Donna's Diary Posts

Recent Posts
My Favorite Books
About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

The Sensible Refuge

August 20, 2019

The Sensible Refuge - The Home

We have been canning vegetables, fruits, meats and getting the pantry re stocked. Fall is coming. I could say this again before winter and I could say this again before spring or summer

I like to keep the pantry rotated and topped off.

In the past there were no grocery stores. There were mercantile's or general stores and eventually grocery stores and supermarkets came about as roads were built and cars were sold but many people did not have them.

Sometimes we hear about when cars were made or televisions were made but many people did not own them. When the televisions were starting to be sold there was no use to own one because many areas had no reception.

Here in the state of Alabama the first television station ( WAFM-TV) first broadcast was 1949. But it was very limited programs and most people did not have a television.

I was around to understand what limited programs were, mid 50's a small black and white television, one or two stations. The television does not come on air until 6:00 a.m.and goes off at 6:00 p.m. Not when we turned it off and on but the station went off air. 

Radio started in 1920 and in the 1960s many people still did not have television and listened to the radio shows. Soap operas were on radio. 

In 1954 Montgomery Alabama broadcast television first time Christmas of that year.

What does this have to do with stocking our pantry?

I am trying to give you a little history of the times.

Something that we don't talk about much is how many recessions and Depressions we have had along the way.

We have had 47 recessions here in the USA.

If we just start in the beginning of 1900, there was a recession in 1902 that lasted one year and nine months.

In 1907 there was a panic that lasted one year one month

In 1910 there was a Panic that lasted 2 years

In 1913 there was a recession that lasted one year 11 months.

In 1918 (the year my Grandfather died of the spanish flu pandemic) the recession lasted seven months.

In 1920 there was a Depression that lasted one year six months

In 1923 there was a Recession that lasted one year two months

In 1926 there was a recession that lasted one year one month.

In 1929 there was a Great Depression that lasted three years seven months.

In 1937 there was a recession that lasted one year one month.

In 1945 there was a recession that lasted eight months

In 1948 there was a recession that lasted eleven months

In 1953 there was a recession that lasted ten months

In 1958 there was a recession that lasted eight months

In 1960 there was a recession that lasted ten months

In 1969 there was a recession that lasted eleven months

In 1973 there was a recession that lasted one year

In 1980 there was a recession that lasted six months

In 1981 there was a recession that lasted one year four months

In 1990 there was a recession that lasted months eight months

In 2001 there was a recession that lasted eight months

In 2007 there was a Great recession that lasted one year six months.

During these times of recessions and especially Depressions many people get laid off work or lose their jobs entirely. Many cannot pay their bills, some lose their home. Many of us are familiar of the most recent great recession of 2008. It was a very hard time for many people.

But just like in the 1920's, called the roaring twenties, many people thought life was good and they bought houses and spent money and clothing was starting to loosen up and become stylish. Appliances were starting to become available, electricity and telephone lines were being pulled across the country. People were spending and if they did not have the money they were borrowing money. When we study this time in history we can see many signs of why there was a great depression about to happen.

But not everyone had these modern things. Some people remained the same. They stocked their pantries/larders. They preserved their food. They mended their clothes and they had put back money for those times that were difficult, the bumps in the road.

As we have been reading in our diaries we have noticed that things are not quite as we read about in history. We mostly have been shown all the horrible things and there were horrible times during this time but we don't hear much about those that made it through that did not loose their homes or jobs.  

Sarah and other diaries show us that their families are just going along raising chickens, canning food, going to church, having family over. They were bartering goods and being wise about their money as they most likely had always been.

But some people did not have it so good once the great depression hit. Banks failed and people that invested lost most everything. Many had played that gamble of how to get rich and it did not turn out so good. So we are seeing two sides to this difficult time in history.

When we live below our means and save our money, build our pantries, keep some extra new underwear and socks put back we are living more like the sensible folks did in the past. 

Learn skills, how to sew and cook and do things the old way because we have a chance to survive those hard times better than most people today.

We need tools to do these things. We need the things our generations before us had. Now most people stopped canning or sewing their own clothing or curtains. Many people do not have fabric put back or yarn. Some do not even have a needle and thread. Many people have their lawns done and no longer own a lawnmower. How would you cut your lawn if you can no longer afford a lawn care person.

