These thoughts have been stirring in my mind for the last several years.
I am a great-grandaughter of those who settled the West.
August of this past year, I found myself on the dirt road heading to the homestead of my great-grandparents with my wonderful mom next to me and my precious children in the backseats. Dust gathering behind my vehicle and farmland sprinkled with cattle, sunflowers and windmills, I made the journey to the homestead.
I have lots of memories of visiting as a child. Getting up at the crack of dawn with my great uncle to gather eggs, riding on the back of an old truck as it slowly crept through the prairie throwing bales of hay to cows who gathered behind. Listening to the coyotes howl at night, worrying about the little kittens nestled in the warmth of the old barn.
|Walchle Homestead: taken by Cathy Stewart, cousin|
My children have no memories of this place. My heart feels sad that I am the last generation of my family to have these memories of a working homestead. My uncle now is now gone, his grave on the bluffs of the small, nearby town. His wife, in a nursing home of that small town. They had no children. Ironically, she lives on another bluff across from the graveyard. My maternal grandparents and several great-aunts and uncles all buried here. Their lives beginning and coming full circle to the hills and bluffs of the prairie.
I have farmgirl roots. How do I keep from losing my heritage? How do I spill these thoughts and way of living into my life and the lives of my children?
I have experienced and enjoyed the theatre and art museums of New York City, symphony orchestras (I was a violinist) and other "modern" life. But it has been the joy found in daily living, that I have done much soul searching. As a teenager, I thought it too old-fashioned & a bit embarrassed. It's funny how sometimes we reject things that we later learn is an immense treasure.
"Steadfast at home" or committed to a home-centered life is what it has been boiled down to. Interacting with God's creation in the way I was meant to, becoming less dependent on government and big business and more dependent on our Creator. Putting my husband, children and home first in my priorities. Viewing my home as a place of creativity, industry and ministry.
For me, it physically began when I started wearing aprons again.
So simple, yet as I began to think about it, I don't have any memories of my Grammie or great aunts not wearing aprons (unless they were dressed for church on Sunday). As I get to work in my kitchen, I tie those strings around my waist and feel the heritage of those precious, hardworking and Godly women who have gone before me.
As I studied the daily lives of the women in my family's heritage, I began to see some areas that I could re-capture and cultivate in my own family and life. Lots of the following ideas we have begun adding into our family's way of life. Others, I am prayfully considering.
growing a vegetable garden
using natural products for medicines, beauty, etc.
stocking a deep pantry
making own cleaners & laundry soap
listening to sermons & radio dramas together as a family
making menus from scratch
planting and harvesting own orchard
reading great books aloud as a family
growing herbs for cooking, medicine & teas
grinding wheat & baking homemade bread
What I didn't expect in doing these things was the changes that would take place in my family's hearts and relationships as we've learned to plant, harvest, can, bake, sew and mend together. It has really brought a deep sense of joy and satisfaction.
Can a woman of today be a Vintage Modern Farmgirl?
Yes. She not only can, but it's a tiring, rewarding & beautiful life. She may also change the lives of those who walk in her footsteps and those around her. The fruit has the potential to live beyond her own lifetime.
"Her children arise up, and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all." Proverbs 31:28-29
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