“It’s a bet, Pa says,” Laura answered. “The government bets a man a quarter section of land, that he can’t stay on it five years without starving to death.” – These Happy Golden Years p.119
I was thinking about this paragraph this morning while reading through These Happy Golden Years. I thought it was interesting what Pa thought of the whole idea of homesteading that the government had set up.
But more interesting than that was the next thought that popped into my head….how many people could actually homestead land like that? After doing a little research I discovered that 49% of the population in 1880 were considered farmers. In 1990 that number was 2.6% of the population.
So with that kind of a number I’m guessing that even though the going was very difficult, many more people were more able to handle homesteading in 1880 than they are now….makes sense right?
Over the last 100 years, not only have we lost much of the farming population, we’ve lost and forgotten the skills that went along with it. I know that Little House Living readers are awesome and smarter than the average American when it comes to homemaking skills but how many of your friends know how to make butter? How about make cheese? Or if we go another step further…how many would know how to make homemade cream cheese?
We are submersed in a culture that is forgetting how to do things for ourselves. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with convenience (except when it contains chemicals and is expensive!) but what are we really losing each time we go to the store to buy butter?
Something to think about today….what skills are important to you? What skills do you want to learn? How do you think we can teach others in our community these skills?
Make sure you check out the entire Living Like Little House series!