Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Pioneering Spirit

Do you have the pioneering spirit?
I would like to think I do within limits!  I can make do with what I have, I can eat food I grow, I can cook over a fire, I can get creative with things, I can forage, etc.

The pioneers did so much more.  We have been enjoying a new series about the frontiersmen who made the path to the west.  It is so amazing that any of us are here today.  LITERALLY.
I think we romanticize the 'old days'.  We watch Little House on the Prairie and think wow, that's cool.  That show doesn't even come close to explaining what many of our ancestors went through.

I know I have relatives that came here prior to the American Revolution, and much has been documented about them (I am fortunate on that account).  They braved Indian raids and deaths, they made roads and literally had to build their homesteads from the ground up.  My 6th great grandpa was captured and held by Indiana for 3 years - luckily he was eventually rescued.  I thank God everyday that I am here.  One small change in our linage can change everything.
They fought to survive disease without doctors.  They fought for daily life. 
LIFE WAS NOT EASY BY ANY MEANS!

When we look at pictures of mountains and woods today - we think how beautiful.  They saw wilderness they had to conquer.  They had to cut roads through those woods and mountains to move further inland into the country.  They had crude tools (compared to today) and even their tools were often hand made.
They had to cut trees (by hand) to build homes and clear land to grow crops. Everything was done by hand.
If weather didn't cooperate, they didn't have food.  Drought meant no fresh food - there was no where to go get some either (until towns were made).
EVERYTHING had to be made.
Food, clothes and foot ware, bedding, housing, furniture, medicine you name it. 
You had to find a good water source to survive.

You had to deal with native Americans protecting their areas, and you had to deal with wild animals protecting their area as well.  You had to have protection - often in the form of bow and arrows, and most ammunition was reloaded and homemade. 
If lightening fires happened there was no fire department to call.  If marauders showed up, there was no police department.  Drought, flood, wind, etc. all took their toll on pioneers.
Everything was an obstacle.



Today, living off the grid is a way of life many people want.  That is fantastic and I applaud them - but in most cases it still isn't the same.  Folks are using modern tools, chain saws, buying seeds from others, buying a good wood stove, start out with clothing and good footwear.  They can get flour, sugar, salt, yeast, medicine etc. from stores.
No one has to go without today.

I love to garden and preserve what we grow.  I love to re-cycle things into new things.  I love to learn about the old ways.  I can forage, barter, cook over wood, gather water, etc.  Do I want to give up the luxury of lights, water, heat, modern vehicles, tools, etc. - NOT REALLY.  I could probably survive a while without it if I had to, but I sure don't want to.

Could you survive for a while - if life as we know it changes?
Have you every really thought about what your ancestors went through each and everyday of their lives?
It is amazing. 
I KNOW this was life - and all they knew - but it surely didn't make it any easier.


I think I will look back at my childhood as the 'good old days' (for me, maybe not my parents), but I will never look at the early building of our nation as thus again.

I am so grateful for all the blessings I have.  We take so much for granted.
The next time you flip a light switch, turn on a faucet, open a package of food - stop and think about what your ancestors did.  They were awesome!

It is quite humbling!

19 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks.
      Nothing more frugal than a pioneer!

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  2. I definitely would not want to do without electricity. I know we are spoiled compared to the pioneers. They slept good at night, I'm sure from pure tiredness.

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    1. Oh we are spoiled, but it has been our life. I guess we get used to what is - but I couldn't keep up with my ancestors, I know that.
      I have the spirit - just not the resolve.

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  3. So true! I have romanticized the past. Then I visit Colonial Williamsburg or Cades Cove in the Smokies, and I don't think I have what it takes. I'm afraid that I have gotten soft, but I guess you do what you have to...I really don't want to do without indoor plumbing. :D and running water.

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    1. Kathy it sure has given me a new respect for those who came before us. I knew things were tough, but sometimes we really need a reminder.
      We have such a lovely life. So grateful for all they did for us to be here.

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  4. Great minds and all that Cheryl! I posted about the new Frontiersmen series on the History Channel too. I loved how they threw in little things about the people, like eating candles made of beef tallow when they were out of food on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. I didn't think of it from your perspective though. We roughed it as kids camping a lot of summers, I've had enough of that for sure!

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    1. I guess we all have similar interests - huh? Neat.
      I love camping, and I could do ok for a while roughing it. Those folks did more than roughing it - life was just so hard.
      God bless them.

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  5. You are so right Cheryl. I'm going to bask in their labor! You know Mother always told me the good ole days were a lot of work. She was right! I too love to grow and do for myself..up to a point.

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    1. There you go - "up to a point". Me too.
      I guess 'good old days' is in the eyes of the beholder - not necessarily the doer.

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  6. Great post! I would have never made it. I would have been the whiny one, probably laid up in bed, with sore muscles. The women died so young... that would have been me. :-))

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    1. I don't think we ever know what we could really do, till we are tested.
      REMEMBER you are a descendant of some of those women who were strong! They are a part of you.

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  7. Sobering thoughts indeed. I am fairly resourceful, pretty tough and danged independent, but now that I'm older, I'm not much interested in being any more resourceful, tough or independent than I am right now. Outhouses, pumping water, oil lamps, wood stoves...nada. Well, maybe the wood stove. But if I were stuck in such a situation, I'd want YOU to be in next covered wagon.

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    1. LOL Melinda - thanks for the compliment!!!
      I am with you - the older we get the harder it would be. I just can't imagine how the older folks did it back then. maybe that's why the people didn't ALL make it to old!

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  8. I admire the pioneer spirit and loved the books Little house on the prairie. I think I would love to homestead. But then I have to reason with myself as I do have RA and that is a factor in what I can and can't do.

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    1. I would like to think I could too, but things don't work as well on my body as they used to!
      I hope you can manage your RA and get relief.

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  9. I do tend to romanticize the olden days, like many do. I've often wondered if I would forge ahead as the westward stream of pioneers did, or beg to stay in my comfy house when it all came down to it. I'll never know, and have to live in the era where I was born. I do wonder if I would have been strong enough to survive, hardened as I would have been with all the hard work, or if I would have died. It does make you think, doesn't it? Great thoughts!

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    1. Thanks. yeah I get to thinking about that stuff a lot. The what ifs. Shoot, I don't know if I could have kept up with grandparents, let alone my 6th & 7th grandparents back.
      Times were hard for sure.
      We just don't know how easy we have it.

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  10. Did you ever watch that series on PBS called "Frontier House" that was filmed in Montana? I loved that series and how they had to learn to live like the pioneers did, some even having to build their own home from scratch with the tools that would have been available to them at that time. Some of the families really rose to the occasion and others crumbled under the pressure.

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