Tuesday, November 23, 2010


When your pioneer grandmother and mine as young mothers, set out for new frontiers in the canvas-covered wagon, they carried with them high courage, a little iron stove and a hand mill.

And Grandmother certainly had need for them all. For courage meant something more to her than fighting off Indians--more than facing long, cold winters and days of loneliness, grasshoppers and crop failure. It meant getting up long before daybreak to crack the ice from the water pail for breakfast gruel, keeping up the courage of the family, with a crisp white ruffle for the window, or a new birthday dress for sister cut down to size from one of Mommy's old one and making cheery Christmas out of practically nothing.

But, hardest of all was to keep the family fed., no corner grocery store for her. Sometimes when she wanted to bake her bread, she found the grain damp, causing the mill to clog. But, day after day the little mill kept grinding and the little stove kept going. Somehow Grandmother knew these trials and worries were just part of progress, that the future would bring better ways.

After the first harvest the grist miller would relieve her task of grinding flour each day.The railway brought more people and household goods and news of our growing nation, of fashions and news from back home. But the best news to Grandmother and her pioneer neighbors was improvement of farm machinery and improved ways of milling wheat. And one startling invention after another brought better living. So the new methods of milling their Spring wheat gave them means to buy the new and better things.

Grandmother is a little old lady now, and as she sits enjoying her afternoon coffee and sandwich she remembers her little iron stove and the tiny hand mill. Seeing her bag of flour in the cupboard, with its familiar "XXXX" on the label, and now the word "enriched, she thinks. "What a long way we pioneers have come together-and what an exciting future lies ahead".

We know the pioneer woman had more hardships than are mentioned here. The illness and deaths they endured, probably made them the strongest. I always think of them in there little log home, with a roaring fire, sitting down to a meager meal all tired out from the hard day they had. I also think that those little families were more loving toward each other. The reason I think this is because today we have more to occupy our life, I don't mean we do not still love one another. When was the last time you told someone you loved them and meant it? Have a nice Thanksgiving and I found this story in an old, old Pillsbury Diamond Anniversary Recipes (75 years).


Barb said...

Hi Margaret,
Wonderful post. I was thinking of my grandma as I read it.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.


P.S. Where is Ferrysburg?

Gigi Ann said...

I often think about the pioneer ladies, I like reading books about the pioneers of yesteryears. I would not trade them places for anything. Give me my electric heater any day over the old pot bellied stove, and the fireplace to cook in. Nice post today, Margaret. I enjoyed it.

kavita said...

I will call up my grandmother today .Very heart warming post .Have a nice Thanksgiving :)

Patty said...

What a wonderful story. Yes we sometimes forget what some of our Grandparent and or Great Grandparents went through. They had a terribly rough life. I suppose that's one reason us women usually out live the men. We know we have to. LOL Because let's face it, a lot of them don't really seem to know how to take care of themselves Off to watch DWTS, and it better be Jennifer that wins. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


I do remember my one Grandma & pa had a HUGE garden. My other Grandma was always in the kitchen cooking!!! Both have passed on and I do miss them!
Have a lovely Thanksgiving! How Blessed we are in America.
deb :)

Judy said...

We cannot imagine in our wildest imaginations all the hardships these women had to endure and how strong they had to be. I tell my children I love them every time I am with them or talk to them. I feel very blessed and hope that you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

These old stories are relevant to me today too. I guess we went through hard time about the same. I do remember mom always had a "cloth" bag of flour in the tiny cupboard. We never had lots to eat and nothing to "snack" on. The bones were picked clean and the dog got them after we were finished. I never heard of a bone getting stuck in a dog's throat like they say when they say you should not feed chicken bones to dogs. Mom canned and filled up the space under the bed with jars of food for winter. I don't know what it never froze as we did not keep a fire going after we went to bed. And pee would freeze solid in the pot.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

First Margaret HAPPY BIRTHDAY, have a wonderful day.
I read this most interesting blog and was most impressed.
You cover a whole range of subjects each one a pleasure to read.


Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello Margaret,

I greatly admire the American pioneers. Their physical and mental endurance,their willingness to take risks,their ability to withstand the most difficult situations,their readiness to defend themselves from enemies and wild beasts,their love and devotion to their families,their entrepreneurship,their willingness to undertake the most daring adventures, their ability withstand and endure sickness, to live a simple and frugal life without any luxuries are something which we can only admire and praise and wonder.They were super human beings.They had the BIBLE to guide them, to give them courage,to put up with hardship. American pioneers both men and women were extraordinary people who made America what it is today, the cynosure of all eyes and a leader of the world both admired and hated for its grandeur,power and might.

Your post is a fitting tribute to American pioneer grandmothers who were there like a solid rock behind the men, helping them,motivating them, encouraging them, working side by side and perhaps doing more than the men.

Best wishes,

Linda said...

This is great, Margaret! :)

I never really knew my Grandparents. My parents are actually as elder as some people's (who are my age) Grandparents. But my Mom very much grew up like a little girl on the prairie - Even though she's only 80, they didn't even have indoor plumbing at their houses in southern Illinois when she was a little girl, and I always tell her that it's as if she were growing up in the pioneer days and she agrees. They did things much the same way as described. It was a difficult life.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family,

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Hi Margaret, That's an amazing post. My grandmother lived so frugally. They didn't even have indoor plumbing. I remember, as a little girl, when we went to visit her on the farm, we thought it was like "playing" to pump the water from the well to use in the house. And they fried eggs in lard then too. Best eggs I think I ever ate! LOL....You are right in thinking that you cannot have two blogs with the same name. Actually they can have the same name but CANNOT have the same url address. That girl in Australia has the same name as me (which I just discovered this week....and a very nice lady) but we have different blog addresses. Have a wonderful day tomorrow. I have been cooking up a storm and am taking a short break right now. xo Lynn P.s. Your package is on it's way.

Babli said...

Very nice and touching post. I was very much close to my grandmother as I was the only granddaughter. I miss my grandmother very much. She expired 6 years before due to heart attack. While reading your post I was remembering my grandmother who was everything for me.

Becky and Gary said...

What a wonderful story it is too Margaret. How times have changed, and now everything is done in such a hurry, but my family continues to tell each other we love them every day, and this is something time will never change.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving Margaret to you and all your family.

Kay said...

Yikes! I missed your birthday? Oh dear! Happy Belated Birthday, Margaret and Happy Thanksgiving as well! I'm so happy you're in my cyber world.

Destiny's child... said...

Happy Thanksgiving! :)
That was a touching post...More than love, it was respect I had for my grandmother. She was so resourceful, practical, and yes, very, very compassionate. :)

dr.antony said...

My grandmother died at the age of 108 years.I had written a blog on her,how she brought up our family,having been widowed at a young age.
Your post is a tribute to all grandmas.

Merle said...

Dear Margaret ~~ A great post about the very hard and difficult lives our grandparents had with none of the mod cons we enjoy these days. You always think up such very interesting posts to share with us. Thank you dear blog friend. Also thanks for your comments - I was pretty happy with 12 months
review. Glad you liked the flowers and jokes.Take care, I will be 77 next May too. Love, Merle.

Kay said...

You're so right, Margaret. I think that there are so many things (technology) that can bring us together, but in many ways separate us from our own loved ones, too. We do sometimes take each other for granted. Thank you for the reminder.

Post a Comment