pioneer homesteadinggreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
One of my hobbies is reading diaries of homesteaders and biographies of those who came before. I enjoy getting a hundred+ year old perspective on how things were done back when. The two that I have read in the last week or two are Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart and A Bride Goes West by Nannie T. Alderson. In one of them there is a list given of a years worth of storage. I thought I'd share this with you all. Here is what is listed:
One large bin of Potatoes(more than two tons) half a ton of carrots, a large bin of beets one of turnips one of onions one of parsnips one hundred heads of cabbage She continues by saying, "I have experimented and found a kind of squash that can be raised here(Wyoming), and that the ripe ones keep well and make good pies; also that the young tender ones make splendid pickles, quite equal to cucumbers. I was glad to stumble onto that, because pickles are hard to manufacture when you have nothing to work with. Now I have plenty. They told me when I came that I could not even raise common beans, but I tried and succeeded. And I also raised lots of green tomatoes and as we like them preserved, I made them all up that way. Experimenting along another line I found I could make catchup as delicious as that of tomatoes, of gooseberries. Gooseberries were very fine and very plentiful this year, so I put up a great many. I milked ten cows twice a day all summer; have sold enough butter to pay for a years supply of flour and gasoline. We use a gasoline lamp. I have raised enough chickens to completely renew my flock and all we wanted to eat, and have some fryers to go into the winter with. I have enough turkeys for all our birthdays and holidays."
I don't know about you but that is the kind of chicken flock I am working toward or at least I was until I left them all in California. Can you imagine being able to have the freedom to go out and milk you cows and sell it around the neighborhood to those who wished to buy it. Farmers have truly lost out in our society today. Both of these books are wonderful looks into the past of homesteading.
Little bit Farm
-- Little bit Farm (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 13, 2000
oooh- I like to read that sort of thing too. I'll have to see if I can get those, to read this winter.Historical novels are a good read for me,as well.
I read Saddle Tramp a few years back and liked it.Can't remember author but it was abt a woman who up and decided to travel across the country with her horse and her dogs .Been trying to track down Harland Hubbard books but our library didn't have any. I liked ,I think it is Edward Fox books like Little Shepard of Kingdom Come,set in se KY. Nicks all time favorite is Shepard of the Hills by Harold Bell Wright.Those in MO would esp. enjoy this.Another I read was abt.Texas and I think it was Hardscrapple Farm or something like that.I forget some authors & titles over time.But I sure do enjoy reading them.
-- sharon wt (email@example.com), November 13, 2000.
Last of the Saddle Tramps by Mesannie Wilkins was the book mentioned in my previous post
-- sharon wt (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 13, 2000.
Sharon, I live in Ky and got the Harlan Hubbard books at our little town library! They are good. Why don't you try the interlibrary loan system?
-- bwilliams (email@example.com), November 13, 2000.
Thank you all for suggestions of intresting reading materials.I have found several of the authors and/or titles available through our inter library loan system. It might be intresting to have a list of some of our most favorite books. Happy Reading
-- Arnold (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 13, 2000.
God Bless Elinore, and thousands like her-then and now. Wonder what 'she' would think of us talking across miles-time zones?
-- Kathy (email@example.com), November 13, 2000.
HI Sharon, Last of the Saddle Tramps by Mesannie Wilkins was one of the best biographical books I have read. Her trip was remarkable considering her age and finances.
-- JLS in NW AZ (stalkingbull007@AOL.com), November 14, 2000.
I have a book Pioneer Women in Kansas...the authors first name is Joanne...and I have it loaned out, so I don't know her last name!:( I, too, am intrigued by the tenacity of our foremothers. You know, my mid-wife truly just about lives this lifestyle. She is the coolest! She raises her own: Beef, pork, chickens, eggs, veggies and honey. She even raises meat to sell to her sister and friends in Wichita who give a commendable price for homegrown, non-chemicalized meat. Myself...I garden on a small scale, grow herbs, have a small flock of hens and 3 roosters, 3 does, one buck, and a Charlois calf that has been adopted by one of our does, a Saanen named Carmine. I love considering homesteading past too. Our hills are dotted with old farmsteads. Perhaps I'm too romantic, but I still see their beauty, wonder about the gardens they grew, the children they raised, the flowers that came up each spring, etc.
