In the middle of the night our clocks strike twelve times and we call it midnight but it is the beginning of a new day. Many of us are sleeping.
But then the sun starts to come over the horizon and dawn is breaking, it is time to start our day.
Today we often do not notice the sky or ever see the sun emerging over the horizon as dawn breaks. Long ago the stars and the moon, the sun and the clouds were a very important part of our life.
I have always enjoyed early morning. I feel I am not wasting my day if I get up at the crack of dawn or just before. I admit it is a bit more difficult as I get older but I still get up at this time.
Long ago it was necessary to get up early to get out and feed the farm animals. A few years ago as we were studying history we learned that before people had cars they had farm animals even if they lived in town. The town farms had small barns and a bit of land to keep a horse and wagon and chickens for eggs.
When there were no cars they needed a horse and wagon or buggy for purchasing supplies and getting to work. In one of our Journals that we have, a man that kept this journal lived in town and worked at a factory. He would buy hay and feed for his horse and items for the horse. He would buy boards to repair the barn and it was clearly documented his expenses. We actually located his house and could see the town that he lived.
We learned many surprising things from this wonderful journal and then this caused us to do some more researching which led us to finding that they used warmed soap stones to keep their feet warm while riding in the wagon or buggy. Later on in the first cars they continued to use the warmed soap stones to keep them warm for traveling.
Pictured above are our soap stones. We purchased them after learning about them and they are very good to keep us warm. One time I was ill and had taken a chill and Charles warmed them and wrapped them in a towel and put them under my feet and legs and I became very warm and it stopped the chill. They would be very good for warming an area for a elderly pet or if the power went out and you have an alternate heat source as we do. We have two kerosene heaters.
The sun will rise and give us light and it is time to pull back the curtains or open the blinds. Living more like the past seems to give us more purpose each day and by that I mean doing things around our home the old way feels right and makes us want to do better.
In the past as the sun rose it would be time to snuff out the candles or turn the knob on the oil lamp until the wick is no longer burning so we do not waste what we have.
In this modern world we have electricity and running water and the same should be considered to not waste because if it is a candle, oil lamp, electricity or running water, it all costs us money and really it is up to us which we use.
Midnight has come and gone, daybreak has passed and the day is here to do the things that need to be done. It may be that we are on our way to work or the grocery store to purchase what we need for the week. Or we may be starting our household chores.
As I am typing this post, it is the week of Christmas, actually Christmas Eve. Many of you are in the same situation that we are in this year of being quite isolated. It will be a quiet Christmas at our house but I am okay with this for I am still holding out patience because our ancestors had to during the pandemic of 1918 which was longer than one year. It started in February 1918 and ended April 1920. My Fathers father (my grandfather, died during that pandemic from that flu which turned to pneumonia in October 1918.
This year is different but we are doing all the things we need to do to keep us safe then we go on with life making each day the best it can be.
We have prepared this year to live sensible about things. We have eaten some of our food and preserved some back. These are peeled potatoes in a pan getting ready for slicing to go in the pot to blanch and then to dehydrate.
We are using up ever bit of things as they did in the past because we need that surplus right now and also because it is the right thing to do.
I am trying to do better with repairing things that need to be repaired and putting away items from summer and fall in a proper way so they will be ready for spring and summer.
My grandmother often had something growing in the garden all year around, even if it was just garlic growing through winter. We try to keep some things growing to have something fresh on hand and then dried or canned others.
Had we not studied history and what people did in their homes we might still be doing things the modern way that did not make a lot of sense. I think about the money spent on non helpful items that were of poor quality and I am not sure why we bought this stuff other than this was the way others did it. Now we stop and think it over and ask questions such as if this is useful and will it last? Do we "need" this?
We were not being very smart about things and we needed to change and studying the past helped us to save money instead of spending it pay check to pay check.
I now understand their frugal ways. Today people may look back in the past and think they were poor and some were but when we looked deeper into history we realized they were very smart and careful. Never base an opinion by glancing on the outside before understanding the inside.
A few years ago I wanted to crochet this small sewing kit that I found a pattern for in a very old early 1900's booklet. To do this I needed some old yarn to match these old instructions because much was different a long time back with sewing, knitting and crocheting.
I finally found some vintage yarn on ebay that matched the yarn I needed and I noticed right away the difference in the yarns of long ago and today. The pink yarn on top is not vintage but the green case is.
I keep my measuring tape inside so it keeps it coiled up nicely.
This year has made me realize that in the past items needed to last. They needed to be strong and have good quality because they took a lot of wear and most ordinary folks could not replace what they had just because they wanted to change. They did repairs to what they had and used every bit of it up. I could see that in my Grandparents with the way they did things, when I was a child I just knew this is how they did things and now I understand why.
There is a sturdiness in older goods, I have found this in many items since we first started our history projects. We went to a museum to look at the old items, we went to antique stores. We have mostly studied the home front from 1880 to 1946 and then see the old items still around in antique stores and then take notice of all the things that are being thrown into landfills we understand why we should save for quality and make sure this item we are purchasing is going to last a very long time.
People have been encouraged to change with the times, because we are a consumer society. We do not have to do this, it is a choice. Do we spend so others get wealthy or do we buy quality to last and save the money we earn? Is it okay to remain the same? I feel it is quite settling now that we are going back to what was before.
I have no answers for the imbalance we have from the consumers to the mom and pops trying to run a small business to the extremely rich because it has already gone out of control but each of us can do what it takes to get ourselves into a better financial place.
I would rather buy quality from a small business as it was in the past. I wish cobblers would come back and make shoes and repair the shoes they make. I always loved the smell of a cobblers shop unlike todays shoes that seem to gas off unpleasant smells.
Did this consumer society lead to the Great Depression? In the 1920's we see that spending reached an all time high, new inventions and items were now here, refrigerators and washing machines, radios and new styles. It was called the roaring twenties for a reason. This was one hundred years ago this year of 2020 and followed by a Great Depression.
Winter is upon us now. Christmas is here and next week it will be a New Year. I hope that we have learned some things out of all this bad that we have had and turn it around to make some good.
Our little table top Christmas Tree is up..
Our mantle is decorated with special items from the past. The long snowman was a gift from a coworker from years ago, her name is Barb. I have kept it all these years. All of our Christmas decorations fit in a pillowcase and Charles and I always tease who has to get the pillow case out this year.
We like to keep it simple because, well, we are just simple folks and want to celebrate what Christmas is really about.
Take one day at a time and try to find joy in whatever that is to make your joy find its way to your face.
I am linking a video below that I hope encourages you during these holidays.
"We need to explore so we can get more imagination than we already had so we can see beautifuller things." Spoken by a child.
Merry Christmas, Grandma Donna