Thursday, April 9, 2015

Pioneer Fail

I was working on this fluff today, and it took a long time.  Ben used to say that, in a whining way, when he was about 10.  "But it will take a loooooong tiiiiiime!"  It did.  Isn't it beautiful fluffy stuff?  It is the inside stuff of an old pillow, and we were stretching it out and pulling it into smaller pieces so it was soft again and we could use it for other things.

While we were working with the fibers - Angel and the twins were more than happy to help me - I started thinking of carding wool.  Isn't that kind of a similar idea?  You take dirty old sheep coats, wash them, and then comb the fibers out so they are soft and you can do other things with them.  

I grew up in a house with a 6-acre field out back.  It wasn't our field, but we loved it like it was.  The back neighbors kept flocks of sheep up in the mountains, and they would bring down the sheep that needed more attention and put them in The Field.  We grew up watching sheep with a limp, and sheep that were very gaunt, and sheep that just looked sick.  As far as we were concerned, they all got better and went back to the flock (I would imagine that wasn't always the case.).  In the early spring, they would bring the expectant ewes to The Field.  Every morning we would wake up and run to see if there were any new lambs.  How funny they were when they tried to run!  As they got bigger and the weather grew warmer, they would be sheared.  Poor little nekkid lambies!  

I remember walking along the back fence and picking little tufts of wool out of the barbed wire.  I had every intention to collect a whole basket full, clean it and card it and make my own clothes, just like Little House on the Prairie.

I was mildly obsessed with Little House on the Prairie, but I don't remember them actually carding wool.  Did they?  I think it might have come up in Farmer Boy, the book about Almanzo's youth.  I used to dream that I was transported back in time somehow and got to grow up in a white apron and sunbonnet.

As I watched my fingers bumble through the clean pillow fluff, I realize that I would not make a very good pioneer.  I can cook, yes - with groceries that come in boxes and meat that comes on styrofoam trays.  I can sew - with a machine.  I can crochet - slowly, with a large hook.   I can gather eggs, but so could any four-year-old pioneer girl.  I can not build a fire nor butcher a chicken nor knit socks nor write with a quill pen nor make a poultice for a sick child.

I think I'm glad I live now in the days of band-aids and ready-made clothing and refrigerators.  How lucky I am!  But I still want a cute bonnet.

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