Homesteaders Teach Us to Count Our Blessings

Father’s account of life makes one Missouri woman thankful for what she has and encourages us to count our blessings.

| Good Old Days

The stories my father told of the privation and making-do which he knew in his youth over 100 years ago make me feel ashamed when I am tempted to complain of my lot in life, and make me count our blessings today. I'm not wealthy, but I would be considered so by the standards of those early days.

His mother, he would tell us, spun the yarn, wove the cloth, and made all her family's clothing by hand, and with the help of his sisters, she knitted, from homespun yarn, all the socks and stockings.

Each member of the family got one pair of shoes a year, and they were the crudest things imaginable, cut from rough leather and unlined.

The family usually lived in a one-room log house. They raised almost all of their food except the wild game which they hunted. Food was cooked in the fireplace year-round. They made their own soap from fat scraps and lye, and they molded candles from beef or mutton tallow.

The only refrigerator they knew was the old spring house where they kept milk and butter and other perishables.

And in my father's early life, safety pins were unknown, even for the baby's diapers.

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