Monday, September 24, 2007

Glad We Aren't Little House on the Prairie

Tim and I have often commented that it would have been great to live in the 1800's. Great to be self sufficient pioneers living off the land. I think our view is a bit romanticized.

For school this year Kellen is doing an unit study using the The Little House Collection (9 Volumes). There really are a lot of similarities between our way of living and theirs. They raise meat and vegetables. They forage and hunt for food. We do too, but there are a couple of major differences. For one thing we have a lot of tools that make the jobs easier. I don't think I'd want to build a log home in the manner that they did. The second thing is we are not really and never will be completely dependent on the land for our survival, and I am glad for it.

I look at our pantry stockpile for the winter, and am glad I have a nearby grocery store to fall back on. Yes, there are a lot of jars of food, mostly green beans, but after an unusually hot and extremely dry summer, and troubles with insects, there are many things planned for that are missing.

There are no jars of fruit. The blackberries produced minimally. There were no pears or persimmons. The apples barely produced, and were consumed by the animals before I got to them. In the freezer are a couple pints of blackberry jam and a few quarts of strawberries picked at a pick your own farm.

There are lots a green beans in the pantry, and a smaller than planned for amount of tomato products. There are a few jars of pumpkin and hot peppers, and about 15 pounds of potatoes. There is no corn, thank you very much cutworms, no beets or turnips. Certainly not enough of anything, but beans, for the winter.

The meat department is a little better. There isn't much in the freezer now, but there are rabbits and chickens that soon will be. Hopefully we will have a few deer soon to put in there too.

Though disappointed with some things that didn't go as planned, I really can't complain. I am very thankful, though, that we really aren't dependent on our land to feed our family. If we were, or if a trip to town took me a whole day, or if my only money to buy things came from what we got from our land, we would be in for a long lean winter.

We do enjoy the gardening, the labor, and the reward from it. That part of the life of the Ingals family I am happy to share, but I am so thankful that our survival doesn't really depend on it. Thankful that we live in a time where there are many tools to make the job easier and grocery stores to keep us fed all winter long!


  1. We would be eating a lot of meat this winter, going without a lot. If there wasn't an IGA down the street,

  2. I recently found a video called "Frontier House" that was on PBS. I was able to borrow it for free from my library. They have 3 families move out to middle-of-no-where Montana and they only have the same items that would have been available in 1883. It is amazing to watch! One of the families acts as tho' they had never /heard/ of the Little House series! LOL This is not necessarily good for children to watch, screen it first; they slaughter the chickens and a pig just out of the camera frame and all the women and girls as well as one of the men run around very indecent (OK by today's lax standards, but totally naked according to 1880s!).

    God Bless!

  3. I agree that we sugar coat that era when we think about it. It seems like such a simpler time, when in fact, those people WORKED HARD...including the children. I am so very thankful that we have things easier now, though sometimes I wish that we depended a little more on the land.

  4. Hey, I thought you might be interested in this. has a free unit right now called "History Scribe- The Pioneers"
    Here's the link

    "Children learn as they draw and write history...your children bring history alive with their own creative hands!
    If you love the Little House books... you'll love this extra special History Scribe book.
    Instead of actual historical events and people, this History Scribe deals more with the ideas and events in the lives of the settlers. Such as deciding to leave the old country, how to prepare, the animals, chores and blessings and hardships the pioneers faced.
    A great compliment to any unit studies on Pioneer Life.
    Help with your timeline studies. Includes over 40 pages to illustrate and narrate. All History Scribe Books include a couple blank pages for any special topics you'd like to cover and maps of the region covered."