Sunday, January 30, 2011

Vintage Modern Farmgirl

How does a woman thrive today whose heart longs for the virtues and ways of living of the past?

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.

Things like:

growing a vegetable garden


using natural products for medicines, beauty, etc.


stocking a deep pantry


writing letters

raising chickens


making own cleaners & laundry soap

cake decorating

nature studying/sketching

listening to sermons & radio dramas together as a family

bee keeping

making menus from scratch

planting and harvesting own orchard

reading great books aloud as a family

candle making

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

Homestead Blessings!


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  1. What a beautiful post! I am finding there are many of us wishing to "step back in time", so to speak, and are cherishing homemaking activities. I am still a novice, but have learned a deep appreciation for some of the things on your list; such as, gardening and canning the harvest, sewing and I adore aprons!

  2. I love this post and especially that picture of the ladies wearing the skirts, boots and aprons ;) This was right up my alley of what I want my life to be. Thanks for posting :)

  3. Oh I love this post! So well said! Our family is on a road to simpler living, etc. Thanks for sharing such beautiful thoughts.

  4. Lovely words! Your blog is so wonderful.

  5. Hello, I came over from Laura's at Love at Home...your blog and this post is lovely..looking forward to reading your past and future posts...

  6. This is so true. I remember when I was younger, people would say "What do you want to be when you grow up?" And I would think... I want yo be a wife and mother. I want to all of those fun domestic things. I want to live on a farm and have babies... But I never said that out loud too much because that's not the answer most people want to hear. It's funny how the heart knows what the heart needs.
    Love the aprons, skirts and boots!
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. So, I just now found your blog.... & I LOVE IT!Bravo and Amen; this post really moved me. This might sound a little crazy but as I was reading it I felt my soul scream out with joy, "This is true! It's what I need and want!" I am so looking forward to future posts and peeking at your archives. Thanks :)


  8. I love the picture of the aprons! So cute!

  9. This was so pleasant to read!! Love you blog!!!

  10. Love this post. Love those aprons in the photo, too. Makes me want to sew a new one!

  11. A beautiful post! I have been pondering similar ideas for my home, lately - & am encouraged by your likeminded thoughts! Love your photos, especially the pic of the three ladies in aprons and boots, that is great! :) I've enjoyed my time here & will be back to visit again! Have a blessed day! ~Collette

  12. I felt so akin to what you had to say. I'm striving for those same things. Simple beauty and love in a simple life. Thank you!

  13. How much we have gotten away from these in our country! :( I have been trying to do a lot of these mentioned, but I still have quite a while to go...

  14. :) Your not far from me, only a hop skip and a jump by Wyoming standards. Lovely post....and I am blessed by stopping! Shalom!

  15. Well,said! I always wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder when I was a little girl. Guess I am getting to live some of that dream as a modern homesteader! Thanks for linking up, today!

  16. I'm SO glad I found your blog; it speaks to my soul! Thank you for the time you put into your thoughtful blog . . . I think I'm going to be a frequent visitor.

  17. what a great post and what lovely memories you have of your childhood. I admire you for wanting to share and hand that down to your family.

  18. What a sweet post! I love also love wearing aprons, especially an old gingham apron that my Grandmother made for my mother when she was newly married.

  19. This is a beautiful post! I loved how you said we depend upon our Creator and not big government. Thank you for linking up to Always Learning. I love to read about other women doing it right...Doing it God's way.


  20. A wonderful post! I would love to do many of the things you have listed! I am a country girl myself and now find myself living in Maine with my family, in a city. I am doing my very best to do things the simple way, the "old fashioned way", my brother recently told me I was living in the 19th Century and it didn't really bother me. I love the way we do things in our family! Our gardens are in and spending time in prayer that we get some veggies and herbs from it. This is my first time planting a garden in Maine. Stoppin by from the link up

  21. I enjoyed this post very much! I feel much the same way. I am sad that my children don't know the things that I was raised with. I really need to be intentional about sharing these things with them. God Bless!