One of the great resources for better understanding your ancestor's life is the Foxfire series. Foxfire began in 1966 as a high school English project. "A student-produced magazine they chose to create, containing stories and interviews gathered from elders in their rural southern Appalachian community."
The Foxfire books grew out of the articles and stories from the magazine. These books have been a favorite of mine. They are simple interviews asking folks to describe all sorts of activities including quilt making, snake charming and building log cabins. These books can usually be found at used book sales at libraries, yard sales, etc. You can also purchase the 12 volume set through the Foxfire website at http://www.foxfire.org/index.html.
These books and their interviews are a great example of finding out information about activities that perhaps your ancestor partook of but they themselves did not leave anything in writing. I've used the interview about building a log cabin to describe how an ancestor might have put his log cabin together.
You can also try finding the older Foxfire books through online retailers like eBay and Amazon. Most public libraries also have copies of these books also. I really recommend them as a way to add social history to your genealogy.