I have lived the old-fashioned way
I was born in 1956 in rural Missouri.I was eight years old before we had indoor plumbing.I had electric for as long as I can remember.We lived on a major road so electric lines were nearby.I knew plenty of people who did not have electric or plumbing.They lived back in the sticks.We had an outhouse for a bathroom.A wood stove for heat.
Living in the city would be a whole new set of challenges.My dad told plenty of stories about how people got by in the city back in those days.For now, I want to share what I remember about those days in rural Missouri.Maybe if you are thinking of homesteading or off grid living this might be what you could expect.Because I think it would be a lot like living the old fashioned way.
Grandpa and Grandma
You see I stayed with my grandparents a lot.My mom and dad were working hard to get all modern conveniences we take for granted today.My mom went to grandma’s on Saturday to do laundry because she had an old wringer type washer. We got the water out of her rain barrels. I remember when we had our well drilled it had a rope and well bucket set up on a tripod to draw the water out.Before the water well was drilled we hauled water from one of the most beautiful springs in Missouri. It is a tourist attraction today for trout fishermen.
Was a good fisherman we eat fish four or five days a week.He had stopped hunting by the time I came along.He did take me squirrel hunting a few times. I have eaten squirrel and rabbit.
Would boil the old squirrel to make a tasty gravy and dumplings.The young ones she would fry.My grandparents always had chickens for eggs and fryers.We would sit by the wood stove and shell field corn to feed the chickens. Or we would churn butter out of fresh cream skimmed off the milk. Before my time they always had a milk cow. My aunt had milk cows so they brought milk to them every Sunday when they came to go to church. I think all my aunts and uncles came more for grandma’s Sunday dinner than the church.No, they were church people and they made sure me and my cousins were there in church right beside them.
Wild Edibles and a GARDEN
My grandparents were always out picking blackberries, blueberries, watercress, lamb’s quarter, black walnuts, hazelnuts, and a whole lot of other wild edibles.I remember going down the road and watching my great uncle plow a garden with a horse. I think he probably had a tractor but he liked working that old horse. They got enough vegetables to pressure cook and can them. We had canned vegetables to eat all winter.They would store apples and potatoes under the house on screen wireframes hanging from the floor joists.They would last quite a while like that.It was all about family and community helping one other.I don’t remember my grandpa having a garden but he had vegetables to can.
My grandpa helped build our country church along with probably all the men in the congregation.They were craftsmen there was no such thing of hiring a construction company when you needed something built they just did it. I do not remember my grandpa hiring anybody to help with repairs on his house or farm.Sometimes a neighbor or family member would help him.My grandpa could build his own river boats. They were the flat bottom John boat type.He built them out of oak. When he got done with one he would take it to the river put in it the water and it would almost sink.But after a short time, he would go dip the water out of it and the oak had swelled up sealing all the cracks. If it had any minor leaks he would seal them with tar.Like I said he was a craftsman he knew how to pick the right lumber to build the boats.He could look at a tree and tell you how many board feet of lumber was in it.
He was a Business Man
He had a river and fishing guild service. People would come out of the city and he would take them fishing.He also had a country store.Most of his customer’s had a charge account with him.They would pay him when they sold something maybe a hog, calf, or whatever they had.Lots of people worked in the timber and sold fence posts, lumber, or stave bolts. There is a place in town that builds whiskey barrels that is where they sold the stave bolts. It is still there today it employs several hundred people.I do not remember a lot of people having a regular job where they got a paycheck.
My grandma was a talented lady.
She did all her cooking from scratch no processed food and didn’t even use a recipe or measuring cups. To top that she was cooking on a wood cookstove.There was a lot of work getting wood split small enough to fit in the stove and build a fire. She always had a pot of brown beans on the table along with some cornbread fresh out of the oven for dinner and supper.Sometimes she would open a jar of green beans and new potatoes she had canned she added a little bacon in green beans when she cooked them. Boy were they good.I remember we eat a lot of fish, bacon, ham, and chicken.She made most of her own and grandpa’s clothes. She would make quilts and braid rugs from old clothes and scrap materials. She also had a home remedy for about anything when you would get sick.
I wouldn’t recommend
Selling your house and moving into the woods and living the off-grid without trying it first.Even with solar panels and windmills available at reasonable prices nowadays.Producing enough electricity to run A.C.units, hot water heaters, and water well pumps etc.would be expensive.It will take some forgotten skills and a lot of hard work to live the old fashion way. Although it could be a real healthy way to live. Growing your own food gathering wild edibles raising and hunting for your meat. Combined with all the physical exercise you would get might be what the doctor ordered.
I know that I have just scratched the surface of what it took to survive the old fashion way.
I hope you enjoyed reading.
Do you have any experience living the old ways?
Maybe some of your ancestor’s stories?
If you do, could you share them in the comments, please?
I and my readers would enjoy them and learn something.