One of the things I love about living in the Ozarks, besides the breathtaking beauty of the wild-woods, is the time-honored history of the Pioneers of these hills ( also known as the Hillbillies). A history as rich as home-churned butter.
Back in the day, the pioneer/hillbilly homemaker did not have the luxury of procrastination. She couldn’t say “You know, I just don’t feel like doing chores right now, I think I’ll go shoppin’.” Well, first of all, shopping didn’t exist (now, that is downright sad!) except for perhaps, a general store several miles away, in which a wagon had to be hitched to take you to town, and secondly, there were mouths to feed, a garden to grow, quilts to sew, harvesting and canning to do, laundry to wash and hang, a cow to milk twice a day, eggs to gather, and water to fetch…… whether she felt like it or not.
Taking care of hearth and home was more than an occupation, it was a matter of survival. Preparing for a harsh winter started in the spring. What you did, or did not do, to prepare for it determined how your family would fare when the icy winds began to blow. And any good mother worth her stock, would roll up her sleeves, flour her rolling pin and get busy!
I am so fascinated by the way life was lived back then. Just to cook a chicken, was an ordeal. A gal, clothed in cotton Calico and an apron, had to catch the chicken, wring it’s neck, (ew!) dip it in a bath of boiling water, pluck it, singe it, cut it up and fry it on a wood burning stove( You go girl! ). That was just one part of the supper. Then there were the potatoes to dig up, wash, cut, mash. Green beans were picked, washed, trimmed and boiled with a ham hock thrown in. Biscuits baked. Butter made. Jams and jellies preserved-and-ready in a row. Pies were baked by the half dozen weekly, for family of course and folks who would come a-visitin’. That was just to get a meal prepared. There were also babies to rock, rugs to beat, scrubbing to do.
There was so much to take care of that women would often relegate a significant task to concentrate on daily. There was a Washday, Ironing Day, Sewing Day, Churning Day, Cleaning Day, Baking day and a Day of Rest on the Sabbath, which I am sure they breathed a sigh of relief and shouted “Praise the Lord!”.
I really don’t know if I would have been able to do what those robust women had to do, but I would like to think I could have made the best of it. There are two things that would have been hard for me though:
1. No cosmetics. (although, I think I could have whipped up a batch of 1 part berry juice and two parts bees wax for lip gloss! You know I am teasing right? I sorta am.)
2. No indoor plumbing. ( I don’t do outhouses. I’ll hold it, thank you.)
Even though I would like to imagine living in those times, I know God knew what He was doing when He created me to live on this earth during the 20th and 21st centuries. He knew I would love girlie things, a clean indoor bathroom and blogging! This way I can have my Pie and eat it too….I can grow a garden, even make my own butter if I want to (I’ll show you how in a future post), tie on a cute apron and bake a homemade pie from scratch, Can and Preserve jams and jellies like the women of yesteryear, take pictures of the process and post it on my blog! And I get to do these things all-dolled-up with a sassy hairdo and enjoy indoor plumbing too! Is God good or what?!
I decided I am a (citified) farmgirl at heart (you can be one too, check out MaryJanes Farm). The other day I was chatting with a friend in my kitchen and I said “listen to this…” I pressed my foot on a particular board on our wood floors near my stove and made it squeak several times. I continued, “hear that squeak? I love that! I love that my new-but-made-to-look-old wood floors squeak like an old house!
She said “oh yes! That reminds me of the farmhouse I used to live in, growing up on a farm.”
I replied “hey, no fair, I want to grow up on a farm!!!”
I am sure she thought…ummm, I think it’s a little late for that..but instead she said “no you don’t, you just think you do.”
She was thinking of all the winter mornings she had to crawl out of her warm snug bed to go outside in the icy rain to feed the horses or milk the cows. Running a home and farm is strenuous work and I so admire folks who do it!! I applaud the American Farmer. Bravo, you adorable, strong farmgirls you!
I do declare though, one of these days I want to raise a few chickens! And each one of my laying hens will have a fabulous name……Mildred-Rose….Bertha-Jane….Hattie- Mae…Big-Mama. My rooster’s name will be Jim-Ed.
The pioneer spirit is still strong here in the heartland of America, and it is celebrated everyday at one of my favorite places to go…..Silver Dollar City. Located here in the Branson area, you can step back in time and breathe in the goodness and fortitude of a people who persevered and labored, by the sweat of their brow, as they worked the land to carve a good and honest life along the American Frontier. Take a tour with me of how it used to be….
In celebration of living in the Ozarks
I would like to share with you my
better-than-an-outhouse, Hillbilly bathroom!
I found this old tub at an antique mall in Ozark
and had our Trim Carpenter
create a washstand to fit it in.
Added a vintage washboard,
an old-timey looking water pump
and fresh from the well, running water.
When we first moved in, I didn’t have curtains for this bathroom which looks out to the front porch, so I made-do with a couple of dish towels and clothes pins. After I finished decorating it, I decided, you can’t get more hillbilly than that!
If you sprinkle when you tinkle…
…be a sweetie and wipe the seatie.
You might be a redneck diva
if your hairdo has ever been ruined
by a ceiling fan!
One of my favorite shows! Love that Barn!
Ozark Sunrise on my back deck.
Back in the olden days life was often harsh, as it is sometimes today. We all go through seasons of difficulty and sadness, but one thing is for sure, this same Jesus that the Pioneers prayed to and received provision, strength, and hope, is the same wonderful Lord we can go to today.
“Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is (always) the same, yesterday, today, (yes) and forever (to the ages).” Hebrews 13:8
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills–from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121
Thank you for stopping by for some
God Bless you!
Your Southern Sista, Ruthann
P.S. I am always so amazed at the gals from all over the world that leave wonderful encouraging comments! Thank you all so much! And to my blog-girls who stop by often to send me a smile…I love y’all! I am just so thankful people actually want to read my blog! Please know that your kind words keep me excited and inspired! Also know that when you leave a comment, I pray for you, individually, one at a time, by your sweet name. God knows your needs, heartbreaks, as well as your desires. I pray He would bless you in wonderful ways and give you hope for your future. So keep those comments coming, I love them!
Also, I am so proud of you gals for grabbing that lipstick in the back of your drawer (gathering dust) and adding a little sparkle to your sweet faces! Good girls! Now doesn’t that make you feel better?
For those of you who showed concern about the Tornadoes in my area last week, thank you. A funnel cloud was spotted only three miles away from my home, but thankfully it did not touch down. Thank the Lord!