Have you ever considered that hard work and happiness typically go together?
Laurie and I are putting the finishing touches on our first joint book, which will be available later this month. (Update: It’s released now! Click here to get your own copy.) It’s called A Housewife Writes: What Our Grandmothers Can Teach Us About Making a Home. It’s a compilation of letters and articles written by women to magazine editors in the early 1900s. We’ve put together some of their thoughts as homemakers, with household tips, advice to other women on childcare, aging, finances, etc., and simply give glimpses into their everyday lives. Here’s one of the letters that we’re including in the book:
Our Homestead–a Place of Hard Work and Happiness
We’ve bought a ranch, mostly in timber, and plan to build a homestead. We also own a garage in town, four miles from here, where Friend Hubby works all week while I run the farm. He takes lunch to save expenses, and helps me in what time he has, evenings and Sundays. The place was vacant for two years and must be built from the bottom up.
When I left town I traded my electric washer for two cows. I have no modern conveniences yet, as I had in town, still I am happier than I ever have been before. I never knew what real work meant until we moved here, but I am learning fast. With my two babies to look after, six acres in garden and corn to keep clean, water to carry 200 yards uphill, and canning to do, I cannot find time to read the stories as thoroughly as I should like to, so I look them over and pack my favorite magazine away till winter. I helped put ten tons of hay in the barn last week.
But don’t think it’s all work and no beauty, for we have a nice garden, sweet-smelling pines, and worlds of wild flowers. We’ve seen four wild deer, and can look down on the beautiful Columbia River.
Mrs. Herbert L., Washington, 1930
“No modern conveniences yet,” she says. She was already without an electric washer and plumbing. What other “conveniences” did she live without that we would consider essential today? Besides that, she had two children and a 6-acre garden, yet she’s the happiest she’s ever been. There’s something about hard physical work that’s incredibly satisfying.
And you get annoyed by the water spots the dishwasher leaves on your glasses. It kinda makes you feel like a bum, now, doesn’t it?
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