About 1/2 a mile west of our place...thru either a milo field, or a heavily wooded path bursting with gooseberry bushes, there is a pioneer graveyard. Lots of children buried there. A mile north of here is another with Civil War soldiers buried therein.
Would anyone else feel that homesteading skills may prove to be an imperative in light of our somewhat volative future???
-- Beth Weber (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 14, 2000.
bwilliams-thanks for suggestion.Will do that.Where is your library? I can let mine know that yours has what I need. No forest fires down below you this week,I hope?
JLS-yep,I agree-it was Mesannie's circumstances that really set her story apart,plus I'm always a sucker for a good dog & horse story! Great winter's night read.
-- sharon wt (email@example.com), November 14, 2000.
I think I read that book about Mesannie, did she not leave Maine in the 1950s and head west to the Pacific?
I don't think that I would want to milk 10 cows twice a day and picking several tons of root crops might bring me up short too. This woman must have been feeding a large family with all those potatoes, 100# usually gets us through a season.
A couple of years ago I read a diary of a man here in Oregon, it covered a year, (1870 or so) his wife was using 200-300# of flour a month, that's a lot of biscuts.
-- Hendo (OR) (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 14, 2000.
My friend that from Montana sent me the Letters of a Woman Homesteader for Christmas last year. I really like her charming adventure.
-- Cindy (email@example.com), November 14, 2000.
I think the book someone mentioned is Pioneer Women: Voices from the Kansas Frontier. It's one book I never loan out. During 4 years when we lived outside Missouri, I read it and Centennial by Michner every January to make myself less homesick. Mrs. Pruitt also wrote Letters from an Elk Hunt and I have a book that looks a bit like a doctoral dissertation about her life, things you don't pick up from her own writings. Really good.
As much as I enjoy these writings, I would dearly love to be able spend time now with my long dead maternal grandparents and listen to their life stories again with adult understanding. I adored those two people and cherish the time I could spend with them when I was a child.
-- marilyn (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 14, 2000.
Boy Marilyn-isn't that the truth? Oral traditions are pretty special.My grandma lived into her 90's and was pretty senile in the end, but she still remembered the past.The last few years we learned alot,bc she started talking about the hard times that she had been wary to discuss before.I still missed out on so much of what she knew because I wasn't as interested then as now.Too busy,then.Same old story-you don't miss your water til your well runs dry.
-- sharon wt (email@example.com), November 15, 2000.
This goes a bit afield, but I really enjoyed a book called "Women's Work" by a pair of anthropologists (names escape me) who study the archeological traces of what was generally considered women's work through the ages, mainly is textiles. Although it goes farther back than the pioneering ages (much farther), I really enjoy learning about how everyday things were done back, in the day. It was facinating to read about them trying to figure out how a piece of preserved cloth was woven by doing it themselves, and how such non- descript items such as a row of round clay balls (normally thought of as toys or detritus, and therefore ignored by other archeaologists) actually indicated the presence of a bottom weighted loom, in which the warp was hung down from the ceiling and held by these weights at the bottom - something which helps elucidate all sorts of local economic and traditional ideas of the time. Very interesting.
-- Soni (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 15, 2000.
Here's one of my favourites -- they read it on WPR so I bought it. 'The Land Remembers' by Ben Logan. I was just in a bookstore over the weekend and bought another book by him called 'Christmas Remembered'. 'The Land Remembers' is an autobiographical look at growing up on a farm in So.Western Wisconsin around the turn of the century and raising nearly everything that they needed themselves, tobacco being their only cash crop and soundly disliked by all involved. He recounts things like searching the woods for the last of the Passenger Pigeons as a child.
-- Julie Froelich (email@example.com), November 16, 2000.