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Have any idea of how the pioneers of this country built their homes?
Old 11-22-2007, 11:38 AM   #1
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Have any idea of how the pioneers of this country built their homes?

Was watching the History channel very, very late last night, and the show was on the different regions and how they built their homes. If you get a chance to catch that do so as it was fascinating.
The eastern region east of the Mississippi built log cabins; the great plains region between the Mississippi and the Rockies from Minnesota to Texas (western side) built sod houses as they had little to no trees in that area; the southwest and western side built adobe houses from mud.
I got to thinking--since this is Thanksgiving--of how HARD the lives were of our forefathers. And, since this is a holiday of giving thanks, I surely am thankful that they made the sacrifices they did.
And then I started thinking of the poor women who went before me, having babies with no assistance often or anesthesia ever. Did you know that many of these homes had a canary or bird in a cage in them. Do you know why? Because the women would be left alone so much as the men hunted often for food and other necessities, the women had the bird to sing for company only. The nearest neighbor for the women would be miles away often. I can never whine about having nothing to do again ever without feeling guilty now.
What sacrifices people made for ages to build this country. I am giving thanks to them this year for Thanksgiving.
Catch that show on the History channel if you can. It is well worth your time to see exactly how they made these homes, guys, so when you run into a little electrical or plumbing problem...well, you can put it in perspective then and compare your life with theirs.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
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Old 11-22-2007, 07:44 PM   #2
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Yes, and they did it without the help of a psychologist!!!! Now that is truly amassing, how did the children survive?
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Old 11-22-2007, 09:26 PM   #3
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Orchidflower,
- Thanks for the thoughtful post. We are all truly fortunate.
- Each year we visit my wife's kin in rural Mississippi. They all remember what it was like before they got electricity, and there's still a lot of folks there who make do, or they do without. They were masters of the "multiple streams trickles of income" approach before it became popular. If the soybeans don't do well this year, maybe the 20 cows in the back field will bring some cash. Plus, there's the check from the Army Guard, and the plumbing work they do on the side, etc. This diversity lends some stability to what is a hard and unpredictable life. And there seems to be a lot of happy people there, too.
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Old 11-23-2007, 12:35 AM   #4
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Thanks for that post. Sorry I do not have cable or I would watch it for sure. As one who is getting ready to have a house built, I am indeed fascinated by the way they "used to do" things.

And I note how building and building products and building codes have gotten so much more complicated just from when I was a kid in the 1950's.
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Old 11-23-2007, 09:44 AM   #5
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My grandfather built the house where I grew up, back in about 1908. Here is a picture taken by my cousin's son this summer:
IMG_4282.jpg on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
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Old 11-23-2007, 09:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
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My grandfather built the house where I grew up, back in about 1908.
I'd have never guessed you were a day over 100!
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Old 11-23-2007, 11:52 AM   #7
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I'd have never guessed you were a day over 100!
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Old 11-23-2007, 06:40 PM   #8
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OrchidFlower,

When our children were young, I read them all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder "Little House on the Prairie" books, and those her daughter, Rose Wilder, wrote, too.

They were of no interest to me before as my only knowledge of them was a glimpse of the TV show, which I thought was awful. But to my surprise and delight the books were marvelous! A very articulate and insightful view into every part of pioneer life.

There were surprising little twists that were instantly recognizable as part of our America today. Such as "cruisin' Broadway"...in buckboards. Wagon trains passing each other going in opposite directions...because each one thought things would be better in the place the other just left. And giving up on trying to cross the country in a covered wagon...by getting on the train that was just built. I also learned what "green cheese" (as in, the moon is made of...) is. And "whiffle trees". The accounts of living in severe weather (winter, tornadoes, range fires, etc.) were chilling.

We got quite an education reading about the old times. American history isn't as simple as I once thought, either.

My people came a little later, but my wife's family were pioneers (and some were here to greet them). We came to appreciate how hard life was for them. And yet, they came anyway. Wow. Homo Sapiens took off and occupied the entire planet in about 100,000 years. Something in our genes maybe. More wow.

Thanks for your post.

Cheers,

Ed
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Old 11-24-2007, 09:09 AM   #9
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Thanks for the nudge on those "Little House on the Prairie" series. I never knew anyone who really read them, but, if they contain much true life of that day, I, myself, would be interested in reading them. I can order them from my local library for free if they don't have them here. I wouldn't have even thought to get them, so thank you for that, Ed!
I am just in total awe at what our forefathers did to build this nation from scratch..just in total awe!
One of the reasons I am so interested in living in New England is the history you can learn.

