Sunday, January 10, 2010

Continuing on my thoughts...

The other day, I made a post about now the need/want for money took people away from the farms and homes to the factories. Today I'm going to ramble a bit about how this has affected generations of people afterwards. I do love getting on my rants, lol.

The earliest of factory workers came straight from farms for the most part. They left farming for an earned wage to buy their goods, rather than grow, raise, or otherwise provide things for themselves or their families. I'm sure that some of them saw it as an opportunnity to make a better living, just as some saw it as a way to avoid the possible 12 hours of hard labor involved in farming, but no matter the reason, they left. Some chose to live in an apartment or worker homes, and others continuted to live on the family land yet not doing much with it. The steady job provided them with a steady income, and the income provided them with their needs to survive. By doing the same chore over and over at a job, they had the means to provide for themselves. Some worked up to 12 hours a day, stamping out some metal part or assembling something or another, to earn that pay.

At the time, with the man of the house being gone at a job, the things around the farm, house, or homestead that entailed hard labor were left to the women and children, or usually just byassed. This in turn left the need to buy even more things for them. The father and/or husband wasn't home to repair the clotheslines, or plow the gardens, or feed the horses. It wasn't many years before this turned into drying racks (later dryers), buying canned vegetables, and trading the horses for a motor vehicle, which for a price, could be "fed" gasoline by your local station attendant. Slowly the need for more money grew and grew, while the knowledge and desire to do for themselves was lost.

Now jump forward to present time and see how this switch of lifestyle has affected us today. People can go to the grocery store and buy anything they want without the need to grow it or raise it for themselves. The choices at the store are endless. You can buy basic bread, and all the way to fully prepared and frozen meals in a box. Frozen, microwavable, instant, dried, prepackaged anything you can imagine, and make it with the touch of a button. We have to look far beyond what we are used to in todays world to realize what these things have done to us. People always say that these things are "convienent" and "easy", but it's far more than that. We have lost the most basic of skills to provide for ourselves when we rely on the grocery store and the packages and boxes.

I'm not necessarily talking about raising your own chickens or growing a garden, I'm talking about skills. Many people try the frozen meatballs or canned soup and say "this sure isn't like grandma used to make", all the while continuing to buy the same soup or meatballs over and over rather than try grandmas recipe that is collecting dust in a closet somewhere. It's easier to buy them, and a huge majority simply CAN'T make them, and that is the reason for this post.

So many people now can't make even the simplest of foods. I personally know people who can't make soup even if I was to lay all the ingredients out in front of them and the recipe tattooed on their arm. I know some that have tried to make various things, and have given up after one failed attempt. My mother is one of them. She has tried to make bread many, many times, but never kneads it enough. It's a simple fix, but she chooses to go to the store and buy bread like most americans do. My grandmother used to make the most amazing pastries-kifli, struedel, and baklava, all rolled so thin and perfect you could almost see through it. She baked liked that until she passed away at 82, simply because she loved doing it, and because she refused to buy a factory produced poor substitute for home made. Grandma W passed away with no one to carry on her traditiions or baking skills. Everyone else chose the easy way out via the grocery store.

It's not just cooking skills I am talking about, its day to day skills that our ancestors lived by. I don't expect everyone to have the ability to make a log cabin or house, or hand make furniture and make all the quilts for the beds made from timbers and feathers. It's the most basic of things that we have lost. I know grown men who cannot read a tape measure or hang a picture on the wall.( I was once given an apprentice that I had to teach how to read a tape. Don't they teach people how to use a ruler anymore? Afterall, it is just a 25 foot ruler!! ) I know people who can't cook without a microwave and a box. I know people who have no idea how to check the oil or air pressure in their own car or truck. I know people who will throw away a perfectly good shirt just because they can't replace a simple button.

