Thursday, September 1
Ok, I am behind in my tv viewing. It came out in 2001-2002. And I just finished reading the book too.
Fun to watch and interesting to read, even if the teen girls did complain way too much. Things I would have loved about being there - being by yourself, working towards a tangible goal, doing the day to day chores and figuring out ways to do things better, keeping livestock, and sleeping in a cabin you made yourself.
Things I would not have liked: being dirty all the time and not being able to wash properly, having to be relegated to the kitchen all day instead of being able to help with cabin building, garden work and general outdoor tasks, knowing that what you worked towards will only be yours for 5 months.
It made me think about a lot of things - things we take for granted in the 21st century, what it would have been like to get sick or be pregnant in such isolated places, knowing that if you did not do the work you could actually die during the winter.
It also made me think a great deal about what it must have been like to be a child growing up on a frontier homestead. The book states that "The American homesteader's child grew up, by and large, in a world of blurred boundaries, a world where the lines between work and play, between formal and informal education, between childhood and adulthood were faint to nonexistent, a world in which childed learn what they live"
Boys and sometimes girls as young as 8 or 9 doing the work of adults in fields, barns, homes or ranches. How many 8 or 9 year olds do you know that would work from sun up to sun down just to help the family get the things done that needed to be ready before winter? Ones that knew the difference between eating well and being warm vs. freezing and starving from actual experience, not from watching movies. I have no doubt it was hard and probably miserable at times, but if I can give my kids more lessons in "learning what they live" instead of nintendo and hanging out on corners with baggy pants, then I am going to go for it. I think I owe it to them as much as they might hate me for it through the teen years.
My favorite person in the series was Erinn, the daughter of Karen Glenn. At age 12, she seemed to be the more open to embracing her new role as a frontier homesteader. She says in the book that she loves her homestead and wants to enjoy five months of no loud racket from civilization. She loves the animals and the chores and really seems to like life in 1883.
This series makes you think and that is why I highly recommend it.