Today is different than the past and it will be more difficult to survive a Hard Recession or Great Depression because most of us do not have a milk cow or milk goat or chickens. So we have to come up with old ways and new ways to figure this one out 

We can learn how to grow a garden. If there is not space at home there are community gardens and if there are not then possibly we should start one. We can study and read and watch videos how to do things that require some kind of skill.

I am not saying we are going to have a depression or recession but I am thinking it is most likely we will when we look at the history. I don't want to be caught off guard.

This is a full pantry meal. Home canned green beans and stew made with home canned potatoes, carrots and chicken and some home canned broth.

Cornbread made from dry goods in the pantry.

I am happy to see that there is starting to become a trend to the old ways.  I see it with those that email me and those that I started noticing on you tube that are starting homesteads.

Charles and I went to the store last week to look for a photo program for my computer. A nice young man in his late twenties was helping us and I mentioned I needed something to help me resize photos on my computer for my blog.

He asked me what kind of blog that I had, To my surprise he was excited about an old fashioned blog. After talking with him we learned he is very interested in doing things the old way and he and his wife have purchased some land and were watching videos and blogs, historical documentaries as well as listening to what his Grandparents had to say and are trying to become as self sustainable as they can. He stated that at some point something will most likely happen, indicating that could make an unpleasant time and I sense that many people are starting to feel this way. 

I have a good feeling this young couple will do just fine if there should be a serious recession or even a storm that could cause a long term power outage.

I am so happy with these young people that tell me they are changing to a more sensible life and learning how to grow food and are following their gut feeling.They are taking charge of what they can do to make better sense.They happen upon my blog because they were already trying to figure it out and searching for information.  I am so proud of them and I hope that there are many more doing this as we need our younger generations to learn old skills to keep them going or everything will be lost. 

After my canning jars have rested over 12 hours after processing I give them a bath before putting them on the shelf.

In canning some foods are hot packed or cold packed also known as raw packed. Meat can also be raw packed or hot packed. The difference is cooking or warming before putting it in the jar, then processing it or putting it in the jar with no cooking before processing it in a water bath canner or pressure canner. But all raw food has to be processed properly either, pressure canned, water bath canned, dehydrated, frozen or fermented and must be followed by guidelines. There are too many people taking shortcuts today with canning and people need to go back to basics and read the canning books or go to the National Center for Home Preservation that is online.

These peaches above that we canned, the left is hot pack and the right are cold/raw packed. The peaches on the left were put in a light simple syrup solution and heated throughout then put in the jar and water bath canned. The peaches on the right were peeled, sliced and put into the jar and ladled hot extra light simple syrup over the peaches and put in a water bath canner to process. The instructions are in the canning book. I am preferring the raw pack for peaches and hot pack for blueberries and cherries.

We do not have to live old fashioned to live sensible. It is what we do to make ourselves more sustainable and work towards having the right tools to do this.

We learn to cook then we learn how to cook from our pantry if there is a power outage. We work towards having a portable stove or a way to cook that food.

This does not have to be home canned goods like ours is, this can be store bought canned food. You can have frozen food but if a storm is severe it can knock out power to your freezer.

Is your lawn all grass or do you have a garden spot or raised beds?

Could you grow food if you needed to?

Do you  have a way to dry laundry without a dryer?

Is everything in your home generic or items you have made yourself to make it "your" home?

Are the items in your home helpful or just decorative?  Does everything have a purpose or is it just rooms of perfectly placed furniture? 

Is your home too cluttered and scattered that you cannot cook a meal? 

In today's time many people are eating more healthy and that is good. But we also need to know how to stretch a meal during hard times.  How to make brown gravy and white sauce, how to make soup out of leftovers. How to use those peelings to make compost to grow more food.

You do not have to live in the rural areas to grow food , we can do the best we can where we are. 

My goal with this blog has been to show you what living a simple life can look like. How you can change your house into a home. How you can make your home a place of refuge.

How to slow down and enjoy your life and how home can be romantic and interesting and exciting as we learn new things.

And how to live more like the past and encourage you to learn more about your generations before us and how they did things.

I hope something in this post helps you today. Grandma Donna

Sign up for email promotions.
Your information is safe with us and won't be shared.
Thank you for signing up!
Loading More Photos
Scroll To Top
Close Window