My mother's family homesteaded in Arkansas, because a Judge in that State was to hold the money that they slipped out of Italy around the first part of 1800 until they got to America. The law was that the Italians could take only so much money out of the country then. Well, he held it alright: he stole all their money! So, 6 generations are still there!
They had been very wealthy in Italy, so this decision to come to America cost them everything! Everything! They went from being wealthy laundry and store owners to working on a 1,000 acre or more farm. Now that would be a life change!
I just wonder how many people have stories like that in their families?
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The Modern Developed World & Thanksgiving
Old 11-24-2007, 09:10 AM   #10
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The Modern Developed World & Thanksgiving

November 20, 2007
Miracle of Plenty

By Rich Lowry
To what do we owe our 20-pound Butterball turkeys, our high-definition TVs, our spacious and warm homes this Thanksgiving? Something that won't be high on anyone's list of things to be grateful for, but undergirds our way of life -- a centuries-old economic revolution that changed the very terms of human existence.
In his eye-opening new book, A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World, Gregory Clark produces a chart tracking income per person throughout history. By Clark's account, it is essentially flat from 1000 B.C. to A.D. 1800, reflecting the crushing burden of providing for our material wants in an environment of economic stasis. Then, income per person explodes upward around 1800, coinciding with the Industrial Revolution that first arrived in England. Without it, most of us would still be living poor, nasty, brutish and short lives.
How poor? "The average person in the world of 1800 was no better off than the average person of 100,000 B.C.," Clark argues. "Life expectancy was no higher in 1800 than for hunter-gatherers: 30 to 35 years. Stature, a measure both of the quality of diet and of children's exposure to disease, was higher in the Stone Age than in 1800. And while foragers satisfy their material wants with small amounts of work, the modest comforts of the English in 1800 were purchased only through a life of unrelenting drudgery."
Throughout most of history, Clark argues, humankind was caught in a "Malthusian trap": Small economic advances were outpaced by resulting population growth that made it impossible for living standards to increase. The massive productivity gains of the Industrial Revolution -- driven essentially by expanding knowledge -- broke the trap and created modern life as we know it.
"The richest modern economies are now 10 to 20 times wealthier than the 1800 average," Clark writes. In these economies, it is the unskilled who have benefited most. "Unskilled male wages in England have risen more since the Industrial Revolution than skilled wages," Clark writes, "and this result holds for all advanced economies." There have always been very rich people. What's changed in the past 200 years is the growth of wealth and its spread.
It all started in England, and there's a roiling academic debate about why. Clark attributes it partly to the slow but sure spread of middle-class values in England: Literacy and numeracy increased, hours worked rose, and interpersonal violence declined.
In his new book "God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World," Walter Russell Mead picks up the story from a geopolitical perspective. England embarked on its capitalist revolution at exactly the time when "the country that mastered this new system would gather rewards that far outstripped all the treasures of any empire in the past." With that came world power. England reaped the benefits first, then its successor as a superpower, the United States.
The formulas for the two countries' success have been the same: "An open, dynamic and capitalist society generated innovations in finance, technology, marketing and communications. Those innovations offered the open society enormous advantages in world trade. The wealth gained in this way provided the basis for military power that could withstand the largest and mightiest rival empires of the day." The effect was to empower two liberal societies that had the wherewithal to beat back dictatorial challenges from continental Europe -- from Napoleon's France to Hitler's Germany to Stalin's Russia.
And so the miracle that started 200 years ago marches on. "Currently, industrial societies appear to be doubling their rate of technological progress every 10 years," Mead writes. "If this continues, and there is every reason to suppose that it will, the 21st century will experience the equivalent of 20,000 years of 'normal' human progress."
So long as it remains an open and dynamic economy, the United States is positioned to stay at the heart of this progress. Thank goodness for that, and pass the drumstick.
© 2007 by King Features Syndicate
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Old 11-24-2007, 11:18 PM   #11
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Slightly off-topic, but following the flow, there are many cries the past week or two about how the US is going to lose its lead economic position in the world. How the coming (really?) recession is going to destroy the US. See this week's Economist, for example. Canadian papers are also full of it (aren't they always?) , too.

Bon chance, mes amis.

Wishful thinking by those who cheered on 9/11. Regardless of all their worst wishes, the US is still the world's largest economy and driven by energies the rest of the world can only be jealous of. They should be careful of what they wish for, too. They might get caught in the undertow. It has happened before.
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Old 11-25-2007, 09:18 AM   #12
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The annual WSJ editorial is one of my favorites. Crossing the ocean. Which then acts as a barrier to return.
OpinionJournal - Featured Article

Then the next one. I like the phrase

what it reaches for exceeds by far what it has grasped.

OpinionJournal - Featured Article
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Old 11-25-2007, 10:13 AM   #13
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The annual WSJ editorial is one of my favorites. Crossing the ocean. Which then acts as a barrier to return.
OpinionJournal - Featured Article

Then the next one. I like the phrase

what it reaches for exceeds by far what it has grasped.

OpinionJournal - Featured Article
Else what's a heaven for? Robert Browning: ... “Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?”
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