Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I must be easily fascinated, because I'm hooked on reading
Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. For some reason, I don't remember reading it during my childhood, though I read other Little House books. And, I don't recall reading it during my glued to the re-runs of Little House on the Prairie TV shows, either.
Maybe, I did read it somewhere in the past but was too young to appreciate the details it portrays of farm life in the 1860's.
Anyhow, I like this paragraph about the late summer harvest season: "They all worked from candle-light to candle-light. Mother and the girls were making cucumber pickles, green-tomato pickles, and watermelon-rind pickles; they were drying corn and apples, and making preserves. Everything must be saved, nothing wasted of all the summer's bounty. Even the apple cores were saved fr making vinegar, and a bundle of oat-straw was soaking in a tub on the back porch, Whenever Mother had one minute to spare, she braided and inch or two of oatstraw braid for making next summer's hats."
Isn't it wonderful how they made the most of every bit of time, plus every bit of produce that they could? Of course, in today's world, we generally don't need to save apple cores to make vinegar, though I suppose some people do make vinegar that way. We can buy a gallon of cheap vinegar at the store, if we like. Yet, I am convicted about how much I do throw away simply by not planning quantities better.
My father's parents had some of this make something out of everything attitude, though probably not to this extreme. Yet, almost every part of an animal slaughtered on their farm was used in some way, and many, many things were pickled.
In modern times, this can be a boon and a burden. We've all heard stories of people raised in the Depression who saved every bit of twine and string in case they needed it later. That was a good habit in Depression days, but one that created clutter in modern times.
I'm challenged by the idea of applying the underlying principles of creative use of time and goods in a modern household. I'd love to see if we can do this in a way that we do not consume to excess and so that nothing is wasted and, yet, so that we do not save burdensome clutter.
Of course, very efficient people know how to apply the underlying principles to every situation. They think about what they do and why and figure out the best way to do it to save time, energy, money, and waste. This becomes such an ingrained part of their character that they probably don't realize how much this is a part of their thinking.
Though I come from generations of frugal and efficient thinkers, I didn't get this gene. I am very quick with other things, but, when it comes to efficiency, I really have to reason this out or get advice from an efficient person. However, this is a skill in which I'd really love to grow. I'm challenging myself to do so.