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Learning From the Past for the Future

Learning From the Past for the Future

We enjoyed spending a weekend with Silver Oak's family at a cabin in OH

February was full of family gatherings, field trips, and travel. We ventured to various historical places in Florida and spent time in Ohio with Silver Oak’s family. We learned many history lessons, topped off by listening to G.A. Henty’s With Lee in Virginia as we drove through that very state.

Meanwhile, back on our little homestead our new fireplace has kept our deck cozy! I’ll be sad to see cold weather go. Starlet, our younger cat, likes the fireplace too. She sleeps on the warm hearth and takes over my lap when I sit nearby writing blogposts (not often these days) or grading schoolwork. Most of my extended family was here for brunch one day and the fire made it quite comfy. I love it! Our deck continues to be a great blessing.

Learning From the Past for the Future

What a life!!

Learning From the Past for the Future

Most of my family had brunch here, including all 18 kiddos...notice my 98-yr-old grandpa on the right

Learning From the Past for the Future

Enjoying the fireplace

A highlight in February was visiting the Heritage Festival in central Florida with my 98-year-old grandpa. The best part was seeing the old two-room schoolhouse in which he attended school when he was 12 and 13. It was moved a few years ago from its original location to the historical Crowley Museum where they are restoring it. What fun taking pictures and chatting with others who were tickled to see a live person who had actually attended school there.

It is so neat to ask questions and learn from my grandpa how things were in the “old days.” We and our children are grateful for the priceless treasure of having him still with us. He tells how his family used to travel from OH to FL every year and back again, on dirt roads that went over the mountains rather than through them. Amazing!

Learning From the Past for the Future

Dipping candles at the Heritage Festival...notice Grandpa on the right

Learning From the Past for the Future

Grandpa poses on the steps of the two-room schoolhouse where he attended school at 12 and 13

Learning From the Past for the Future

Six-yr-old Farmer Boy and Grandpa represent a span of four generations

Learning From the Past for the Future

Our whole gang with Grandpa

Learning From the Past for the Future

This little invention dramatically changed the world

One day my parents took my entire extended family to visit the historic Edison home in Ft. Myers. How interesting to see some of the first light bulbs, and many other inventions that changed our world. We owe a lot to Edison.  It made us reflect on lifestyle changes these inventions brought about, including the industrial revolution which encouraged fathers and mothers to work outside the home rather than raise families on their homestead. Any wonder why the current generation is out of touch with reality (where does butter come from?) and the family unit fractured? We’re thankful for lights at the flip of a switch, but our complete dependency on them may be a handicap. Some things to ponder.

On the other hand, if Edison would have grown up in today’s society we probably would have never heard of him. Back then he was kicked out of school and home educated most of his growing up years because his teachers claimed he was impossible. Today he would most likely be placed on Ritalin or some other mind-altering drug to keep him under control, most likely inhibiting his ability to invent (that is, if he escaped the horrors of abortion to begin with, being the seventh child).

Learning From the Past for the Future

For the first time sound could be recorded and played...

Learning From the Past for the Future

...and images could be captured on film, leading to the first motion pictures

Next to Edison’s home is the estate of his friend Henry Ford, which we also toured. As we admired one of his early motor vehicles parked in the garage, we noticed much of it was made of varnished wood. We learned that they used to ship the basic steel frame and motor in wooden crates, then the buyer would use the wood of the crate to finish it like he wanted! Nothing went to waste.

That made us feel a bit of camaraderie with the folks back then, as we are among the wooden pallet gatherers of our day. As I write there is a big pile of large heavy-duty pallets sitting on our property, waiting to be jigsawed apart and the lumber repurposed for many projects around here.

Learning From the Past for the Future

Farmer Boy, Silver Oak and Grandpa admire this early pick-up truck...notice the beautiful wooden cab made from the wood of the shipping crate

Learning From the Past for the Future

A modern day example of repurposing wood...a chicken coop at my brother's place built from pallets

Before the days of air conditioning, both Edison’s and Ford’s homes were constructed to be as cool as possible in the summer. Built on the edge of a very large river, breezes flow much of the time. There are breezeways between bedrooms and living areas and kitchens, and lots of windows and doors on all sides, surrounded by covered porches blocking direct sun.

Modern homes here in Florida will suffer greatly from heat if the grid ever fails because they are dependent on air conditioning to be livable. Even if off the grid we produce enough power for air conditioners, we will be in miserable trouble if one day they cease to work for whatever reason, unless we build our living area with that in mind.

