Mary Beekman is a four-year-old ghost who resides in The Beekman Mansion, and considers Brent and Josh her “imaginary friends.” Follow Mary Beekman’s Diary each week to learn what it’s like to be a young child in early 19th century America
Josh and Brent came to find me the first thing this morning. They wanted to know what smelled so good outside. Brent thought it smelled like a cook out. I shall have to ask him more about that. At first, I did not know what they meant because it is winter and I did not smell anything different. But then I knew they were speaking about the smell coming from our smoke house. I like the small also. Father is beginning the smoking of our meat. Josh and Brent had never seen that done before. They listened while I told them all I know about it. I am certain Father would tell them more, but he cannot see them. They are my imaginary friends.
The meat has to be hung in the smoke house so we have meat to eat during the entire winter that does not spoil and begin to smell strange. Our sausage hangs in the smoke house for days. Hams hang a long time also. Father LOVES sausages. Father prefers to use oak wood and sometimes apple wood that is not quit dry yet. Father had our venison, ham, beef and mutton smoked. It has to be salted first in large barrels. We have a smoke house to hang our meat in. Some people hang the meat in their chimneys, high up so the flames cannot reach it. Flames would cook the meat. That would not be good.
Our smoke house is set a bit away from the house. There is a pile of burning embers inside that burn day and night until the meat is finished. The boys or Father check during the day. If the fire gets too hot, they sprinkle it with water. There are small openings for the fresh air flowinginto the smoke house and for the smoke to go out. There is no chimney and no window in our smoke house just a small door down low where the ashes are removed. After the meat is smoked, mother rubs lots of black pepper on the meat to keep the rodents away.