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 ....

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The Two Brooms

February 15, 2019

A snapdragon from the greenhouse makes the house feel like spring.  I am happy to have them growing throughout the winter but I know they will be happy as I when we can be outside more.

My mind has been wandering despite my efforts to focus more.  The diaries have me thinking about how is it that our ancestors had more time for visiting one another when so many of the stories are about how hard this time was.  

Some things are making sense that there are seasons of more visiting and seasons of more work.

This is only some of the diaries I have, some are over by the scanner and two on my nightstand.

These diaries are full of history and told in a simple way. I have only begun to share with you these diaries and I hope we all get a clearer picture as we go along. I was going to only share a few and it is too much information to put out all at once so this is why I am trying to release them monthly. The first couple of months here at the beginning of the year is going slow due to having to be slow with scanning these very old and delicate diaries. 

This study we are doing this year is a wide span being it is 1900 and 1939 and I realize it is a large span of time but the reason for this is we are studying the thirties this year, the great depression.  We have planted ourselves in 1932 to just be somewhere if that makes sense.  But to be a middle age or older adult during the great depression we would have had to lived from the 1800s to 1939 and gathered life experiences and how they did without the things we have today. 

The diaries that Charles and I have cover the years 1900, 1905, 1915, 1919, 1924, 1925, 1927, 1929, two 1932 diaries plus a 1932 journal and diaries 1933,1934, 1935, 1936 and 1939.  

These are various writers but three diaries are of the same family which is Theodore's family that covers 1905, 1919 and 1925 so this gives us a good idea about the changes in the lives of this family before the great depression. 

We have one writer, Lena,  for 4 years, 1927, 1929, 1932 and 1933.  So this set starts before the great depression and into the great depression. 

We have two diaries from Phoebe that is writing at the end of the great depression for the u.s. of the year 1939 and another her diaries the year we became involved in the war of world war two, the year 1942. 

We have two five year diaries, one through the great depression and one through ww2. 

To start off this year, Charles and I have been focusing on saving money on food purchases, journaling our expenses (very important) and organizing for the changes that need to happen to save money.  We have greatly improved our grocery spending so now I know we were spending carelessly, this shows me there is always room for improvement. 

 Since the ladies of the time hung the wash no matter what, it was important for Charles and I to move the clothesline to a better location. This area will get more sun in the winter, a problem where it was besides the mulberry tree. In the diaries I see clearly that hanging the wash outside was number one option.  Some just waited until the next week if they could not wash on Monday, some hung them in the attic if they had one, some washed the delicate's and hung them in the house overnight which in some houses could have froze inside.  

We also have been planning how to grow as many vegetables in small spaces in a practical way and with less crawling on the ground since it is getting harder for me to do that. As I post pictures you may have noticed there are new tanks here and there because we have been purchasing them every few months as we save up for a new one. 

If there is a frog in your path, just go around it. 

This is where our fire pit was but we have turned into a planter.  We have placed an arbor here for cucumbers to grow over.  All of these pots will not grow cucumbers but the rows on each side of the cattle panel will contain cucumber plants. These are pots in waiting stage.  The soil and organic fertilizer is in the pots and I covered them with newspaper to keep wildlife from digging in the pots and for the soil to stay moist.

The tanks are not a vintage thing at all but we need to grow food in our backyard so this is our way of doing it since we do not live on a farm.

The blue in this room is not as blue as it seems, nor is the yellow in the hall, it is the camera trying to pull in light.

I am trying to find my place with "stuff".  In the past they had less than we have today but they had more tools. Maybe I should say they had different tools. We are finding we need more of things we did not have and less of what we do have.  So this balancing is taking us time to do.

We are not trying to re-enact in full costume.  We are trying to live like they did in the past in today's time. Some of our things are of the era and some are just a modern version of something they had. We still have some modern things that was not around during the 1930s that are helpful considering our age, some of these things I did not have when I first started off keeping a home but I was younger and stronger. 

We have a goal to live with purpose in everything we do. 

I do not want to erase my life, my choices and the things I have done and I don't even want to erase my mistakes, I want to learn from them.  It is sort of like, I lived a time before all the electronics were invented, which I did, then after they were and lived this time when television,  beepers and brick phones were being sold, big computers, then small computers, tiny cell phones then bigger cellphones, then faster everything, then new versions of all of that. 

Then social media came and no one has to talk to anyone in person anymore. Most anything is plastic now and much is toxic.  Food is not even the same, it is has been genetically modified and made from who knows what and comes from who knows where. Going most anywhere is like herding, we all just wedge in and move with the flow.

