Day In The Life Of A Pioneer
break today - for about ten minutes, lie down on the couch, or on your
bed, don't read, don't listen to the radio or play music, just relax.
Now imagine that tomorrow morning you are going to go back in time.
Think about what it might be like if your family woke up tomorrow and
you were living during the 1800's.
Most people lived a rural lifestyle, if you lived in a town or a city,
your husband might be employed in a factory or, be a professional
person of some sort. Women stayed home and tended the children and
looked after the house. The odd spinster was a school teacher or maid
or looked after other people's children.
Now tomorrow morning you will wake up and there will be no home as you
know it today. You will imagine that you are living in the country and
it is cold out. How might your day be?
As you are in the country, your husband and you will be up early, your
husband will need to get out
to the barn to tend to the livestock before breakfast. You will get up
and get the woodstove fired up and since it is cold you built it up
last night so it would keep the water warm in the pan you left in the
warming oven. If the fire went out, you will have to warm up the water
before washing your face and hands because it will have frozen during
the night. (You don't have a furnace but depend on the woodstove and
maybe an airtight heater in the parlor for heat.)
You have your coat on until it warms up in the kitchen and soon you are
making biscuits for breakfast. By the time your husband comes in from
the barn his coffee is ready and your biscuits are in the oven. It is
about 5 AM.
By six the children are getting up and they gather around the stove in
the kitchen to get dressed. It won't take long to dress as there is no
problem finding something to wear, there are no decisions to be made.
If it is a school day, each will wear the second best outfit they own
and it is not fancy. The best one is for Sunday and holidays only.
You are still making breakfast for the family and finally when everyone
is dressed, and the breakfast is cooked, and everyone is served, you
will be able to sit down to eat. Once the meal is over you will go out
and pump water from the well to wash your dishes (no running water).
Whoops, the darn pump is frozen back to the kitchen to get some warm
water to thaw it a bit and prime the pump. Hopefully, your husband is
keeping the fire going, if not - you will have to stoke it up to make
sure it doesn't go out.
At some point today the husband, or the kids, or you will have to be
sure the woodbox is full and there is kindling to start a fire if
needed. If you plan on washing clothes, you will have to get more water
heated and start scrubbing or they won't be dry by nightfall. You will
have to string up your clothes line behind and around the kitchen to
Once the husband harnesses up the horse to take the children to school
and they leave, you have the house to yourself (unless you have little
ones)and you can get started on housework and of course start to
prepare for lunch. You have already made sandwiches for the children to
take with them for school and wrapped them in wax paper or placed them
in a lard pail.
If you are smart, you have your soup pot always simmering on the back
of the stove so all you will have to do is make sure there are enough
biscuits or buns and bread for lunch. You decide to do some baking so
you will have a dessert for dinner tonight so you get out all the
ingredients and start getting your baking done for supper, maybe you
are low on bread and buns so you decide to do up a batch.
As it is cold, there is no garden to tend but there is mending to do
and floors to clean especially around the back door. Better heat up a
bit more water.
Now that you have the kitchen under control and have started your
baking you run up to tidy the bedrooms. You have pots under the beds
and two are full so you carry them down, get your warm coat on and
start out to the outhouse to dump them. You decide to do your thing
then, if you hadn't when you first got up, and then it's back inside to
wash the chamber pots and put them back under the beds.
Now you need another wash so you heat up a bit more water or use the
water in the pot you kept in the warming over or on top of the stove
and have a quick washup.
Your husband has been repairing harness in the kitchen because it is
too cold outside. It's lunch time and he will be wanting a meal so you
give him his soup and some of the fresh bread and have a bite yourself.
Then you wash up the dishes and start getting supper ready because soon
the children will be home from school.
It gets dark very early and you don't have electric lights so you or
your husband have to clean the lamps and make sure they are ready for
sundown. You will be eating supper when it starts to get dark and you
need enough oil to last through supper and for an hour or so afterward.
Once you have done your dishes with the help of the children you may
have time for a little relaxation and perhaps play a game of checkers
with one of the children or help them with their schoolwork.
Bedtime will come early because you are tired and it is so dark and you
can't waste lamp oil just to sit around. If it seems really cold you
will warm up rocks and tuck them into each bed near the foot. So you
will help the children get washed for bed and then tuck them in.
Soon after you will climb into your bed and another day will be done,
you can't wait until the warm weather comes so you can work outdoors in
Back to the Future
Now, ten minutes have passed and you can get up and look around you in
this present day. Do you feel more like clearing up the clutter and
making your home look nice? Turn on the radio or put on a CD and get
some music going and maybe you will feel more like tackling that
Every now and again when you feel like you are too tired to get
everything done go to bed early, get up early and get going right away.
Do this for a week and I bet you will notice a big change. If you start
slipping - lie down and imagine facing tomorrow in the 1800's. :)