a daily basis. Some are very superficial...grand mansions or big houses beautifully decorated but sort of like hotels, seemingly "perfect", not as if someone lives there...I can't relate to that kind of life......more of a "look what I have" mentality...and those are passed over by me.

Bee Haven is one of a kind. You honor the land...you work and show how things are really done, how things really are. Your home and gardens are beautiful, but you show that things are not always perfect. It's a breath of fresh air in an often disturbing world, and it seems sometimes (wrongly, I know) as if that world doesn't intrude on the farm...

Anyway, there are a lot of reasons that I read your blog...I hope you always feel that it's worth it.

The JR said...

What an amazing story. Thanks for taking time to tell us.

That cabin would be a beautiful shop. Too bad there is not enough traffic to warrant setting it up as one.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

this is all so interesting! my scottish ancestors were some of the first to settle the area around curwensville. my great grandfather and the local indians worked for the railroad as surveyors to help the railroad decide where to lay tracts for the first trains to come through that area. that was right around the time that your cabin was built. i too wonder sometimes why i still blog.

Ginny Soper said...

I love your blog. First thing I read each day. Your farm is truly beautiful and the animals are the cherry on top. Ginny soper
.

Anonymous said...

See, Bev? So many of us love your blog, and will continue to read it as long as you keep blogging. I love blogs because I get to see how others live, care for their people and animals - which helps me feel as one, with others, which we all are. We are not divided by our differences but united by our similarities - love of home, family, friends, place. Different stories with similar themes. I believe this is what the Universe wants - for us to see and read and listen and appreciate others. You are acting locally and affecting globally. Always remember this.
Karla from Coal City, Illinois

Cindy said...

I also love your blog and read it first thing every morning! Thank you for sharing the history of the cabin.
I was thinking about your request for ideas and I thought of something as I was planning dinner for tonight. You have written about how you guys eat and i was wondering if you might share some recipes. After planning and preparing family meals for over 35 years, I'm getting tired of it, but still have to do it! I'm always looking for something new.
Thanks for sharing your beautiful farm with us!

Steph Schmidt said...

I enjoy reading your blog every day. Love hearing about your animals and your farm life. The history behind that building is amazing. I love the furniture, is it original? Thanks for sharing!
Steph

Grandma Zee said...

Thank you for preserving this piece of history, Living out west, our history isn't as old, but worth preserving. It always makes me sad to see an old home, left to rot away. I always want to buy them all and restore them!!! Obviously not a practical ambition. Your farm is beautiful and I love all your farm friends. I have my girls, the hens, and a cat, they are such a part of my everyday life.

Jennifer B. said...

I discovered your blog fairly recently, but I have enjoyed reading it every day and even going back through the archives when my workday is slow. I would love to jump into your life! I don't live in a huge city, but my house is in a pretty urban area, and we only have a dog and two cats. It would delight my heart to have all the creatures and the beautiful countryside you have.

My aunt and uncle own a small farm and I've been lucky enough to get to "farm-sit" for them while they went on vacation the past two summers. It was a joy to feed and water the horses, collect eggs and water the garden.

In response to your recent post about topics we'd like to read: I would love to learn more about how you manage your lifestyle. How you came to buy the farm, how you afford to care for all the animals ... did you and Hubs have this dream and save for it while working, were you able to retire early? Etc.

I am intrigued by people who have big dreams and work hard for years to be able to retire early and enjoy living out those dreams.

Thanks for sharing your slice of farm life with us!

PJS said...

I enjoy your blog with my morning coffee. You get my day off to a happy and positive start. In the past my husband and I used to attended the annual train show (antique toy variety) in York, PA. I spent many happy hours driving around the area enjoying the beautiful scenery while hubby was otherwise occupied. Thanks for sharing your world with all of us.

Karen Ann said...

What a treasure! OH, for a little shop in that space. But I think you're right about the traffic.

In New England there are many old homesteads, I love to see people preserve them. When I walk our gravel driveway to feed horses, etc, there is a heart shaped rock on the wall next to the barn. I grab hold of it and say "thank you", it's a morning ritual. I feel so grateful to call this land and farm -home-.

C-ingspots said...

How wonderful to have such historical significance on your land. For being so old, it seems to be in remarkably good shape. I'd never heard of building homes over springs, but what a good idea. I understand why people blog, it's about sharing our lives, reaching out to those we otherwise would likely never know, and leaving your mark by way of the written word. Totally get it! Love your blog.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful blog today......thank you!

Missy George said...

All those warm comments are reason enough to keep blogging...You are appreciated and loved...We would miss you.

Lynne said...

Loved this Beverly . . .
Great history around Bee Haven . . .
Perfect little shop it would be in the spring house . . .

Candice said...

Such a cute interior on the old cabin. A piece of history that you treasure and care for. Thanks for painting such a lovely picture of history in your area with your words.

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