Home and Garden Before Home and Garden Magazine

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Photo- Linda Seccaspina-Log House just outside Smiths Falls

Author’s Note–Want to read Linda’s hot trends in gardening? Or this article?  CLICK BELOW AND Check out my articles on page 7 and 9 of this months Hometown News available online and in newspaper format at Mitchells Independent, Fresh Co, Good Food Co, McKewens, Carleton Place Museum and many other places..http://www.discoversmithsfalls.ca/smiths-falls-hometown-news/

 

  Home and Garden Before Home and Garden Magazine

When the first settlers landed on our Canadian shores, the difficulties in finding or making shelter must have seemed impossible as well as almost unbearable. Can you imagine eating and sleeping with 9 or 10 people in a one room log cabin? Everything happened in the same space, which was called “a single-pen” log cabin. It wasn’t a time where you went out and bought things for your home as everything had to be kept to a minimum. If you were fortunate enough to have your husband build “a two-pen” home, one side served as a living area and family and visiting folks might sleep in the other.

It took a lot of trees to build a cabin and sometimes they didn’t fit very tightly because trees just seem to come in different sizes.The winters were the worst, because a blazing fire in the hearth was not enough to keep the house warm while the winter winds whistled through the cracks of the logs.

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Photo-Linda Seccaspina-Log Building- Bill Dobson’s farm just outside of Smiths Falls

As years went by families began to earn enough cash to purchase milled lumber from their local sawmills. By the beginning of the 20th century, many of the log homes had been remodeled and buried deep within the walls of their up-to-date house. When families finally built themselves a new home sometimes their previous old log homes were used as a part of the farm buildings for storage or to house animals.

You have to remember everything about life was extreme, with the land rocky and full of swamps. Building a home and establishing a farm was a challenge for even the most experienced farmers. Home is home, though it be homely, but the definition of the family home sure was a stretch in those days.

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Photo of Stone House-Linda Seccaspina– Bill Dobson’s farm just outside of Smiths Falls

Some of the wealthier settlers from Scotland decided log homes were not good enough for them so they built their homes from stone. Sometimes it was large stones, cleared from the land, along with trees and brush during the early years of settlement. It provided a ready source of building materials, which were later quarried from bedrock outcrops.

Builders preferred to select stones, but some settlers were less discriminating in using stones for basements or barns. The imaginative use of fieldstone, however,  was not taught to them in Scotland, but was developed in Ontario by Scottish masons as a response to the resources locally available.  Scottish stonemasons didn’t learn to use fieldstone for homes in Scotland as most buildings were built in sandstone. What the Scottish masons did bring with them to Canada were the skills needed to fashion even the hardest stones, such as granites, into regular blocks. After all these years you have to admit they did leave some handsome buildings behind.

Of course you couldn’t have a home without a garden. With no supermarkets in sight the settlers grew most of their own food. Of course it was the duty of the woman of the house to tend to the vegetable garden and a typical settlers vegetable garden would include basic root plants such as: beets, carrots, turnips, and radishes, and leafy vegetables such as lettuce, chard, cress, and legumes. Whatever was grown in the summer was hopefully enough to preserve for winter.

Flowers were occasionally found in vegetable gardens, but most often they were grown in separate beds. These women were into edible flowers before the current food trends and varieties like nasturtium had a dual role of being edible and decorative.

I always think about the hardships and issues the settlers who immigrated to Canada had. They hadn’t even been to this country before. They just packed their bags and boarded crowded ships knowing they’d never see their family again. They made their houses of walls and beams but they also built them with love and dreams. Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts. The way we live now may be different that years ago but one thing remains the same: “there’s no place like home.”

 

 

Photos by Linda Seccaspina

Log House just outside Smiths Falls

Log Building- Bill Dobson’s farm just outside of Smiths Falls

Stone House- Bill Dobson’s farm just outside of Smiths Falls

RELATED READING

Lanark County 101 — It Began with Rocks, Trees, and Swamps

Rock the Boat! Lanark County or Bust! Part 1

It Wasn’t the Sloop John B — Do’s and Don’t in an Immigrant Ship -Part 2

Riders on the Storm– Journey to Lanark County — Part 3

ROCKIN’ Cholera On the Trek to the New World — Part 4

Rolling down the Rapids –Journey to Lanark Part 5

Lanark Mormons and Mormon Tree?

 

 

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About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

2 responses »

  1. Hi Linda, This is an awesome post! I found my gggggrandfather arrived from Ireland in 1819 to land in Drummond Township. To think of what he and his family endured between then and receiving his land grand in 1825 is beyond me. They were a hardy breed.

    • Cheryl.. History as Tim Campbell told me is coming full circle.. and that is why I do this.. not only to bring people together.. but fr everyone to understand what our former family went through
      🙂

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