Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Pioneer Life

Debra reflects that she would have made a terrible pioneer.

With yesterday being a holiday here in the States (Presidents' Day), you'd think I would have gotten around to posting in a timely manner. Nope. I ran around and took care of some errands and shopping, and by the time I got home, all I wanted to do was sit on the porch with a book and read. Now granted, we're having unseasonably warm weather around these parts, so it's not often that I get to read a book outdoors in February. But still, I'd been busy all day and I just wanted to put my feet up and relax.

Ironically I'm re-reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder series. I read them all (probably several times) when I was a girl, and I reread them about ten years ago after I visited her home in Mansfield MO. I read Little House in the Big Woods to my kids at school every year, but this year I also revisited These Happy Golden Years as we recently hosted a book discussion at the Historical Society in our newly restored original one-room schoolhouse.
The restoration of our community's original school has been on-going for the past 15 years. We raised money to relocate the building to our campus back in 2009 and have been working ever since then to raise the money to restore it. A couple weeks ago, just in time for our village's 100th birthday, the job was complete. Now we can hold events and activities there. It's quite wonderful. I'm a big history buff, and to have something like this literally in my backyard (I live right behind the Historical Society campus) is a dream come true. When I walked into the building last week to set up for the event, I had tears in my eyes. It's just all kinds of wonderful.
For the event, we had 11 boys and girls come to discuss the book. We chatted about the book, made butter while we talked, ate lunch (ham sandwiches, apples, corn muffins, and stick candy) out of tin pails just like Laura used to, and then did a make and take craft based on the book. We chose that particular book in the series because it's about Laura going away to teach for the first time in a one-room schoolhouse of the day, so we thought it was the prefect tie-in for the inaugural event in our own schoolhouse.
It was a truly wonderful day, and as excited as the kids were, I think myself and my co-leader were even more giddy.

But I digress. The reason I found it ironic to be reading that particular series when all I wanted to do was rest and relax was because those pioneers never sat still. From sun up to sun down they worked: building houses, plowing, farming, taking care of the animals, cooking, doing laundry, doing dishes, sewing...just reading about all of it page after page makes me tired. Don't get me wrong...I work hard, too. With the balmy weather I took some time on Sunday to clean up leaves in the yard I hadn't gotten to in the fall and to remove some landscaping rocks from next to the front porch. But I always take time each and every day to read (at least for an hour before I go to bed each night) and if I'm really lucky, sit and watch a bit of tv with the hubby after dinner. I need my relaxing time. I love to sleep in. Go to bed early. Take time to just take a break.

So I could never be a pioneer. I don't have a strong enough work ethic, that's for sure. But it is amazing to think about those people of the past, and the work they did to build and grow our country.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!



  1. That's a great project that you all were involved in, and it sounds like a terrific opening! I agree with you. I could never be a pioneer--I don't have the stamina. I know during Passover I often feel like one because I have to make all meals from scratch and pretty much, as soon as one is prepared, the others have to be started. But at least that's only a week. My entire life? Never happen!

    1. We're still talking about the event weeks later. It's so fun.

      I probably couldn't survive Passover either. I'm such a wuss. :)

  2. What a wonderful project. I remember the tv series, which I loved, but I've never read her books. I think I will now! Yes those pioneers were always busy. However technology has made life much easier but also distract us too often from what we SHOULD be doing - or at least it does me! A fascinating post Debra, I enjoyed reading it.

    1. Thanks, Carol! We're still so thrilled by the success of the event.

      I highly recommend the books. You'll fly through them...they're easy reads. :)

      And I totally agree about technology being very distracting...

  3. I loved the Laura books, devoured all of them as a child. I loved imagining how they churned butter and wondered how her father blew up the animal bladder to use as a balloon.
    (Living on a farm, I've learned that the bladder is super hard to identify in a gut pile. Putting it to your lips to blow would not be my idea of fun.)
    I lived in Europe growing up, and history is more accessible there, with centuries-old castles and millennia-old ruins to explore. American history is much younger, but just as fascinating.
    Congrats to you for supporting the preservation of an historic site, Debra! History has something to teach us.

    1. Our history is so young when compared to other places. I remember being over in Europe and just unable to comprehend that the buildings I was looking at were thousands of years old instead of hundreds. Around here I'm thrilled with the Centennial of our village. That's nothing compared to some of the history in other places.

      I do love my work with the Society. History is fascinating to me.

      Definitely wouldn't want to blow up a pig's bladder. (The kids think that part is so hilarious/gross at the same time.)

  4. Congrats on a great project, Debra. You must be so proud to have been a part of it, and it sounds like a fantastic day.
    I've only seen the TV series, not read any of the books, but there always seems to be a certain 'charm' about living as a pioneer - until you actually think of all the practicalities!
    We're surrounded by so much history here in the UK, and in mainland Europe too, that we tend to take it for granted, but I know my Canadian friends were thrilled when i took them to Ireland and they saw several prehistoric sites - whereas I was like 'Oh yeah, it's another stone age tomb' or 'another Iron Age fort'. :-)

    1. It's all about perspective, isn't it?!

      And maybe a little bit of taking things for granted when we're so familiar with them. :)