Pioneer Sod House

Larry Trupp

Winnipeg, Canada

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Artist's Description

Featured photography on Redbubble Explore 3 November 2013

Featured in:

The World As We See It, or as You Missed It..27 July 2011

Captured at our Nature Center, on the southwest edge of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Canon XTi, w 55mm Lens, AV 5.0, Shutter speed 1/160, ISO 200

Pioneer Sod House…Cut from the same earth that provided our food…“It didn’t leak the first day…but it did for three days after”. This would have been a common sodbuster expression. The sod house or semlin (German) was no extravagant home.

It was built quickly (in less than one month) for warmth and for protection from the elements during those first prairie winters. The deep root masses of prairie grasses provided the perfect thatch to make sod. Settlers cut sod bricks 36cm (14 inches) wide. 8cm (14 inches) thick with help from an oxen team pulling a breaking or walking plow. The excavated earth created the hollow around which sod bricks would be stacked – the first sunken living room.

Before sod was placed on the roof, tamarack beams and rails would be chinked together with filler such as mud, moss, prairie grasses or bison hair. Although holes were plugged, little visitors like mice, snakes, and bugs were often a common sight.

Sod houses such as this, made for intimate living arrangements. Commonly 6 – 8 family members would have lived in a 12 X 20 foot structure, including two oxen during extreme winter weather!

All info gleaned from our children’s program…one of many that I lead as a Volunteer Interpreter at this Center

Other related images…Click on the images below, to view/buy or leave comments

Old Plough, just to the right of the Sod House

Winter View

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