Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Restored Doucet House

     The above aerial photo of the Doucet House site was taken by Paul Blacquiere.  As part of the restoration project the site was developed to reflect the period of the homestead complete with a pole fence was placed around the site.  The house is situated in the middle of the site with a kitchen garden directly to the south in front of the house; adjacent to the house to the right/east a clay bread oven was built; to the far left/west a new small log barn was built with a garden to the south of it.  To the rear/northwest corner is a hen house and behind an outhouse.  Behind the house to the east is a small orchard of period apple trees; and to the rear/north, in the field is flax and buckwheat - crops typical to the period.

     The Restored Doucet House.  When the house was built the logs were exposed to the weather for a few years, this is evident in the logs wood grain, and to keep the drafts from blowing through vertical boards were applied to the exterior.  This is the period in which it was decided to interpret the house, about 1800, the restored vertical boards protect the original logs from exposure to the weather.  Note the hand-split cedar shingle roof.  The windows were made locally using period bulls-eye glass.

     Doucet House property view of the site from the northwest corner from behind the henhouse - note the ladder on the side of the house and the water wellhouse.
     Inside Doucet House.  Note the log wall, wood floor with wood nails pegs; two board front door and the interpreter in period costume.  One of the skirts worn by one of the interpreters was locally woven to match a scrap of woven material found in the logs chinking - the original dye colours and pattern were still evident after all this time - see below.
     Scrap of hand-woven material found amoungst the log walls moss chinking at Doucet House.
     Inside Doucet House.  The central island sandstone fireplace and chimeny.   The house had three rooms on the main floor.  Standing at the front door looking in as you enter is the large kitchen with fireplace and stairs to loft above; behind the fireplace is a large bedroom and in the back corner a small room often used for storage.  The loft above would have been used for storage and often in spring and fall, when the temperature was moderate, the older children would sleep up there.
The large fireplace with wrought iron crane.
     The kitchen table, an artifact from Rustico with chairs also original to the period.
     The clay bread oven.  The oven was made from birck clay, sand and marsh grass.  References to Island Acadians using such bread ovens have been found in the Mont Carmel area and as late as the summer of 1859 in the Little Tignish area.
     To prepare the bread oven for use a fire is built inside the oven to heat up the ovens clay walls - when the oven is heated to the right temperature the coals are removed, the food is placed inside and the door placed to keep the heat in.
      The new log barn built of logs in the same dove-tailed style as the house.  The hinges on the wood door (same on the house) were built by a local blacksmith to suite the period.
     The Doucet House is situated overlooking Rustico Bay where spectacular sunrises and sunsets can be observed.  This location is similar to the house's original location, a short distance from here, around the point at Grand Pere Point.  The Acadians built their homes close to water for both fishing and transportation.
     For more information about the Doucet House and Farmers Bank of Rustico, refer to their website at

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