We saw a working hearth, with a fancy victorian gadget for turning the spit and trivets for the iron and a couple of skillets. It even had an oven in the back, although our guide explained that they couldn't use it as an oven without a door and casting a door would be quite expensive. I had never seen a fireplace/cookstove laid out like that before. I now have a more complete understanding of how cooking in an open fireplace works.
There were also all sorts of other gadgets and gizmos that were used on a farm. There was one thing that struck me about all of them. In those days, of course, the various instruments and gadgets were all made by hand. I couldn't help noticing that every item was decorated in some way while it was being made. Curlicues and flower patterns were pounded into the metal of the trivets, the corn huller, even the gadget to turn the spit.
The items were also substantial and often heavy, as they were made of tempered metal. There was both a tactile and visual beauty to the various pieces of equipment. That sort of aesthetic is almost completely missing from today's kitchens. Everything is made from straight lines and corners. The only nod to aesthetics is the attempt to match the colors of the various appliances with the tile of the counter top. House and farm work in those days was harder and took longer to do. I think if I had to spend hours in front of a hearth, stirring and fiddling, I'd rather have lovely things to look at as well.
My toaster is completely boring compared to that spit-turner. It's no wonder people pick up old butter churns and metal trivets at antique shops just to use as decoration. I'm tempted to go looking for something like that for my own place now. They are a mark of home and self-sufficiency and work ethic.
Going back home was a drag after spending only an hour or so in that lovely little time machine. I hope to go back once they build their new facility and stay all day reminiscing about a time before my time, when life was hard work and tribulation, but yet still managed to be filled with beautiful things.