Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Learning the Old Ways

Have you ever thought about
just spending a week in history?
Or even a day for that matter?

Over the past several years, I have had a garden,
canned , made soap and lotion,
learned to spin - well...sorta,
tanned hides, and used a loom.
Some of these things were "once 'round",
but I tried them out and learned something.

Growing up on a ranch and living out of town,
we did plenty of make do or do without
which is a saying that seems to have come back into fashion.

I've put up hay,
had my arm up the south end of various critters,
fed, fattened, and butchered others,
made feeders with nothing more than scrap wood,
a few previously used nails and a skill saw. 
(no trip to the hardware store, YouTube, or lumber yard)
there was/is something missing.
And so I digress~

Growing up,
we always looked forward to Grammy's 
home-canned green olives.
(Good Italian family!)
Grammy is my only grandparent left - 95yrs. young.
In talking with her a while back,
I asked her how she made her olives.
Her reply...
"Well, I just do it how Grandma did it."
Meaning her mother, my great-gma.
Of course she did.
My aunt still has the giant crocks she used for curing them.
That knowledge wasn't passed down,
because along came a generation or two
of those who found it easier to buy a can of olives and such things.
As Grammy told me the process, I took notes.

I don't think I am alone
in wanting to restore and preserve the knowledge
not only of the 'how-to'
but also the why and to what end.
Grammy said when she picked olives,
she was very careful with them and
set them in the bucket or they would bruise.
If you just drop them in you would
end up with brown spots on your olives.
That's what I'm talking about.
Those little details of life
that had meaning and reason
that were passed from one generation
to the next seamlessly without even realizing it.

I have a tendency to love talking with
let's say 'well-aged' folks.
My mom says even when I was little 
and other kids shyed away from the old,
I was right there.
Maybe this is part of the reason.
There's something I connect to,
a wisdom I crave,
and a knowledge I may never realize.

I am in a continual state of learning.
Bless my dear husband.
He is so patient as I try out a garden idea,
bring home an antique tool of some sort,
and share tid-bits of facts like
"If you pick green beans with the dew still on,
 they will get rust spots."
We found that out the first year we planted them - 
now we know why.
It would have been so much easier to
learn that from someone
we picked them in the early morning dew.
Multiple generations of a family used to live together or
at least within close proximity to one another (generally speaking.)
We are so distant now - in so many ways.

I'm not certain if there is a real point to all this,
or if it's just the sharing of a feeling,
but if it keeps you from picking green beans in the morning, or
encourages you to call and visit your grandma or grandpa
well then,
that is enough.
If you are a g-ma or g-pa, please share.
We need you.

PS Thanks Grams:)


  1. How lucky you are to have a Gmaw that can pass on useful information. My Step-dad is 99. He will regale anyone that will listen to his stories, thoughts and ideas about how to do things. He rigged up a way to put eye drops into his eyes when he had an eye issue. He will show everyone and anyone. One never stops learning.

    1. That is great. I love the innovation some folks have. That he is will to share is awesome!

  2. I love this post Lady Locust.
    I was very close to my grand parents and learned a lot from them, but still I wish I had more time with them.

    1. I know folks who never knew their grandparents. I can't even imagine what that would be like.

  3. How I wish I had my grandma here so I could ask her a ton of questions. I don't care to learn things the hard way, but that's what we do around here if it's not in a book. Love the olive story. I've never tanned a hide.

    1. I have a tendency to learn the hard way too. I suppose as long as we're learning. . .

  4. Such a wonderful post. My Italian grandmother taught me to hand sew, but she died when I was young, 10 or 11. The older I get, the more I wish I'd had more time to talk with and learn from my grandparents. What a treasure to still have your grandmother.

    1. The things we think of asking after they are gone - oy! I have questions for my mom's dad I wish I'd asked (and written down.)

  5. As always, it was a joy to read your post.

  6. I also love this post! The reason for writing it ~ well, let's count the reasons... Make Do or Do Without! A great motto, I think!

    1. Thank you. We should abide by that a little more often I'm sure.

  7. I guess your attitudes makes us birds of a feather. I always liked old folks and like to see knowledge preserved.

    1. We must be "old at heart" which I think is better than the way that usually goes.

  8. I had a neighbor up the street who was like an adopted grandma to me. She was so generous and kind. She grew raspberries, weaved on a loom that her husband had made for her, cooked, baked, and wrote letters. Her house was always neat and clean. I learned so much from her.

    1. That is so special Stephanie. We all need folks like that.

  9. What a lovely, lovely post! In so many ways! Thank you.

    I was never lucky enough, to know either of my Grand Mothers. Both died while I was tiny. My maternal Grand Father lived awhile longer. "They said" that my little self, was the only thing, that kept him alive, after losing his wife. :-)

    But I was still too young, to remember much of anything, of my time with him. -sigh- I do have a memory (or at least, I think I do----We now know, that memory is not reliable.) When he died, thinking that now, he would not be able to tell me about the faeries, as he had said, he would. A rather selfish thought, actually.... But I was young.

    Those who were lucky enough to learn, from generations back, should be so grateful. As you are...


  10. This is beautiful. I agree with you; it's so important to keep old knowledge alive. Sometimes I worry that our world will lose some piece of important knowledge, and it will be gone when we most need it. Thank you for being one of the keepers of important facts.

  11. Fabulous post. It made me all nostalgic. I wish I had my grandparents.
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

    1. Amen! I grew up the same and live the same life. I am blessed to have a Grandma who wrote her stories and luckily my aunt published them. My mom is now doing the same and I asked her to get dad to help. I guess my blog is my legacy. I did a research paper in college about the difference between men and women authors in the American West. While the men wrote about heros galloping to save us from evil men, women wrote about details of daily life and struggles. We are keepers of the important facts.

  12. A lovely, lovely post. I miss my grandparents. I wish they were here to hold my hand and guide me through life with their wisdom. I wish they could have met my own children.