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Learning the “Old Ways”

Learning the “Old Ways”

Making butter the old way

There is nothing like seeing how folks lived in the “Old Days” to get ideas that are useful today for living more sustainably.  In our society we’ve lost the ability to be sustainable, but we can learn it again if we are diligent.

Last week Silver Oak and I celebrated our 20th anniversary by visiting nearby historical sites.  Then on Saturday our family attended an annual Heritage Festival, with lots of demonstrations of the “Old Ways.”  I want to highlight some things we saw and learned more about.

But first I want to announce that last week our Live Ready Now! blog received The Versatile Blogger Award from Heidi at My Simple Country Living!  What an honor!

Learning the “Old Ways”

And yesterday Andrea at The Greenbacks Gal featured our post about “The Barn Raising” for “Your Green Resource!” on her blog, and pinned it on Pinterest!  What a blessing!

I’ve greatly enjoyed learning to know others who are already traveling some of the same paths we are, and I want to thank these gals for their wonderful encouragement.  Take a look at their blogs to find many ideas about living sustainably.

Now for some thoughts about the “Old Ways.”

Learning the “Old Ways”Before the days of air conditioning houses were built with covered porches to keep out the direct Florida sun.  Doors and windows were positioned to catch the east/west breeze.

Learning the “Old Ways”This historic sugarcane plantation mansion is designed much the same way.

Learning the “Old Ways”A homestead’s most important natural resource is water.  Beside the mansion is a large reservoir for catching rainwater.  Florida well water is usually hard, so minerals will not readily penetrate the soil.  Rainwater, however, is naturally soft, so is well suited for irrigation.  In our future plans a rainwater reservoir should possibly be just as  important as (if not more than) a well.

Learning the “Old Ways”The juice of milled sugar cane is cooked for hours to make cane syrup.  Florida harvesting season just ended and it’s time to plant for next year’s harvest.

Learning the “Old Ways”These old kerosene smudge pots were used to keep a grove warm and protect citrus during a freeze.

Learning the “Old Ways”Most women knew how to spin.  A spinning wheel was a much needed “appliance.”

Learning the “Old Ways”We learned from an “old-timer” about acorn coffee and hand-dipped candles.

Learning the “Old Ways”Cracker Cows are an old heritage breed that eat Florida scrub and palmettos.  We are dreaming about some day owning some of these small gentle cattle.

Learning the “Old Ways”We examined an outdoor shower with gravity fed water from the black barrels in which water is warmed by the sun.

Learning the “Old Ways”This historic schoolhouse is being restored.  It’s extra special because my 97-year-old grandpa used to attend church in this old building with his family when he was young.  His youngest brother attended school in it (sorry about the bad picture).

So much to learn!  So much to do!  God bless your journey toward sustainability and have a great weekend!


Learning the “Old Ways”

Linked w/Frugally Sustainable , Barn Hop, The Shady Porch, Growing Home, Live Renewed, Our Simple Farm, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thursday,  My Simple Country Living, Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration Sunday.

Learning the “Old Ways”

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28 Responses to “Learning the “Old Ways””

  1. Tara says:

    I just loved “Pioneer Days” and such. It is so important for us and our children to see how things were done “back in the old days”. It was possible then and it can be possible now to do things that way. My family and I are on a slow path to becoming somewhat self-sustainable. We are also in Central Florida. I have been enjoying your emails and blog for sometime now. Thank you and Keep up the good work!

    • Rose Petal says:

      Thank you for introducing yourself, Tara. I agree about allowing our children to see how things used to be done. We’ve found that they often get excited about learning to do something that I would have never imagined trying, like spinning! Some of our daughters are all excited about getting animals with fleece or angora hair and spinning it. Go figure!

  2. Gone Country says:

    It’s such a shame that the old ways stopped being passed down from generation to generation. When you realize the hard, physical wok that was done back in those days, you can’t help but admire that lifestyle and the people who lived it.

    How fun that you and your family got to visit such a place! I like the rainwater reservoir idea. We’ll have to check that out.

    BTW, I enjoyed your last post but didn’t get a chance to comment. Your openness and honesty was heart-warming. We all have struggled with something at one time or another and have had to work through issues with our spouses. What’s great is that when we seek God, He gets us through it and we walk away learning something.

