Thistleblooms Rambles

thistlebloom

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I don't think it's isolation related. Most folks around here aren't hiding indoors. I think it was all in the timing 😄.
Met a guy today walking his Airedale out on the single tracks. We had a nice chat. He grew up on a working ranch here. He said he's 74 and they worked draft horses, not because it was the eco thing to do, they just didn't have a tractor then.
 

Mike CHS

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Things have progressed so fast in such a short time that I think many have no idea how it was just a generation ago. I lived with my Grands when I was young and remember when Grandpa got his first tractor when I was around 6 years old. Up until then he used a herd of huge mules (or at least they seemed huge to a six year old. )
 

Ridgetop

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Daddy (my FIL) was the son of a sharecropper. His dad was crippled and the large family of boys had to do all the farming. Daddy told me how he used to hitch up a pair of big black mules to the wagon and head out for the fields before dawn. He would unhitch and plow all day with those mules then rehitch them to the wagon, and tie up the lines. He would lay down in the back of the wagon and go to sleep. When the mules got home, they would stop and he would wake up and unhitch! :lol: He was one of the youngest and as each boy got to enlistment age they would go off. Daddy had to drop out of his senior year in high school to do the spring planting. In those days, responsibility for the family was paramount.
 

thistlebloom

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My great grandparents on my moms side and great -great- great on dads homesteaded. I have a picture of my grandma (mom's mom) with her siblings and their horses harnessed and ready to hitch for the days work. Or maybe they were unhitched and ready to unharness... 🤔 Mom grew up on the farm, I don't know how she escaped horse fever, but I think she was glad to have a daughter infected with it.
 

Baymule

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My Daddy dropped out of school in 7th grade because his Dad kept taking him out of school to work in the fields. His Dad was a sharecropper, they grew up poor. My Daddy was put to work at age 10, chopping cotton for 10 cents a day. When my kids were little, I planted cotton, maybe 8 plants. Oh! They complained when I made them go chop weeds with a hoe in the summer! They raised that cotton until it bloomed and bore cotton, then they "harvested" their cotton. We took a couple of bolls, pulled out the seed and drew out fibers, twisting into a crude "thread". Then they both took their newfound knowledge to school with a baggie of cotton bolls for show n' tell.
 

Ridgetop

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It is always good to remember how hard our forebears worked. It helps us to recognize how easy we have it today even though we still work hard. We just work differently. I used to subscribe to a magazine that was geared toward homesteading. Readers would write in about their dreams to buy a place "off the grid" with no electricity, running water or sewer. there they planned to "live off the land" and raise their children. I finally stopped my subscription because while I enjoy raising my own food, canning, sewing, etc., I have no desire to go without indoor plumbing, indoor water, electricity, and labor saving devices like washing machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, etc. I understand why farm women who worked 24/7 welcomed the introduction of these labor saving devices into their lives!

Back in the day, women could not work outside the home since it took all their time just to clean their houseS, cook from scratch, haul the water from the well or pump, heat it, wash the clothes, dry them on the line, and iron them with a flat iron. Not to mention the constant chore of mending and making the clothes, knitting and darning socks, then add the normal women's chores of milking and making butter, collecting eggs, feeding the chickens, the all day chore of caring for children, planting and harvesting the garden and canning enough vegetables, meat, fruit to keep the family all year, and it was a thankless job with no time left except to try to get some sleep at the end of the day!

I love my HVAC, indoor plumbing, gas stove, electric oven, vacuum, microwave, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and all my other appliances especially my COFFEE MAKER! :love

Not to mention having to do all that work wearing 10 petticoats, long skirts, and a corset! :eek:
 

Beekissed

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Back in the day, women could not work outside the home since it took all their time just to clean their houseS, cook from scratch, haul the water from the well or pump, heat it, wash the clothes, dry them on the line, and iron them with a flat iron. Not to mention the constant chore of mending and making the clothes, knitting and darning socks, then add the normal women's chores of milking and making butter, collecting eggs, feeding the chickens, the all day chore of caring for children, planting and harvesting the garden and canning enough vegetables, meat, fruit to keep the family all year, and it was a thankless job with no time left except to try to get some sleep at the end of the day!
I think you view it as most of the world views it but for many women it didn't feel like a thankless job and it was their pride and joy to take care of their family in this way. I know my Mom felt like that and I did and do too. We moved to a raw piece of land when I was 10 and lived off grid...not in the fancy way they do now, with other ways to get power, but hauling water from a spring, kerosene lights and wood heat. Lots of hard work to get and stay comfortable...no fans when it was hot, no AC, no cool or hot shower, no fridge for the first year but finally got an old Servel propane fridge...very tiny but better than cooling things in a spring or ice chest.

