As I mentioned in the previous post, sod walls were typically two-feet thick. If you compare the exterior window pictures to this one, you’ll see a generous ledge on both sides. Also notice the plastered walls. In MAY B. I make mention of this nicety through a conversation with Mrs. Oblinger, the new bride from the city, and May, the frontier girl.
from poem 29:
“I hate this place,” she whispers.
Before I think better, I say,
“He’s left a shade tree out front,
he’s plastered the walls,
and he’s putting in a proper floor.”
“What’d you say?”
Does she even remember I’m here?
“Mr. Oblinger’s a good man,” I try again.
“He wants to make this home for you.”
She stands over me now.
“You think plaster makes a difference in this place?
Look at this.”
She holds out her mud-caked skirt.
“It’s filthy here!
The ceiling leaks.
Sometimes snakes get through!”
The cool sod’s where they like to nest.
“They help with mice,” I offer.
Sod houses were one room with little to no privacy. Here you see a bed right up against the stove, a tree trunk meant to support the roof also used to hang clothing.
These benches are made from hewed logs and are a great example of the wood used for puncheon floors (the proper flooring May mentions above — many lived with packed earth underfoot) : the smooth side of a log faced up, the curved side down.
One way families kept dirt from falling from the sod above was to cover the ceiling in muslin.
How would you fare living this way?