In the 1800's, people moved into the Algonquin region hoping to find employment at lumber camps. These homesteaders cleared land and attempted to grow crops in the shallow soil. Their homesteads were built on stone foundations; the beams and wood of the home were cut from the surrounding forest.
Heating the home was done with wood and their cookstove was the heart of the kitchen.
There is an old foundation which fascinates me on a quiet piece of land close to where I live. I look at the flat rock, piled, row upon row, to form walls and I wonder at the perseverance of the people who built it. This foundation formed the basement of what was once a homestead.
A water well, hand dug and lined with round boulders, sits just to the west of what was once the front door of the home. The ground is still, to this day, cupped from the passage of humans who once dragged cool water from the well and carried it in a bucket to the kitchen.
I was digging around in the detritus in the basement and discovered the old cookstove. It had fallen through the now non-existent floor of the home and lay buried by leaves and dirt. I decided to make use of the old relic and dragged it home.
The stove was in bad shape; however, I was able to convert it to a serviceable firebox for my tipi.
I had no idea that this old stove, which had serviced a family long ago, would prove itself to be still useful one hundred years later.
As I sit on my bunk and watch the flames within the old stove, I wonder who the person was that used it to cook their family's meal. I wonder if they are watching me as I use the stove to simply live, out here.