Thursday, April 12, 2012

Drinking Water - Usage of Charcoal and Ash

Cowboy Camp Fire
Springs provide rich quality drinking water but not all watering holes yielded good potable water.  The chuck wagon cook boiled the water killing any bacteria.  Then placing charcoal in a cloth, he filtered the water by pouring the water through the charcoal ash into the barrel, it acted as a filter-purifier.  Although, cookie kept a small keg of charcoal for other reasons. While it could be turned into black powder, correct Ph balance, or used for making lye and even pickling by early pioneers, cookie often used it as a top dressing on wounds that help absorb infections. If a cowhand got sick due to unknown poisoning, the cook fed 2 teaspoon full’s, three times a day until the poison was absorbed and the cowhand was feeling better. They also used it mixed with animal fat for soap along with cleaning cooking gear. The chuckwagon cook was an innovative soul making good use of everything available in their surroundings.

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