How many big things in our lives seem very small because we are so accustomed to them that we take them completely for granted? We have noticed some interesting things about ourselves since moving to this off-grid homestead last fall. Things we had never before been grateful for are now causing us to rejoice and give great thanks!
In our affluent society whoever thought of being grateful for a light switch that can instantly brighten a dark room with one flick? Why would we think of thanking someone for a handle we can turn that produces an abundance of clean water on demand? Things like air conditioning and food in the fridge are things many of us have always just expected to have as part of our daily lives. To be without them for even a few days (camping or mission trips?) is considered a true hardship.
My grandpa is almost 98 and we recently had him out to our place before he went north again for the summer. We were reminded that when he was growing up things were totally different than they are today. It wasn’t till the 1940s that farms were connected to the power grid and farming families out in the country started enjoying modern conveniences that we now take for granted. And for thousands of years before that even the most sophisticated and wealthy people never experienced many things we now consider absolute necessities.
Grandpa jokingly says that his family made the first motor home. He and his mom and dad and brothers used to travel from Ohio to Florida every winter to grow celery in the muck fields that his father and older brother owned. Of course there were no big highways. Travel was slow on dirt or gravel roads that wound around mountains and through the countryside. There were occasional cleared areas beside the road where cars could pull off for a picnic. Sometimes they stayed overnight at a house with a sign out front indicating they had a spare room set up for travelers.
The body of the car they traveled with wore out, so grandpa’s family dismantled it and built their own body for it. They made places to sleep and store their belongings under the benches. Grandpa is sure others saw it and decided they wanted one like it. So the production of motor homes began! Ha!
Down in Florida Grandpa’s family converted another car into a tractor that they used in the celery fields. People came out to their fields every day from town to see the alligator they had caught and tied on a long chain in a canal. I suppose that part of the reason I enjoy our homesteading adventures is because it is in my blood.
At any rate, in spite of the slow economy, most of us are still living way better than the majority in this country before 75 years ago, but rarely do we see a spirit of gratefullness about it. If the air conditioner goes out or something causes a break in our community’s electricity or water or food supply, we feel we deserve to have it corrected at once because we’re entitled to these things. That sets us up to be willing to give up freedoms for the sake of conveniences. We’ve come full circle since our forefathers gave up conveniences to settle their families in this land of freedom.
The past weeks Silver Oak and I have mentioned several times that we are so glad to see gratefullness in our children about things we would never have thought of being thankful for at their ages. It would have never dawned on me to be grateful for a well, but our children were so overjoyed when we hit water! And they were very concerned about the water pouring out onto the ground. Some of them offered to grab containers to catch it so it wouldn’t go to waste! Though it made me chuckle, I also realized the value of their concern. It’s one of the “perks” of this homesteading lifestyle.
PS. Right now we are in the middle of a major construction project…building the permanent roof over our deck and the camper. The temporary roof had to be removed, making us keenly aware of the weather.
Linked w/Barn Hop, Morris Tribe, White Wolf Summit Farmgirl, Growing Home, Frugally Sustainable, Live Renewed, Our Simple Farm, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thursday, My Simple Country Living, Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration Sunday.