We cannot go back but we sure as heck can make change and live a sensible life, we can call it old fashioned but it would be wonderful if we could call it new fashion. It does not matter if everyone does, what matters is those desiring to do so makes the change instead of just wishing for it. 

It is not something we have to wait for, we start this very second, we just change to simple and remove the things that are bogging us down.

You can only judge the quality of something after you have experienced it. Known as the proof is in the pudding. 

 Charles and I agree that this year is more than we expected in a good way. I was a bit concerned if we needed to take on a more difficult time.  We were not sure how much we could learn since information of home life was hard to come by. 

But this year has been full of surprises.  It has made us look completely different at most everything.  When we were studying the 1940's world war two era and we had rationing of food and goods we had to find ways to do without things that we may would have had the money to pay for but we did not have enough ration stamps to buy the goods.

Now the goods are available but possibly we don't have the money and if we do have the money do we want to spend what little we have in case it gets worse?

The small changes we are making add up to savings.  When we have already simplified our life as we have for the last several years we get comfortable where we are.  But when to take on a new study we have to look at what and how we are doing things. 

It becomes a challenge to do less or find a new way of doing something. 

I have been trying to figure out how I can wash only on Mondays or depending on weather just one time a week. Some people already do this but I do not because Charles and I garden and Charles is still working and I do things to get dirty and we have a lot of laundry for some reason. I feel this is an area I need to improve.  But if we live like they did back then with less clothing, which is going to start happening here soon, we will see what happens.

I have started hand washing the small things on non Monday days and hanging them in the house in the evenings or outside since I have hidden places in my back yard so the Monday wash ladies don't tell on me. :)  Dish cloths, slips, socks, underclothing etc. 

Actually they did hand wash these items and hang them in the evening. :) so I am not cheating.

The change in grocery spending for us is that we are sticking to simple food, basic for the time and we shop for groceries on Thursday.  I know now that if I had canned the proper foods last year I would be using those food items. So as we are working our frozen food out of the freezer, this substitutes for their canned goods.  Our goal is to do away with the freezer since hurricane Michael was a good example as why we should not even use a deep freezer. We will still have our tiny freezer in the small fridge and Windsor will hold our canned goods.

In the diaries we will be reading how they help each other with canning, quilting and sewing.  This is something very missed these days but it can happen if we try and revive it. There are many people that are living a simple life, old fashioned or not, more than you may realize.

The only way we can start this type of community is by taking small steps by reaching out to others by way of a warm loaf of bread or a pie or cookies.  A card or note for special occasions. Getting to know who is around you which is a wise thing to do in today's world especially if you have children.

 I was a cautious mother and I wanted my children home where I could watch them so I got to know the parents of the other children, I made cookies and our home was where the neighborhood children came to play.  Playing was done outside back then in the yard and I usually made snacks but they had to have permission from their parents. Playing inside was more limited with special friends, someone such as a school friend or a close neighbor child and someone where we knew the parents.  There was a difference in the past when people visited, some were as close as family and this is something I wish we could bring back because we are becoming isolated.  It seems that most everyone is either isolated or they are in large group activities.

The things I talk about come from personal experiences of from where I live in a quickly growing town that is a city now. I realize that we all live in different places and that there are still small communities, villages and towns that have a better balance.

The other day I did a very modern thing.  I pressure washed the front walk and driveway due to it getting slippery and the Wax Wings and Robbins had been by and dropped all the berry splat all over everything.

As I was doing this, I was thinking to myself about how I did not have this pressure washer in the past. I started pondering on this and how I used to clean the porch and walks with soap and water and a outdoor broom.

I decided after this good cleaning I will try and keep up like I did before.  Our old farmhouse had a front porch that I used to mop every week. I had two brooms,an indoor and an outdoor broom, when the indoor broom wore out it became the outdoor broom until it was finished.

What I cannot remember is when did I stop doing this and why?  

I feel the changes are good for Charles and I but we are wanting to settle down to living more like the 1930's.  There is something about the time that is good.  Something that we feel about the people. 

The great depression came from the carelessness during the 1920's. It is becoming my opinion that focusing on the 1930s and leaving out the roaring twenties, spending and getting into debt and wild investments and such as that is a big mistake if we want to learn how to not have another one.

Many of us are trying to find the calm. The calm is always there, the noise is just in the way.

Grandma Donna

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