Friday, March 2, 2012

Hmm...

I don't know what to write about today.  I guess I'll just say some of what I did.  Ruby let me sleep in--so nice of her!--and after we got up and had breakfast and got dressed, it was time to do the usual type of chores: wash breakfast dishes, start the laundry, and work on packing.  I packed up some of the contents of the built-in bookshelves in the living room. They are mostly full of "teacher books" that I was given by a generous teacher friend who was retiring from the field and ready to unload some of her library.  I sorted through them according to subject and decided which to hold on to and which to donate to the other teachers at my school.  Andy came over to take a look at them to see if any would be suitable for his tutoring needs, and we chatted for a while; Ruby was cute and played peekaboo in her little cardboard house.  I made lunch for Ruby and myself and then put her down for a nap shortly afterwards, then went back to packing (although I did take time out to read some interesting blogs and articles online for a while.)  I listened to a Mars Hill sermon on marriage (their current series) and did not get to my sewing project as I had hoped.  Tomorrow, perhaps.  It's a small project (especially compared to my last sewing project): I'm making a modesty nursing cover that will hopefully stay put better than slinging on a blanket over myself.  I've had lots of thoughts today, but none of them are really bloggable right now.  I guess I will say a little something about chores.
 I've been reading "Farmer Boy" and some of the "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I read them when I was little but appreciate them more now, especially thinking about what it must have been like to be a mother and wife back then.  Tiring, that's what!  From sun up to sun down was work, work, work.  I gripe about not having a dishwasher, but what if I had to cook on a stove that was heated by wood or buffalo chips?  Oh, and no refrigeration; you had to find other ways to preserve your food.  There was always something to do, because if you didn't do it yourself, it wasn't going to get done.  Not only did the women make the clothes, they made the cloth for the clothes!  Another thing that stands out is how much responsibility was given to the children.  They had so much work to do to help keep things going smoothly.  Having a large family was essential for getting work done on the farm.  Most interesting to me about reading "Farmer Boy" in particular is the description of the daily meals.  Almanzo Wilder was not a pioneer boy, but a farm boy in New York state in the 1840s (I think).  His family was not well-to-do per se but they were not living the hardscrabble life that Laura Ingalls and her family had to live as they kept moving westwards. Almanzo's mother and sisters spent a huge portion of their day cooking and then cleaning up after meals.  The meals always sound huge and often include fruit pies.  At first it sounds unhealthy, but when I recall that they would not have had access to lots of fresh fruit and vegetables during the cold fall, winter, and spring months, eating an apple pie was a good way to get fruit into the diet.  Besides which, when you are living in a house that is heated only by wood stoves and it is 40 below zero outside, you want all the fat extra insulation you can get!  Their breakfasts were huge, too, but they also had to have energy to do a lot of hard physical labor outside.  I think that most people then needed to consume more calories than most of us do now, yet we probably consume more now than they did then, even with all those rich homemade meals containing lots of lard and dairy.  Anyway, it's all very interesting to compare life then to life now, and it helps remind me that my chore load is FAR from strenuous compared to what it could be had I been born in a different era!  Speaking of that, need to go fold laundry while Ruby is keeping busy by feeding herself yogurt.

5 comments:

  1. I love reading the Little House books! I think sometimes I look back with nostalgic eyes and wish some things could be the same now--but then, as you suggest, we really have no idea how difficult things were then. Too bad we can't cherry pick! I guess I will be happy with 2012 because I sure don't want to cook with buffalo chips!

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  2. My wife is planning a Laura Ingalls Wilder road trip for a summer with our daughter that follow the Big Woods to the Prairie. She can't wait to read the series with her.

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  3. You'll be so happy to have this snippet of a day with Ruby when she's older. :) I like how you moved into a reflection on life now compared to life back then. It's interesting how we start to write about one thing, but it leads us to a whole other story.

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  4. I'm glad you wrote...even though you didn't know "what" to write. :)

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  5. ARGH I'm a jerk and haven't been keeping up with your slices--but so glad you're keeping up! Will be better about checking in each day, promise.

    Also, your post made me want to reread the Little House books. I read them twice as a kid--once when I was pretty young (perhaps my mom read them to me? Can't remember.) and again in early middle school, I think. Loved them then, and I'm sure I'd love them still. I think my mom still has our set, so I will have to attack when I'm out there in May...

    PS: Had a dream last night that Allen called me in the middle of the night to tell me Max had arrived. Just FYI: I don't need to be the first one you call. You're off the hook. :)

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