It is 1:30pm on this Sunday afternoon and I am still trying to process all of my thoughts regarding these past 2 days. I was thinking about what version to give you all. The "This was a really fun weekend" or "I'm a failure at Pioneer Living." I'm sure once I start writing, both versions will show through. :0)
Seven people took part in this experiment. Myself, Phillip, Grace (8), Emily (7) Benjamin(5), my sister Melissa and her little boy, Jacob (3).
Our first morning started while it was still dark. Even though we didn't get up as early the pioneers would have, we all were dressed and ready for the day by 7:30am. I really liked that part! Our breakfast table was lit with two mini oil lamps and candles. I loved the soft transition from dark to candlelight. Much nicer than the four bulb light fixture we usually turn on.
It looks like our chicken (pretend!) Henrietta layed four eggs this morning!
The girls, Benjamin and their cousin, Jacob got such a kick out of bringing the eggs into the house.
Before going to bed Thursday night I had set out a yeast sponge to rise in the refrigerator. Now I know why the cookbook said to put a plate on the top and bottom. It really expanded. I also soaked a pot of navy beans overnight. Confession time here: I have never soaked beans before. *blush* I would definetly do it again though. There is so much added salt in the canned ones.
Another thing that suprised me was how dark my kitchen was. We have two doors in the dining room but they open up to the back patio where there isn't much light. My kitchen window is covered with plants. It was a good experience learning how to bake and cook in the dim light. My eyes adjusted to it fairly quickly. Only once did I accidently turn on a light. Grace was horrified! :0)
We had oatmeal for breakfast on the first day. Shortly after that, I would say the trouble started. The boys (mostly Benjamin) took a very strong dislike to Pioneer Living and let everyone know it! The wanted nothing to do with their wooden blocks, trains or the sandbox. They didn't even want to play outside, which they have been doing without a complaint, for the past 2 weeks! I tried to think what the Pioneer women would have done. I'm sure it involved a woodshed....hehehe. I cheated and got out my 21st century timer. A few timouts helped a little.
We started our bread early, but not early enough. We didn't pull it out of the oven until 1:09pm which meant for a late lunch. We used a third of the dough for rolls which we had with fried potatoes and sliced tomatoes. Yum!
The girls loved their new washboard. Of course it wasn't as fun after the 10th cloth needed washing! One thing I learned these past few days is that my children do not do enough chores around here. And they whine too much. Like their mother. ;0)
I was really suprised at how much time the meals took to make. I am used to making three meals a day, mostly from scratch, but making recipes from the Prairie cookbook took so much more organization and time!! You couldn't walk into the kitchen at 4:00pm and say "What shall we have for dinner?!" I was sure we would have lots of time to knit, embroider and quilt, but we didn't get to a thing! By 8:30pm, I was falling asleep. I'll bet there weren't any insomia problems out on the prairie!
Phillip had a great suggestion to make "bringing in water from outside" more real. We were only allowed to use the master bathroom located at the back of the house, and he thought it would be a good idea to use the bathtub as our "well." It was an excellent idea but I couldn't do it. If you have ever seen the PBS "Prairie or Victorian" Specials of the women crying about how hard all the chores were, I'd be crying right along with them! Back when we watched the shows, I remember saying to Phillip, "What are they crying for on day two? They have 2 months to go. They need to buckle down and get over it!!" Well, my sister and I will be re-watching them this week and I will understand, if only a little, what they are going though.
We had two chalkboard slates that everyone did some math and spelling on. Grace recited poetry from a 1800's schoolbook.
They liked working at the kitchen table, while Melissa and I tended to the bread and beans simmering away on the stove. I have some things to think about in regards to our daily schooling. It was nice having everyone together, rather than spread out all over the house.
My feet were very sore after the first day, I was on them from 7:00am - 8:00pm. I did sit down for a hot cup of coffee at 4:00pm, then it was off to wash more dishes. I really missed my dishwasher. I would much rather dust or vacuum than wash dishes by hand!
I can think of a lot more things to share with you but I will post Part Two tomorrow. We wrote in our prairie journals so I will share some of the entries, along with pictures of the food we ate for the two days, and finally a list of "Prairie Day" things I would like to keep doing.
For all of my complaining, I am very glad I did this experiement. It certainly wasn't a simple way of life. It was hard work and lots of it! I am very thankful for some of the technology of today, but at the same time there is so much wisdom to be gained from those long ago times. I will be looking for a good balance here in the year 2006.
Until then, I'm going to go give my bottle of windex a little hug. ;0)