I had a couple things written down to maybe write about today, and then I read Maebeme's post over at My life, my world. She wrote about an adventure she had this week and it looked so lovely and so full of history. It really got my mind going.
I started thinking about my ancestors (and yours) and how we have all become so 'soft'! It is true. Sure, we have all had challenges in our lives and we have had hardships - but I wonder how many actually come even a smidge close to what our ancestors faced.
Think about it. There were no roads. No fancy vehicles. No stores at first. No lumber yards. No meat markets. No heat or AC. There WAS just raw nature!!!
The first settlers had to face wilderness. They had to cut their own trails through dense woods and over hills, rivers, mountains, etc. They had horses and if lucky, wagons. Many had to make their own tools to work with. As they cut those trails it was with axes - no chainsaws then!
They had to cut trees for lumber to make their homes. They had dirt floors. IF lucky they had a fireplace for heat. No cooling.
They had to cut ice from rivers and lakes for any cooling and try to keep it as long as possible in dugouts.
They had to grow what they ate or forage the woods and meadows. IF they had meat - they killed it themselves (before it could maybe kill them). They learned through trial and error ways to preserve food for harsh winters.
This would have been a fanciful cabin. Porch and rails, flower boxes and real windows!
Clothes were what you had or made. Bedding was made from scraps of worn out clothes. Many used hides and skins for warmth. They hides were often used for footwear as well.
My ancestors came here in the early 1700's and were looking forward to a life without religious persecution. They went through so much - even having one of my many times great grandfathers being captured and held for years by Indians. There are many history stories about this. The things these people endured is beyond my imagination.
We have all seen shows like Little House on The Prairie and think WOW. It had to be so much worse in the years before that was represented. Before towns and any kind of rules. Just wilderness and nature and you surviving by your wits!!!!
Doctors were hard to come by and hospitals did not exist in those early years. No modern medicine. People used nature as remedies. If you got hurt out in the wild - odds are you died.
Even in recent years (1800's and up to mid 1900's) many people lived in such basic ways. Times were hard. Think rural areas and mountain areas and it was even worse. No electricity in many areas, only fireplaces and wood stoves for heat. No way to cool down except maybe a dip in the crick.
Grow what you ate or kill what you ate. No formal schools. Buying new clothes and such just didn't happen much. Just going to a town was a huge adventure.
Newspaper or feed bags lined walls to keep out cold drafts. Shoes were not a necessity. Everything was used over and over! Life was at it simplest and bare essentials was all many had. Some not even that.
I guess my point to this is boy oh boy - are we FORTUNATE!!!!!!
It seems we have all become a bunch of panty wastes!!!! LOL! SO spoiled with little imaginations or skills. We would most likely not survive if the worse happened and we had to revert back to old times. Sure we all like to think we know enough and YES, we do know from reading and TV what people did. But could we do it and survive? Who knows.
Maebeme see what your sweet adventure post did to me? LOL! Boy you got my mind going.
I love watching shows like Barnwood Builders because they talk about the history of old barns and buildings they are trying to preserve. I find it all so fascinating.
So many of these buildings were built before this was even a country and still survive. That is amazing - the workmanship and skills these people had. I can't believe it would happen much today.
So the next time the AC goes out or the furnace for a day or so, stop and think. Next time you run out of something and you jump in your vehicle and run up the street to the fancy store to buy something - think. The next time you are stuck without water for a while - think. The next time something you have breaks or wears out - think.
They next time you dig into a nice steak or seafood dinner - think. Next time you fill glass with ice cubes to keep your drink nice and cold - think, They next time you take a good look at your stocked pantry and freezers - think. Next time you need a doctor or a hospital - think.
I applaud people today learning and trying to live off the grid. What gumption.
Even with living off grid today - supplies and towns and vehicles are there and can be reached and used.
Take a moment today to just think about the past and what your ancestors went through. If not here, then in another country. No matter who you were or where you came from - there were times when THINGS that we know did NOT exist.
Be ever so grateful for the little things and especially for the big things.
Our lives are pure comfort compared to history!!!!!
This is so true, and it makes me thankful for what I have and even for the limited container gardening that I can do. My grandmother found some handmade quilt tops that her mother had made, but never finished. As a family, we finished those quilts and each of her great grandchildren got one. I still have mine -- one inch squares, hand stitched together, and made from flour sacks. I cherish that quilt, the work that went into making it, and the memories that it holds, the stories it could tell.ReplyDelete
Yes, even a meager garden is freshness to be had and it is wonderful.Delete
Oh what an absolute treasure. I have a couple quilts that were made by Glen's grandma - all by hand. Treasures for sure.
Somedays I think it would be wonderful to be a time traveler and just go and sit quietly and watch the things they all did and the love they put into things. I would love to go back and hear the stories as well.
You and your family are blessed with such wonderful gifts of love.
