7 tips for survival as we look at the pioneer life, homesteading adventures, and a young boy who is older now recalling all the glory days of hard work, faith, and family which came from his parents and grandparents.
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Western Garden Survival …a healthy serving of the Old Tyme Pioneer spirit with faith, gardens, western values
Tips for the Devotee of the old path of life. This can be farming, gardening, and also church life. For me as a young boy my life was going to the Methodist church on Sunday’s with Mom and Grandma. We all went there. As a young boy the fun part was Sunday school and all the bible stories. After that we went into the main sanctuary, where for hours I sat bored and restless. The actual time was much shorter but for me, it was a waste of time; or so I felt. Bo-orr-ing and hard to understand. Yet for my family there was work, faith, and family life. This all revolved around our city life and of my Grandparents farm.
Homestead for my Grandparents was hard. My Grandmother Goldie Gardener came to the small town of Riverton in 1908 on a train. When they arrived a few buildings, tents, and sagebrush was all there was. Her parents settled down on 160 acres to farm. Grandma met my Grandfather who was from Kansas, of whom, I was told this was a covered wagon trip. I don’t know, all I remember is the covered wagon. Needless to say she met Harvey, my Grandfather and married in 1915 after a two year acquaintance. It was hard work, but they were free and had their own place. It was full of hope and it was that hope that fertilized their dreams during all those cold winters and scarcity. She and Grandpa homesteaded down by the river not far from the last place they farmed. One particular piece of history Grandmother told was of my mothers birth.
She especially recalls the night her youngest daughter, Zelma Smith was born, September 7th, 1928. There was a big celebration, carnival or a circus and a serious knifing that caused quite a commotion2.
When looking at the aspects of Tips for Western Survival, I look to my Grandparents. Now the book they were featured in had many just like them. They were “Homesteaders”, “Pioneers”, and “Americans”. Not long ago I came across a post on Homesteading and Gardening which had asked the Question what is “Modern Homesteading Anyway”? One comment to the article said the following was the definition of the modern homesteader:
“It is a journey, a process, not an event or a place. Homesteading to me indicates action. Trying and learning all the time… expanding what one knows how to do on your own. We are all headed the same direction. Some take different roads but we are all going the same direction.”3
But I believe the definition misses the point of a true homesteader. It is an event and a place. For my family the event was leaving where they were and going to a specific place. The place was a rural valley in view of the Wind River mountains and the land sat next to the mighty Wind River itself. But my grandparents on my mothers side were true pioneers in the sense of the word. Both families came to the untouched landscape from afar. They were settlers who came across broken trails and midnight cowboys. They knew the civil war was a not to distant memory. The first world war had not happened yet. New technology was just coming on the scene. But in the west where they were; technology meant a shovel, a hoe, a horse, a plow, no running water, an outhouse, and all the old west accompaniments. They came to create a life out those dreams they had and the freedom of a place called America. To wide open spaces, blue skies, snow topped peaks of the Wind Rivers, and the flowing of the River itself. A place of mule deer, antelope, elk, bear, mountain lion, coyote, fox, rabbits, and much more. They succeeded in this. The foundation of who they were and what they did forms the basis of the tips from my Grandparents. For us, when it came to faith; this was unequaled. It was in our Father in heaven and in his son Jesus Christ who died for us. This was a non negotiable item here. Howbeit, many today have thrown out this all together, but for me and my house; this is the basis of all things. The tips below are not in order of importance, if it were; Faith would be at the top of the list.
- Belief in what you are doing
- Freedom to do it
- The opportunity to do it, then the go get-em to start doing it
- Never giving up
- Having faith in God and in yourself to never quit
- Procreating, having a family, an inheritance, a seed to carry on your dream
- Willing to sweat it out, freeze it out, and work it out no matter what!.
These are just a few of the important tips for homestead survival, may I remember these to my dying day. I remember with fondness the farm, work, family, faith, good food, fresh food, home grown food, livestock you raised yourself, pets, homemade ice cream, fresh butter, fresh cream, raw milk, canned vegetables and fruit, and homemade baked goods. I remember the black and white television with only 2 channels which gramps only watched at night which was the evening local news. I remember playing canasta by the hour with my grandparents which was our entertainment. I remember after lunch and dinner, my Grandfather would sit in his chair and smoke his pipe, saying “I have to wait an hour to let my food digest”. It as a time to relax and smell the tobacco wafting in the room.
In conclusion, I am sad at the loss of what used to be. It was hard work, but it was clean, vital, and made a real American of faith and hard work of you. Today, we have lost all of that. But it exists in the hearts of those who remember; as I do; the long lost ways of a Pioneer life and Homestead ideals where Americans were free and had faith. Faith in God, faith in themselves, and faith that in this country; everything would work out all right! It is these things we have lost.
I found in the research of this article some interesting items for you.
I saw this and thought “what a great idea?” I have a professional dehydrator, but this is something everyone could use. The site has lots of plans on them for the do it yourself homesteader, farmer, or anyone for that matter. Food storage drying rack is here
Believe me, the main thing to know about homesteading; that is, you can do it! I have learned this lesson over the years. Not in homesteading per se, but in all that I do. I take the Homesteading from my Grandparents, whom on both sides; homesteaded, farmed, and ranched. One in Wyoming and the other in California. In addition, my grandfather did more with a pair of pliers and baling wire than anyone I know. He and Grandma did it all. At the time you did not have all the do it yourself websites, television shows, or radio shows as you do today! You just did it! But they learned from their parents. The knowledge to survive was passed down from father to son and from mother to daughter. Sad today we have no clue as to what this means. Today millions of kids and adults are trained by the liberal media and government to let them do it. The almighty government will take care of you, don’t worry. Well that is not the truth! The times coming will be hard and the governments of the world will be helpless to stop what is coming or to help the multitudes to survive who have no clue on how to stay alive!
Maybe you have nothing to do in the winter, well here is a fun thing to do and involve the kids.
If you happen to have enough space outdoors for an igloo and enough time to build one, you’ll just need to start collecting several hundred cartons. Here is the plans for it and the website to find it!
1Tips for the Western Homestead Survival Devotee
By WatchmanSowsSeed ; Dana G Smith
Keywords: Western, Homestead, Survival, Tips, Devotee, garden, farms, Wyoming, family, faith, hard work, America
2The Riverton Senior Citizens Center and the Early Riverton Group, Riverton Wyoming Copyright 1981, July; “To the pioneers of Riverton and the settlers who broke trail through the sagebrush and began a very special community, this book is dedicated in gratitude.”
3What is ‘Modern Homesteading,’ Anyway? http://www.motherearthnews.com/city-to-country/what-is-modern-homesteading.aspx#ixzz2IGjx7RUB
4Other Links: http://www.urbangardensweb.com/2013/01/16/how-to-build-a-colorful-igloo-from-milk-cartons/ ; http://ana-white.com/