An opportunity to see how pioneers managed their home and kitchen garden is coming up at Donaldson-Bannister Farm on Saturday, September 21. The next History Alive event, “Pioneer Life 101,” will take place from 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. Katie Hendrickson will share her knowledge of a homesteader’s everyday life. She will help us understand all the planning and work that went into growing and preserving food to feed a family throughout the year.

“Pioneer Life 101” will explain the importance of the kitchen garden both for food and for medicinal purposes. Katie will include how cast-iron Dutch ovens were used and will have examples of pioneer recipes.   

Katie will share her knowledge on food preservation techniques, including drying, canning and other methods. She will demonstrate some preservation techniques. In north DeKalb County, families went to the cannery in Chamblee. The cannery was located next door to Chamblee High School.  

The audience will learn about various kitchen tools used by pioneers, such as coffee grinders, handmade tin cookie cutters and hand crank eggbeaters. Katie will also talk about the importance of the mail order catalog to the farmer.  

All of this takes place on a historic property in Dunwoody, Donaldson-Bannister Farm. Fred Donaldson was born there in 1925 and has shared with Dunwoody Preservation Trust what his family grew on the farm. The list includes cotton, corn, beans, peas, sweet potatoes and watermelons. The family raised cows, chickens, pigs and goats on the farm. They had a smokehouse for preserving meats. 

There were many dairy farms in north DeKalb County, but those dairies usually delivered to Atlanta. Almost every home and farm had at least one cow of their own. When Bonnie Smith Nichols lived with her family at Donaldson-Bannister Farm from 1954 until 1974, they had a cow. The family had a large refrigerator in a space next to the garage to store their milk. In “Pioneer Life 101,” Katie will share with us the various ways milk was used on a farm.

The circa 1870 home at Donaldson-Bannister Farm is the ideal place to learn about early pioneer and farming life. Katie Hendrickson, a certified master gardener, beekeeper, and outdoor education specialist, who has a passion for historic education and environment awareness, is the ideal person to present the class. 

Donaldson-Bannister Farm is located at 4831 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, with parking accessible from the Vermack Road entrance to the farm. Admission for this History Alive event is $3 for DPT members and $5 for non-members. Go to for more information or contact Suzanne Huff at with any questions. 

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