Maybe I was just born in the wrong century, I dunno, but I can't help but sometimes look around at people and wonder what happened. The early settlers built their homes by hand 100%, and today people pay someone to replace a simple light switch. Has the desire for a paycheck and buying what we need made us all lazy and somewhat uneducated? Sure, Mr so-and-so may have a bachelors degree in physics, but he can't start his own lawnmower or replace a toilet seat. It's far easier to buy it or pay someone to do it for you than learn to do it for yourself. People can write a computer program, yet can't do the simplest of things in their own homes. We've taken the education for skills and shifted it from skills to survive to skills to earn more money. Every generation loses more and more basic skills, making them more and more dependant on the machine. We all live in a giant hampster wheel, and very few choose to learn how to jump off, or for that matter, are taught how to jump off.

To me, the worst of those two, are the ones who don't WANT to learn. They're so used to the instant gratification just buy it society that we live in, that they can't comprehend actually doing something for themselves. The idea of making bread, raising a simple tomato plant, or fixing your own sink are just silly, afterall, you can just buy that stuff or hire a plumber. Slowly but surely, generation after generation, skills and knowledge have been lost. From the earliest settlers ability to build a cabin and survive bitter cold new england winters to my grandmothers baking, the skills, crafts, and trades of our ancestors are slowly being lost and forgotten. Imagine what will be lost when our grandchilren or great grandchildren are our age. Everything they will need will be given to them with the touch of a button or the swipe of a credit card, without ever having to lift a finger.

Over and over in my blog posts I tend to touch on modern civilization, whether it was one of my early ones about men getting lazy, or about frozen foods, or about modern "conviences" and gadgets. I tend to always get the same thoughts in my head, and they always end up here as an entry. Some make sense to those of you who choose to read it, and obviously, by the lack of comments to some, don't. I just tend to go off on our things at home sometimes to just put out my views and opinions on the modern world we live in, and as is well obvious by most of my comments, I simply don't like it. Like I said earlier in this post, perhaps I was just born in the wrong time or century, I despise many things that we all live with today and talk about them a lot. I hate our reliance on electricity, I hate our reliance on the dollar, I hate the fact that so many sit around with nothing but won't lift a finger to fend for themselves, and at times I'm scared to death of where we are heading.

For now I'll stop running off at the mouth and work on another post, this time actually revolving around things happening at home...maybe lol.


Jen said...

So much truth to your post. Thank you for sharing it. ~jen

goatmilker said...

This was a great post and so true. People are just down right lazy anymore no other way to put it. We Have a farm and homeschool our children believe me they know what work is. They have no complaints they love working on the farm. People tell us we make them work to hard and I tell them my kids will not be lazy. My kids love to tell people we have all our own meat, eggs, and milk it makes them proud because they are helping produce it. I would have our life no other way. We are not rich by no means but we have what we need and the Lord takes care of us. Keep on writing you are doing a great job Rebekah.

Laura said...

I agree with your observations about the commercialized machine we live in, however, I see a growing mindset of poeple who are beginning to see the value in getting back to basics. Backyard homesteading is a growing movement, maybe it's just a trend due to the economy but it is this same type of movement in the 70s that left an indelible mark on me and shaped me into the person I am today. I still have stacks of the original Mother Earth News Magazine that my father subscribed to when it first hit newstands. I read those magazines in the suburbs of Los Angelos Ca. from cover to cover from the time I was 10 years old. Our children and grandchildren will be exposed to backyard gardens, small family farms and the concept of making due, reusing,recycling and making things from scratch. I guess am terminally optimistic but I see hope for the future as my own grown children and grandchildren carry forward the things that I have taught them. Hope winter is treading gently in your part of the country. Warm wishes!

small farm girl said...

I completely agree with you. I actually have been talking to older people(great aunts,grandparents) about how things were in there times. Very interesting.

If you want to read good books about how things were done, read the Foxfire Books. Then, you might already know about them.

Keep up your good work.

Anonymous said...

AMEN AMEN AMEN - couldn't have said it better myself!

MaMaBear in the Mitten

howard said...

Your thoughts are my thoughts, I agree with you entirely.

Blog Archive