We recently paid a visit to Kings Landing Heritage settlement near Fredericton NB. This attraction is a great recreation of pioneer living in the early 19th century. Its set up exactly like a settlement would be back then. Each building and the content within were specific to an era and the dwellers were in role for that period in time.
There were various sized homesteads, barns, primitive one room cabins, churches with a service on Sundays, a blacksmith firing horse shoes, a fully stocked general store, functioning lumber mill powered by the waterwheel, griss mill, farm animals, gardens, and a one room school house. Each stop along the way was a huge step back in time to the early 1800’s that allows you to truely experience pioneer living.
The Acadian Village is located along the northern coast of NB in a place called Bertrand(near Caraquet). It is located on the Acadian Peninsula along the coastal waters of the Bay of Chaleur. Life here takes you back in time to pioneer living in a quaint little Acadian village. Experience the Acadian heritage first hand by living the culture, music, dance, authentic cuisine of our earliest settlers. Immerse yourself in the warmth and hospitality of the acadian people. You will love it!
Every homestead had a large vegetable garden that yielded basic foods like potatoes, turnips, onions, herbs and carrots. Fields were first prepared by the farmer by means of guiding the plough which was hauled by a horse. Foods were harvested and dried for canning, pickling and everyday meals. The bounty was then stored in cool root cellars to preserve the years supply of food. It required hard work to maintain their gardens and food supply but families worked together to lighten the load. At harvesting time it was efficient to use a horse and cart… if you had the means. One person would drive the cart along the rows, while the other picked the veggies. They would swap out the duty to lighten the work.
Open Fire Cooking
In every kitchen was an open fired hearth that was the primary heat source and means of cooking. Cast iron ware was hung on an iron rod and suspended across the open fire for boiling. The heat required for accurate cooking temperatures was regulated by the size of the fire. For baking breads and biscuits; the dutchoven was placed on the floor of the hearth on a bed of hot embers. The lid was heated and more embers were placed atop the lid to maintain the heat for cooking. Herbs and food were hung near the hearth for drying. Interestingly; in the larger homes,these hearths were located on the ground levels where it is the coolest and the heat would radiate upwards to heat the home. In the traditional one room cabin the hearth was the centre of the home. Recipes; or receipts as they were called then, were passed along on how to cook in these open hearths. Its a skill that has become lost to us. Now just imagine the preparation required to put food on the table! Imagine baking this way!
Every farmer had a team of work horses to work the land. From plowing to hauling, clearing the land of trees and rock, harvesting and transportation. They had various carts, buggies and wagons depending on the need. A cow was a necessity for the milk to drink, cream was extracted for butter making and for cooking. If they had a few extras; cows were slaughtered for the meat. Sheep supplied the wool from which they washed, carded and spun into fibre for sewing and knitting their clothes. Hens and chickens supplied the eggs and meat. You might even see a goat or two that supplied milk and meat as well.
All these animals needed tending to. Pasture space had to be cleared and grasses grown for feed and buildings erected to house the animals. They were contructed by lumber milled from their own land. So they often had oxen to help with the heavier work when clearing the land of rock and hauling heavy timbers. Hard days of work was an every day thing for homesteaders then.
Clothing was all hand made. Flax was grown in the gardens for food but the fibre from the flax plant could be dried and extracted, spun into a fine fibre and woven to make cloth and then sewed into a linen garment. Hats, sweaters socks, mittens were all made from the wool sheared from the sheep, spun into yarn or thread and woven into cloth for the heavier wool clothing required for more temperate weather. Spinning, weaving, knitting and sewing were works of fine art and these skills were passed on from generation to generation.
Pioneer living was not easy but they provided the basic necessities of life. Families were large then and they all worked closely together to provide a better life for themselves and their neighbours. It wasn”t all work tho. As per traditional East Coast living famillies gathered at Church, teas and dances.
Emerse yourself in a village such as this and experience the pioneer living in NB, in the 1800’s. Appreciate the hardships and work required to put food on the table and to construct their homes. Would you long to be a part of this lifestyle. I sure do! Sure it was a lot of hard work and hardships but you sure can’t beat the pure and organic living.