Thursday, April 16, 2015

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - So HOW DID The Pioneers Do It?

Sometimes living in this day in age with all of the conveniences of life, we can get a little slack. That may come around and bite us in the hiney later on. Some of the skills our grandparents and great grandparents used on a daily basis - they used to survive. The dollar had a lot bigger stretch than it does today. They could get a month's worth of groceries for $50 (for my family I could easily spend $100 a week).

This link follows eight forgotten skills that the pioneers used daily. 

They are: 
  • Gardening for food
  • Animal husbandry
  • Food preservation
  • Blacksmithing
  • Basic carpentry
  • Basic mechanical repair
  • Herbal medicine
  • Horseback riding
This is just a basic list. Some of these are no brainers for us like preserving food. We've been taught to preserve food for many years. Others have never crossed our minds. There are many other things we could add to the list like:
  • soap making (like from ashes and lard)
  • molasses rendering
  • food foraging
  • sewing/ mending your own clothes (even found in diary's of old cowboys out on the range)
  • etc.
Between myself and my husband, we pretty much have the list figured out except horseback riding (which wouldn't be hard to pick up, but we currently don't own a horse) and blacksmithing. There was typically one blacksmith in town (my great great grandfather was the one in Taylor for many years). 

Why might we want to learn some of these skills? 

When we learn these skills we can pass this knowledge on to our children and show them how their ancestors lived. It helps them (and us) make a connection with those who have come before. It turns our hearts to our fathers.

These skills may save our lives someday when the prophecies spoken of in the scriptures are fulfilled and modern conveniences may go away for a time - we will live fine and happy because we have these skills to lean on. 

It also helps us count our blessings too :)...
So HOW DID the pioneers do it? 

The same way we do. We learn, we adjust, we cry a little and we move on :). 

I wanted to share with you a "recipe" I received in an email a few years ago for how they USED to do laundry:

Years ago an Alabama grandmother gave the new bride the following recipe: (
This is allegedly an exact copy as written and found in an old scrapbook - with spelling errors and all.)


Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water. Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert. Shave one hole cake of lie soap in boilin water.

    Sort things, make 3 piles
    1 pile white,
    1 pile colored,
    1 pile work britches and rags.

To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boiling water.

Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and boil, then rub colored don't boil just wrench (rinse) and starch.

Take things out of kettle with broom stick handle, then wrench (rinse), and starch.

Hang old rags on fence.

Spread tea towels on grass.

Pore wrench (rinse) water in flower bed. Scrub porch with hot soapy water. Turn tubs upside down.

Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs. Brew cup of tea, sit and rock a  spell and count your blessings.

Amazing isn't it? I would like to skip to the last step...I'm kinda lazy like that. It is so much work, but so worth learning. Even if you master one skill from that time period, you'll be that far ahead that you'll be able to teach others and lift their burdens if/ when the need arises.

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