I would kick ass as a prairie woman! Okay, except for the outhouse part. And the working from sun up to sun down. And maybe the fact that there was no WiFi in 1888.
BUT, still, I think I would rule the homestead.
I took the children and my friend and her children to a place called Pioneer Farms. It’s in the Ohop Valley in Washington and is a good one hour drive from my house.
Of course, this involved a Starbucks stop and a potty stop on the way. Obviously we weren’t embracing the accurate means of covered wagon travel to get to this pioneering homestead.
So with our iPhones and Galaxy S4s charged up for plenty of pictures and Instagramming, oh, and not to mention lots of hand sanitizer and sunscreen, off we went to experience the life of the pioneers. (sarcasm font)
Upon arrival, of course, I had to pee. So the outhouses they have on the site, are – outhouses. Yep. No Honey Buckets especiale here. These babes haven’t been emptied in at least 50 years. I’m guessing they put some enzyme in them or something so that the waste doesn’t actually climb out and meet you on the freeway. I had been to this farm when I was 9 and the outhouse was in the same location. So if you think they dig a new hole every ten years, then you’d be wrong.
How nice that I’ve dedicated an entire paragraph to outhouses. But the point is, they’re awful. They stink. And anything down wind stinks too. So enjoy that in the middle of the night when your bison fried steak disagrees with you.
We got to see a school house where the rules were made clear that girls got more lashes than boys for having something misspelled or a math problem wrong. Too bad women’s rights would be another 30 years and then some.
The homes were pretty small in those days. I guess since you built them yourself with only your wife and 5 children under the age of 5 to help you, granite counter tops, bonus rooms, and bay windows were kind of hard to come by.
With that said, the homes were really small in those days. So apparently bedrooms and privacy were nil. Personally, I would just make the house bigger if I’m the one building it. But having 7 family members in 100 square feet of space is cozy.
Children did major chores by the time they were 4. And not just gathering eggs from the chickens or kneading bread dough. They cut wood. Can you imagine giving your 4 year old a saw? Ha ha ha! I know, I know, I know. There was a necessity to make them work so young. I’m not stupid. But still. A saw. Owen can barely butter toast. If I was waiting for the wood for that morning’s breakfast and Owen was in charge of bringing in the wood, we’d be eating at noon.
Our tour started in the barn. We got to milk Daisy the cow and gather the eggs and the children did an excellent job of picking up the chickens to gather them in the coop. The goats and pig and sheep were super cute and friendly. Every kid got a ride on Jake the horse. I would have ridden him too, but I was wearing a skirt and flip flops so that would have been silly if I did.
We would all have been screwed in 1880 without our Zyrtec. We all started sneezing from the hay.
My question is, would I be lactose intolerant back then? Hmm… that would make things a little awkward since coconut milk was not at the General Store.
For your entertainment, here’s all the chores and farm activities I got to do in pictures: