Step back in time with me. Think of the decades when sailing ships brought European immigrants to our shores. Steamboats carried people and freight on the rivers. Railroads and telegraph were new technology.
Households, both rural and village, needed to be rather self-sufficient. Urban areas did have a greater variety of goods and services for sale or hire. But on the growing Western edge of the country, a family was required to do for themselves.
What sort of purpose do you think of when you see this large outdoor kettle waiting for a fire to heat the contents?
In New Dreams, set in 1851 Illinois, Louisa boils the bakery laundry in a similar kettle. Soap-making and lard rendering (after you butcher the hog) are also tasks best done outdoors. What other use can you think of?
New Dreams is available in both print and electronic editions from on-line retailors. Here;s the link to the Kindle version: https://amzn.to/3vWydWE