Learning From the Past for the Future


Learning From the Past for the Future

...and covered porches

Learning From the Past for the Future

Lots of windows and doors for ventilation in the summer, and fireplaces for heat in the winter

Learning From the Past for the Future

Edison's laboratory where he spent most of his waking hours

One very sad note was that Edison’s intense desire to invent kept him preoccupied in the lab so much that his wife and children rarely saw him. One of his sons became an alcoholic, hardly knowing his father. Tragically, God did not seem to be part of his life. It’s a reminder that the only things worth living for are the things worth dying for. If we work our tails off only building our temporary earthly homesteads and preparing only for this life, we may miss out on relationships with our precious children and even our final destination in the presence of Jesus! That would be most tragic, indeed!

Learning From the Past for the Future

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20 Responses to “Learning From the Past for the Future”

  1. Jill says:

    It is great to see your grandfather doing well and enjoying an outing with the family. His stories about life in Florida in the past remind me of my father’s. His family traveled from PA during the 1920′s and lived in what is now a heavily populated area of Central FL. Back then it was strawberry fields and the occasional chicken farmer. My dad also had a tale about an alligator that he tried to spear with a bamboo spear. He said it bounced off the gator and then the gator came after him! After that he left the gators alone. God Bless you and your family – I love to read about all your adventures :)

    • Rose Petal says:

      Thanks for sharing that story about your father. I think Florida’s history is quite interesting. My grandfather has an alligator story too. He and his brothers caught one and somehow chained it to a big culvert by their canal. People came out from town miles away to see it. How times have changed! :)

  2. Wow, what a cool trip! I especially love that your Grandpa got to see his old schoolhouse again, that must have been a neat blessing for him.

    Thank you for sharing at the Farm Girl Blog Fest this week! We hope to see you again next week!

    ~Kristi@Let This Mind Be in You

  3. KarenLynn says:

    Rose Petal – what a great post! I know you know how much I miss my grandparents as they are all gone now and what a blessing for you to still have your grandpa and have an opportunity to walk down memory lane with him. I was so touched by your pictures and I wondered if you asked him any new questions on this visit or if you learned anything new! What a cool school house and everyone looks like they had so much fun and what an amazing journey his family took from OH to FL…oh my I don’t like to travel now ;) LOL! Hope all is well with you and your beautiful family! I was so happy to see that you linked up this week to The Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post blog hop! Have a great week!

    • Rose Petal says:

      Yes, Karen, I did learn some new things on that visit with him. I knew he had attended church with his family in that little school building and that his older brother had attended school there, but didn’t know till that day that he had actually spent two years in school there as well. His dad and uncle owned the big muck fields in that area where they used to grow celery. They had lots of migrant workers helping them (I knew that part before). I also learned some of the names of other people he remembers who had local businesses there at that time, as one of the daughters of the business owners stopped by to see the old schoolhouse as well. So interesting!

  4. Tami Lewis says:

    Remember- Ft Myers is my hometown! These pics brought back memories of my many visits to the Edison home. I am jealous of your trip!!

    • Rose Petal says:

      I did not remember that you grew up there. It’s really a pretty and very historical town. All the royal palms that Edison had planted are so tall and beautiful lining the streets.

  5. What a great experience for the family! Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday.

  6. Lisa Lynn says:

    What fun! I’m glad you were able to spend time with family :) Thanks for sharing this on The Creative HomeAcre Hop! Hope to see you this Sunday at:

  7. Wonderful post! we came across some you tube video of folks living in their campers / vans “Off the Grid” – very interesting stuff. Your Grandpa looks happy and full of life, what a terrific building to school in. I often wonder too what will happen should our power fail permanently, we live in S. GA and could not survive in our home with Air Conditioning. There is good and bad in everything. Finding balance in consumption as well as work and family life is never easy. I will greatly enjoy going thru your blog posts – so glad to have come across your blog! I enjoy recycling and UP cycling items into crafts and other useful projects.
    JoAnn @ sweetpepperrose

  8. KarenLynn says:

    Rose Petal I am glad you linked up this post again this week to The Ole Saturday Homesteading TRading Post blog hop because not only are the pictures absolutely fabulous but its such a touching visit you shared! Have a beautiful weekend! :)

  9. I really enjoyed your post. So nice to read about your Grandfather & his one room schoolhouse! My Grandmother (of Blessed Memory) taught in a one room schoolhouse when she was only 14!

    I especially loved the Christian emphasis in your writing – nothing is more important than that!

    Thanks for sharing : )

    • Rose Petal says:

      Thank you for introducing yourself, Anna. It is hard to imagine a 14 yr old being capable of such responsibilities today! Times are sure different. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Gretchen says:

    Wow – what great shots of all of you enjoying your time. I love the variety of past and present and all the group shots!