    Have a great weekend!

    • Rose Petal says:

      Thanks for your encouragement. Sometimes it’s scary to be honest, but what is the point of only sharing the easy or good stuff?

      We’re learning the old ways the hard way, because it’s hard to find anyone who still actually knows how to do them. But it’s easier to learn now than waiting till a crisis hits.

  3. amanda says:

    I LOVE going to old historical sites that show the *old ways.* We are heading out today to a Civil War reenactment and get to see some *old* ways of living.

    People back then are my heros. Wheather they knew it or not, they had *real knowledge* in my opinion. Knowlege and skills that are priceless!
    Have a blessed weekend in THE LORD!

    Matthew 6:33

  4. kathy says:

    That looks like a fun day! We built our house similar to the double porch photo you have but porches are only across the front. It’s a replica of a 1700s home from North Carolina (Wm Poole design- Beaufort) except the inside is modernized and we redesigned the attic to be “real” with floors and walls plus dormers with windows that open. We essentially have three floors. The cross ventilation is key. The kids rooms (2nd floor) upstairs have full screen doors rather than windows-it leads to the 2nd floor porch so you can keep the door open all night and get the cool air. We have a full bank of windows across the back of the house and one side of the breakfast room. We installed a whole house fan in one of them which works like an attic fan but in reverse. It sucks air out of the window, pulling heat out of the upstairs doors and windows. With the inside more open the breezes are great. The wood stove in the main room keeps the main floor warm in the winter and positioning the stairs just to the side of the fireplace front allows the heat to flow upstairs to the bedrooms. The two covered porches allow us to have shade in the summer and keeps a cool area for us. The windows in back allow us to open shades to heat the house considerably in the winter. Since it was new construction we put in geothermal heating that is very efficient, costing less in this larger home than the traditional heat pump in our old tiny house. All these things should be considered when building a home.

    • Rose Petal says:

      Wow, Kathy! You put a lot of common sense and thought into that plan, it sounds like. I’m curious if the fan was in a second story window or first story?

  5. We can learn a lot from the Ole’ Ways….hence my title “The Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post” blog hop….by the way thanks for linking up so many great blog postings this week!

  6. DFW says:

    Hi Rose Petal,

    This looked like fun, where was the Heritage Festival?

  7. Abbi says:

    What fun times! I very much enjoy visiting museums like that. The idea of both having a rain collection system and a spinning wheel are very attractive to me!

  8. Tricia says:

    That old schoolhouse is so neat & historic! Extra special bonus that your grandpa attended church there! WoW! =)

  9. Shannon says:

    Wow! I feel like I have my hands full, even with all our modern conveniences. I have no idea how people back then were able to survive. It’s one thing for me to choose a few things to make/do from scratch, but they must have worked SO hard!

    • Rose Petal says:

      I think one thing that makes a difference is they had a completely different lifestyle. They didn’t do soccer practice, youth group, and two or three church services each week, or many social things. They also didn’t need internet to learn how to do everything because it was passed on to them…they grew up with it. But I agree they were hard workers!

  10. 'Becca says:

    Nice post! I agree, people often want to do the new thing just because it’s new, but the old way might be better. One of the most startling examples in my own experience was discovering that handkerchiefs are better than tissues!

    Other features often lacking in newer houses are high ceilings and large windows that open from the top as well as the bottom. Those are great for keeping hot air up above you and letting it out of the house.

  11. Tanya says:

    oh i love going to these kinds of events!

  12. Great photos and information. I often think about how laborous it was to live day to day back then. Thank you so much for sharing at Rural Thursday.

  13. I found your blog via the Farmgirl Friday blog hop :) :) I love buildings with covered porches. I never realized the practical application for building them…but for me, love them, because the idea of being able to sit outside while it’s raining, enjoy a nice cup of tea/coffee and not get wet with rain sounds really cool :) :) I really enjoyed your photos and learning about how things were done in times past. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  14. Hi Rose Petal,
    I love reading your blog! I love the ‘old ways’ and wish we could go back sometimes. I’m really glad you shared this at the Rock ‘N Share…I hope you’ll be a regular! Blessings!