My great grandmother went west in a covered wagon to Iowa at the same time in history as Laura Ingalls. Her father had come from Wales and brought along a piece of furniture that was dear to him. That large glass front secretary went west in the covered wagon with them. That secretary sits in my dining room today and it has the original glass even after it's big trip west. It often makes me think of the courage and adventure that my ancestors undertook to settle this land of ours.ReplyDelete
Yes, we are wimps! My biggest fear in the summer is a power outage that takes out the A/C.
WOW - what a wonderful item to have. That is fantastic and to think it still has the original glass. Over the ocean and across the land and in your dining room. Fantastic.Delete
I have a couple of dishes that came from 7X gr. grandparents when they came from Switzerland in 1736 - and I was amazed they made it.
What a treasure you have. Thanks for sharing
It's amazing to read how treasures that families brought with them survived. My 4 x Grandfather William Goldfinch took a large chest, a bureau and a small tea chest with him when he left Kent, UK in 1832. They were treasured and passed down to family members.Delete
My grandparents were BIG gardeners and my grandmother preserved it all. My grandfather had at least 3 gardens going in different locations during the growing seasons. It was a lot of work, which we don’t do these days.ReplyDelete
Remember when they would put milk, watermelon into the creek to keep them cold? The watermelon would be so cold it would hurt your teeth! LOL
Great blog post, Cheryl.
How wonderful. The work ethic back in the day was so much greater than today. As Lana said - we are wimps today compared to back then.
I remember milk kept in a stream and you are right it was sooooo cold - and yummy.
We have it good - but in SOME ways those days were better.
I was just talking about this with a client. SO many people just have no survival skills. Can you sew?, can? cut up an animal? Can you start a garden from seeds? Can you collect seeds? Are you physically fit enough to walk somewhere? Many young people could not hike 5 miles if required to in order to save their lives, or get to a safe spot. We live in a blessed time, but I wonder if it won't be harmful to us later when we might need these skills. Remember the hurricane in New Orleans? People who had been cared for by the system unable to do anything for them selves/ReplyDelete
100% correct. We are blessed and have so much - but all the things you mentioned and more would be impossible for some. We have really hurt ourselves in spite of having abundance.Delete
There is so much we could teach others - but for the most part no one wants to learn these things today.
It is so sad.
I love this post. I'm very interested in family history. My 4 x Great Grandfather William Goldfinch married twice. He left the UK with his second wife Christiana, who was around 20 years his junior and some of the children. from his first marriage, they settled in Elizabeth NJ for a couple of years and then moved to Athens, Crawford County. So lucky that the Goldfinch family have been written about online by the North American Family History society. It must have been a really hard life to begin with for them and a large family. William had been in Miller in Kent (UK) and that's whether continued to work at in PA.ReplyDelete
William's daughter Mary Maria stayed in the UK having been pregnant with an illegitimate daughter Ellen when the family made their voyage in 1832. They were my 3 x and 2 x grandmothers.
Sorry, he continued to work as a Miller in the US.Delete
What a wonderful story. I so love family history. I love all the little side stories. so many stories weren't shared because people didn't speak of "bad" (not my word - theirs) things. Those were the stories I found the most intriguing. Each and every one of them is a part of us and part of why we are today.Delete
Thanks for sharing!
I often wonder how my mother and her family survived the winters in their small homestead cabin in the more northerly part of my province. Makes me so grateful for all that I have that makes my life easier.ReplyDelete
It is amazing how many survived. Such fortitude and strength!Delete
So thankful for my life.
Fascinating post and actually very timely. There may come a day in the near future when we need some of the old timey skills and gumption. Folks are spoiled with modern conveniences and no idea how to do anything else. My ancestors came over from England and Holland and settled in Kentucky. Times were hard and they survived by hard work and common sense. I have treasured quilts made by grandmothers and great-grandmothers. I have my Grandma Westerfield's homemade quilting frames. When I was young girl my Grandpa Mullins was still farming with a horse. I will say that in my suburban neighborhood lots of folks garden and keep chickens.ReplyDelete
Your neighborhood is ahead of the game a little!Delete
Our ancestors worked so hard and had so little - yet they survived - we are testimonial of that.
The fact that we are all here today is amazing.
You are so right - so many know so little today.
I grew up with my mom and stepdad, my bio father passed when I was only three. My mom was a home while stepdad worked. When they married my mom brought 2 little girls and he 2 little boys, he had been widowed as well. I did not know them we didn't have much but I never knew that. They bought a small home, 3 beds, 1 bath but it was on a double lot. The second lot was made into a huge garden. It was so much fun as a child getting to help work the garden. When things were ready, we all picked the vegetables, which we used in everyday meals. My mom canned and froze things in our huge chest freezer. I loved the job of shelling peas and beans, which I could still do it today but have not had the luck yet since I started to garden (did not start until my husband passed) he had no interest in gardening. As a child we also had pear and plum trees, my mom made jams, jellies and preserves that were so good in pies. We had a couple of chickens and a rooster, to our delight Stepdad got us a shetland pony for the kids. His name was Sam, he learned how to open the back screen door and come in the house, Mom did not like that to much! I had a wonderful childhood and it makes me sad that kids today don't get to have these experiences. I include my grandson, he helps me plant the seeds, water and then watch at things start to happen. He loves to do see the vegetable growing and helping me pick. I hope he will remember these things when he is grown up. I don't have the room to plant corn or melons. He has helped with green beans, squash, tomatoes. I have not had luck with peppers yet. I also don't have enough bees, so he helps me pollenate the tomatoes buy using a small paint brush, we call it painting the flowers and it works great, in case any of you have that problem is really works.ReplyDelete
Your childhood sounds wonderful. I think we have many of the same types of memories. Life was simple, we were rich in money - but boy were we rich in experiences.Delete
I love these stories.
