Monday, November 4, 2013

On being self sufficient by Carolyn Hill

On being self sufficient. My parents lived through the depression with all its hard times. They taught me that if you treat everything as if it might be the last you may ever get then you will never want for anything. For them it was absolutely the last they would see for a long time. Not once did we leave spades and shovels and hoes out in the weather. All tools and tractors, etc were cleaned and put away after every use.
Not once did we use a kitchen knife as a screw driver, flatware was washed and put away immediately after dinner. The young children didn't take kitchen spoons out to dig in the dirt; there were other outside tools to use for that! That tableware was necessary to eat with!
We didn't have potable water on the farm, only wells for the animals and irrigation from the river, so water conservation was a must. We had a huge tank on wheels we hauled water in from town every week. My dad made the trailer to fit the store bought tank. He used axles from an old pickup, can't remember what he made the tongue from, but it worked and looked good.
Nothing was wasted, everything was re-purposed, even the table scraps and bath water in the #2 washtubs, LOL.
We made heavy winter utility quilts using cotton sacks no longer usable in the field, you know those long heavy cotton sacks we drug behind us when picking cotton by hand? (Anyone know what I'm talking about?) The underside of this "quilt" would be bits of no longer usable clothing. My niece still has one of these my mother made in the 40s and she treasures it. It is so heavy I can barely pick it up! Denim was considered very valuable because of its strength. The denim that became to thin to use for patches also went into quilts. That is fashionable now, isn't it?
We cut buttons and zippers off every piece of clothing that went into the "scrap" box. Many times my dresses were flour sack with recycled buttons and they matched!
We saved reusable nails pulled from old wood. In fact we had several huge buckets full of used nails, especially the large ones, can't remember the numbers of the nails used now. Once in awhile when the weather wouldn't permit us outside we would all go to the shed and help straighten and clean and sort those used nails. I still remember my horror the first time I saw someone throw something away without first stripping those large nails from it. That was the first I realized not everyone saved everything like we did. When my father passed in 1975 we all wanted his buckets of nails and his old hammer! There's no telling how old some of those nails are!
We've become a disposable society and if we are to be self sufficient we can no longer live like that. I still have the sewing scissors I used in my first home economics class in 1957, LOL. I have my dad's last file he used for the spades and hoes and it still works! Our hoes would be so sharp they could, and sometimes did if you weren't careful, cut a toe off. I bet few here know what I'm talking about, LOL
Take care of your tools and they will always take care of you.
Being self sufficient is as much a state of mind as anything else. We never thought twice about "prepping" or "re-purposing" or "self sufficiency" but that was exactly what we were doing. We didn't consciously think about it or wonder what we would do with those things we saved; we just knew we would need them at some time in the future. It was a way of life. ~Carolyn

1 comment:

a8383 said...

Excellent reminder! Thank you! Angela