Speaking of dippers, many of the barrels had dippers hanging nearby. Some had been made from gourds or some were metal. That way any passersby could get a dipper full of that good clear water. Guess that was in the days before there were so many communicable diseases because everyone drank from the same dipper.
We would dip water from the barrel and Mother or Grandmother would heat it to wash our hair, but we always rinsed our hair in the cold water directly from the barrel. As a child I had long dark auburn hair in finger curls almost to my waist. I can remember the sound made by the rinse water as Mother poured it through my hair. It seemed to take forever for my hair to dry, but I do remember my hair was always shiny.
While visiting my grandmother, we would often go to her storm or root cellar. It always amazed me at the amount of food she kept there.
Most storm cellars were built close to the back door. One was for quick access in the event of a bad storm, and other was for getting items from the cellar for our meal. I remember how she used newspapers to wrap her fruit, especially the apples and pears. The onions and potatoes were always spread.
Everything edible was used. She canned, pickled and preserved until every jar she could get would be filled. Her canned pickled beets looked like huge rubies. I think that is where I learned to like pickled beets. Nothing tasted better. I buy canned beets at the grocery today hoping to get one can that will taste as good as my grandmother’s.
Wayne and I had plans to build a small log house in Bath County and we also planned to have a storm cellar. But time ran out for us. We often talked about the cabin having a tin roof so we could hear the rain drops dancing on the roof. Nothing is more soothing than raindrops falling on a tin roof or a nice homegrown vegetable dinner cooked with vegetables from a storm cellar.
Sometimes I think I was born much too late. I think I would have liked living in “The Little House on the Prairie.” As long as Nellie Olson wasn’t close by I don’t think we would have gotten along!