Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Cades Cove is in the Smoky Mountain Park and is an 11 mile driving loop around a cove. Along the way are 3 old churches and homesteads of the original settlers including a grist mill and barns. The churches had cemetaries where the families were buried. The one plaque above is of a man and woman born in the 1700's that were the 1st white settlers to the Cove. It is just amazing to see how simply people lived and how they survived cold winters with a fireplace for heat. Not to mention no bath or kitchen or running water or electricity.
There was a park ranger in front of the store that set up a table with animal skins of bears, beavers, otters, red fox, deer and other animals. The kids could hold them and feel the fur and put them on their heads. This was a big highlight. The otter was tanned on the inside and early hunters would use them as waterproof gloves so they could check their traps underwater in the icy water. It felt like a glove to put the skin on your arm. We also learned that skunks click their nails to scare you off before they spray. They then will turn backwards and try clicking their nails again. Then they spray.
At the grist mill the man told us that the phrase "take your turn" comes from the mill. How much corn the farmer brought to be ground was called a turn.