We lived that way for 9 years, Mom was around 48 when they started that, with 4 kids still at home and another 5 coming and going from their failed adult pursuits. We lived in a 2 room log cabin that was so small I could reach out and touch my parent's bed and my brother slept on the bunk above me and my sister. Washed our clothes by hand, lived off the garden and the woods, and walked almost a mile to catch the school bus...and yep, it WAS uphill both ways, as that's just how WV is styled.

Mom didn't feel like she was overworked and had no time for herself and my grandmother raised 8 kids in much the same manner before she moved where they had modern conveniences and she didn't feel like her life wasn't her own either. They were both very proud of being a mother, of providing for their families with their own two hands and they felt proud of their skills in doing so. When you are canning a thousand...and I do mean a thousand...jars of food on a wood cook stove in the middle of August, you are working hard for your food. I never once heard Mom complain...to this day she has never complained, but looks back on her life with pride and joy in what she and they and we accomplished. She's 86 now and was on a ladder most of the day yesterday, bleaching the outside of her current log cabin with a garden sprayer. She wouldn't be able to still do that if she had lived a life of ease all those years....her sisters did and they are invalids...or dead.

Don't get me wrong....I now LOVE having a washing machine and dryer and also love a hot shower(to this day, every single time I climb into that shower, I thank God for the water, pure and clean, hot and with pressure...until you've lived a long time without it, you never truly appreciate the pure luxury of it!), but even though Dad worked us like slaves and we were bee stung, bug eaten, calloused, sunburned and frostbit from working outdoors in all seasons and weathers to grow our food and keep warm there, to me it still never seemed as bad as my siblings thought it was. Yeah, it was hard, but we were young and healthy and we were doing what no one our age was doing, learning things they weren't and learning to appreciate all the things they took for granted.

I think we all get a picture of how hard homesteading was back in the day and it was, much harder than we had it, but those people didn't know anything else, so had nothing to really compare it to and so didn't feel as put upon as we women today would if we had to do all of that in a day's time. Anyone that has ever read Farmer Boy from the Little House series would get an eye opener as to how hard their mother worked...but she enjoyed it and didn't feel she had no time to herself...she was by herself a lot when she was spinning, weaving, sewing clothes, etc. My mother enjoyed hard work and so do I. There are many, many people and were back then, especially, for which work is not a 4 letter word and doing all the things a woman does to grow and preserve food, keep a house and family together, and keep life going isn't and wasn't a curse or a drudge, but something they were designed to do, a job given to them by God to do and so they did it as if unto God, which brings joy and gratitude for the body you have and the health you have to even do such things.

Those chores were not thankless, not by a long shot. Not if you had your head right. Every time your family sat down to a good meal that didn't come completely off a store shelf...or at all from a store, showed up on a Sunday for church or went off to school with neat, clean clothing and clean bodies, every time you and your husband laid down on clean sheets for the night...all those things were the only thanks a good woman needed. The joy and satisfaction of having worked hard and having it mean something at the end of the day was and is enough if you've got your mind in the middle.
 

thistlebloom

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Surely there were some women who did all that work and viewed it as drudgery and a burden. But I think @Beekissed has it right. It's where your heart and mind are. Gratitude to God is such a foundational place to start.

Bee, I love your mom and her attitude, she's such a good model to emulate.
I have huge respect for the women on this forum who are such hard workers
(and the men too!) and don't back down and don't complain. And the young moms taking care of their kids and husbands and the myriad of work that comes with families and livestock.

We don't all have ancestors that eked out a living off the land with their own two hands, but it's an extra blessing to those that do, to have known them and witnessed a part of their lives.
 
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