Your grandson is a lucky little guy. He will surely remember these things and tell his grandchildren some day. You are giving him experiences to help him live and memories that will last a lifetime.
We watch old cowboy movies and tv series. I often comment. If I had to live in dust and open areas, I would die an early death from my asthma and allergies.ReplyDelete
It does make you wonder how many did survive things like that. I guess they had their home remedies - but it couldn't have been easy. Life was hard back then.Delete
We say it all the time "I don't know how are ancestors did it, they had it so hard." Yes, we say that a lot my husband and I cause we know how hard it must've been for them and how hard they worked just to survive. I think about them a lot. And no, we definitely couldn't live the way they did. They were made of much heartier stock. They had no choice. We, meaning us as a society, are a bunch of soft, spoiled brats who cry if a store doesn't have our favorite drink or if Taco Bell runs out of hot sauce. Our ancestors probably laugh at us. But God put us on earth at this point in time, so they know not to be too hard on us.ReplyDelete
AMEN! I agree to all you said. I get so tired of hearing people complain about all the little silly stuff. We are so fortunate and have no idea how much so.Delete
Yep, spoiled brats for sure. Every day I see posts on FB about "oh no what will we do" and just shake my head. People have no common sense today.
I would love to hear more about your ancestor who was taken captive by Indians and not released for some years. Do you know any more details?ReplyDelete
I do - there is a lot of written history in my research/genealogy books. I will devote a post one day to that. It is quite interesting.Delete
Thanks for asking
Thankful for those who came before us and the fortitude they showed. Also thankful for advances in medicine...I received a breast cancer diagnosis last week. It was found early and I’m hopeful. Thank you for all the good you do here, Cheryl!ReplyDelete
Thankful here as well. Prayers Peggy. Early detection is a huge plus. Modern medicine can be a godsend for so many things, and so can technology. Prayers all goes well for you and please keep us informed. I truly do care about you all.Delete
Thanks for your kind words.
Thank you, I'm glad my day trip provided some inspiration. It's funny, because I went primarily for the wildlife and scenery but ended up learning more about the history of the area. Stumbling on that little church was a bonus.ReplyDelete
If I had to, I'm sure I could go back to having no running water - it wouldn't be easy but I did it for the first 20 odd years of my life. But I'd be a vegetarian because I couldn't kill an animal. Electricity and heat would be hard to get by without too. So yes, I'm a wimp too.
Like Anne, I'd love to hear more about your ancestor who was captured by native Americans.
LOL - like you, I would be a vegetarian - I have said that to many people. I just couldn't kill an animal.Delete
I am glad you found that spot and told us about it - it sure got my mind in gear!!!!
I think I could do pretty well - I know how to do a lot of things sort of well!
I will do a post on another date about my ancestor - for sure.
My Dad came from a family that came over and settled in the Chesapeake Bay area of Maryland. Even though he died young my stepfather took the family there every year in the summer so I could see my grandparents. They were oystermen and fishermen. My Granddad was famous in the area for catching a giant sea turtle which was shared with the whole community. He wore overalls, always had little salt and pepper shakers in his pocket with his pockect knife in case he came across something tasty. I never could eat those oysters. My mom told me stories of coming for a visit and my dad stopped for lunch, he made her try fried oysters, she got really sick, she never ate oysters again. This was my disney world, swimming right off a private beach, they had property right on the Nanticoke river. Sleeping on the screened in porch where you could hear the waves. Catching crabs off of the rock jetty and the creek running up the property. Eating crab, sweet corn and watermelon. They are all gone to heaven but I want to take my mom's ashes to buried next to my dad and see everything again before I am gone. What a wonderful life they had!ReplyDelete
Now that sounds like my kind of Disney Land!!!!! How wonderful and what a fantastic step father you had. I can't do oysters either -ICK! Mom used to make what she called oyster soup on Christmas Eve and the smell about made me want to barf. Oh, I still shudder thinking of them eating it!!! LOLDelete
The rest you described sounds downright blissful - kind of like a story from a movie. Such lovely memories.
That would be wonderful for you to go back and visit the area again. I hope you get to.
Wow! So true....ReplyDelete
I remember my mom telling me her mom made jelly out of watermelon rind. They used everything. And this same grandma had a good-sized garden when she was well into her 90s. She'd raised 6 kids during the depression; it was a necessity then.