term “Gentleman Farmer” was coined in colonial times. No matter who you were,
your financial condition, your trade or vocation, you had to be a farmer on the
side, to raise a garden, livestock and poultry, in order to provide for your family.
Even the banker, preacher and wealthiest man in the community had to gather eggs,
slop hogs, hoe weeds and feed his livestock in order to eat and exist. Hence the
Interestingly, the term “plumber” came from the word plumb, which
means “level” as in the bubble of a carpenter’s level. When applied to the pipes
installed by a plumber for drainage, the pipes must go downhill a bit to continue
to drain. The first “pipes” fitted for drainage or providing for water transfer
were all made of thin lead sheets, cut to width, folded around a round wooden
form and pounded into proper shape with a wooden mallet. All joints were “wiped”
with hot, melted lead to seal the joints.
Indoor bathtubs were formed
by a carpenter, who made the outside form and shape out of wood, then turned the
finished product over to a plumber. He cut, shaped and pounded his lead sheets
to fit the wooden form, then wiped the joints with hot melted lead, making the
container waterproof. As improved metals and other materials came into being,
the plumber’s work improved. Since all such plumbing fixtures were made of lead,
many of the early day mysterious fatal illnesses might have been merely lead poisoning.
Most everyone has heard of butter paddles which were used when making
homemade butter from cow’s cream. By turning, adding salt and removing water,
a beautiful butter could be made often decorated by using a carved butter mold.
But, did you know there was also a “feather bed paddle?” It seems the old feather-bed-mattresses
had the tendency to wallow out in holes and ridges that fit the person sleeping
the bed was made the following morning, the top surface looked exactly like the
waves on the ocean or worse, resembling the person who slept there the night before.
A feather bed paddle, resembling a rug beater was used to “pat” the waves and
ridges into a level surface for better appearance.
early-day women wore long dresses, cotton hose and several petticoats for both
fashion and utility as the buildings of the day were drafty and cold. On occasion
and in public, a friend or acquaintance would whisper to a lady, “It’s snowing
down South.” She knew immediately a petticoat was showing beneath the hem of her
dress and would vacate the spot to do some adjusting.
When men, forgetting to button up their trousers after dressing, appeared in public
all undone, they were told, “The barn door is open.” This comment brought on embarrassment
and the proper remedy.
Trew - August
21, 2012 column
"It's All Trew"
Trew is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He can be reached at 806-779-3164,
by mail at Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002, or by email at trewblue@centramedia .net.
For books see delberttrew .com.
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