I woke up like many people my age do…aching from the joints and muscles. After doing the jaunt to the ladies room and taking meds, I was laying here thinking about our ancestors again. I never loved history as much as I do today for there is so much to learn. I love the history channel and all about the underground cities discovered here and abroad. It tells so much about our civilization and how we swing like the pendulum.
So, I lay here wondering how our ancestors made it over this rugged terrain. You know they had to have some of the aches and pains we did and sleeping on the ground or in a wagon on a mat can not have been very comfortable. Prairie wagons or even the larger Conestoga wagons were not that big and often held mama, grandma and the little kids sleeping on make shift beds.
The Conestoga wagon was larger and coming across the prairie worked fine but they found that being so heavily loaded made it very ineffective for the mountains. We are so possession conscious that it is hard to imagine traveling with all our possessions and family and children in one of these:
If you read at the link above on Rootsweb, it tells you that the average wagon was about five feet wide by ten feet. Not very big at all. And when you consider what all they had to pack and then still had to put the little children and older women in there, it was packed tight.
According to the Rootsweb site, packing included:
“ For most families, 1600-1800 pounds of their supplies would be food! The wagon also carried cooking and bedding equipment as well as tents, tools, farm equipment, and personal possessions. Chests were filled with clothing and dishes. Chamber pots, lanterns, mirrors, Bibles, clocks, and furniture were crammed into odd spaces in almost every wagon.
Inside the wagon there were many hooks attached to the wooden hoops where the emigrants hung cast iron pots and pans, kettles, milk cans, coffee pots, weapons, clothing and anything else they could find room for. Women packed their Dutch Ovens and Reflector Ovens for baking bread on the trail. Accessories and tools for making emergency repairs to a wagon were also a necessity. These included rope, brake chains, wagon jack, extra axles and tongues, wheel parts, axes, saws, hammers, knives, and shovels. Weapons, powder, lead, and kits for casting bullets were essential.
Each family required 5 to 50 lbs. of soap, and many candles were needed. All of these varied supplies left virtually little or no space for travelers, who usually walked the distance. Quite often the trails were littered with debris of abandoned supplies thrown out to lighten loads and make better time. The trail could be so littered with this debris, that scavengers would collect full wagon loads of flour, bacon, and even cast iron stoves. Families that could afford it took two wagons, one for the food, and one for everything else!”
I can’t imagine the anguish of throwing out treasures or even food because the weight was too heavy to go over the mountains. Out here on the LaVeta section of the mountains, they say you can look down the gorge and still see remnants of things thrown out. But, when you dream and this was a dream of a life time to come west and own land and set up your own homestead…you are willing to give up everything even if it means having nothing but the shirt on your back.
As I am reading this page on the wagon trains and traveling west, I read a comment that really struck a chord with son and I. We both feel so tired and yet we have to continue the work so that we are secure. We have been nonstop since the house on the other side of the mountain sold and we moved here and both of us are exhausted….just bone weary exhaustion that sometimes keeps us from sleeping….from being too tired. Well, the article said:
“It would be a long wearisome trip, traveling 10 to 12 miles each day, and the journey would take many months. Exhaustion became part of their lives. Life on the trail tended to follow routine patterns, based on the work that needed to be done.The day would begin at sunrise, as the emigrants started preparing for the long day of travel ahead of them. The cows would be milked by children. A fire would be started, and breakfast would be cooked by the women. Dishes were washed, bedding was gathered up, routine chores were performed. The wagon would be loaded, while the men gathered the livestock, and hitched up the team.”
Son and I both come from opposite ends of the house, weary as the day starts, reaching for that first cup of coffee to kick off our day and then the work begins again. In today’s time, people expect things to be easy and quickly and without much effort. This dream has been one a long time coming for us. We have worked ourselves to the bone for a couple of years now, first working non stop to get the house ready to sell, then packing and moving and now getting this house ready. Perhaps that is why I identify so much with the pioneers as we “work our dream” for this dream has not been easy…but oh so worth it.
Some days we wonder will we ever get it all done. Like the air conditioner which is finally in the window and running and oh gosh sooooooo wonderful. Son had to do all of that by himself. I could not even help him lift to put it in the window and yet the smile of accomplishment made it worth it to see. We are out here with just us and no family. My son and I are survivors..both my sons. We learned how to take care of ourselves and figure a way to do it ourselves from the time they were young. Perhaps that is why we can do this dream. Many will never leave the safety of their homes and continue to think about what their hearts dream of but never make any action. It will be one of those dreams that is never fulfilled.
One of the blessings here in this town is the guys that we got to know at the rio. They have become family to us and they know if they need help, they can ask us and if we need help, we can come to them. That happened two days ago when we needed help and they were right there for us. I think again of the wagon trains and those people who lived so closely for so long, traveling to their dream…helping each other. I am a firm believer that God takes care of our needs. He has shown me over and over. And this was no exception and I believe God brought us to that motel for a reason and the friendships there are it.
Packing for the journey for their dream was expensive and they had to know exactly what to take. According to this site:
“Anyone traveling west on an overland trail was outfitted with heavy supplies that slowed the speed of the trip. The general rule was to carry no more than 2,500 pounds of supplies. The food and other provisions needed to sustain a family on the trail for five or six months took up most of the room in their wagon. The basic staples were:
Flour (200 lbs. per adult)
Bacon (150 lbs. per adult)
Coffee (20 lbs. per adult)
Sugar (20 lbs. per adult)
Salt (10 lbs. per adult).
Some emigrants took whiskey, brandy and medicines. In addition to their food supplies, many had their milch (milk) cow tied behind the wagon, and some fixed a chicken coop to the side of the wagon, to provide fresh milk and eggs during the journey. Along the trail, the eggs were nestled in the flour to protect them from breakage. A butter churn could also be attached to the side of the wagon. Filing the churn with fresh milk from the cow in the morning, the jolting, constant movement of the wagon gave them butter by the end of the day. Some emigrants brought cattle along, to use strictly for beef on the trail, and cows, sheep, and pigs usually trailed the wagons.”
Believe it or not, when son and I traveled, we packed food, supplies to last us a few weeks for we knew we would not be in our home before then. We had canned goods stacked in the motel room that we ate out of, bottles of water, medical supplies. I think we would have been good pioneers for we have learned the necessity of thinking ahead and being prepared “in case of”. And we carried these supplies just as carefully as we carried our tin of heirloom seeds, for they were for our survival now and the future.
And as I lay here mulling the pioneers and their strength and stamina, I think about sleep once more. Here I lay on a memory foam mattress to make my pain more bearable and yet my ancestors had the following for a bed:
“Women and children might sleep on boxes in the wagon, but most beds were made of a blanket, a piece of canvas, and an India rubber cloth or buffalo robe on the ground. In inclement weather travelers slept underneath the wagon. In good weather, they might sleep under the stars, or in tents. Tents were luxuries, but they blew away in the wind and were often discarded.”
And I think about how hard it was back then and yet they were willing to go for their dream, willing to risk all and willing to endure the hardships. Son and I have been. We knew we could end up with nothing and renting a small apartment or house and yes, there were times when I wondered “omg what have we done” and then each morning, when we awoke anew…I knew what we had done. We had gone for our dream…and look where we are now. It is not easy now, money is tight because all has gone into this house..but we own this house…just like our ancestors owned the land they homestead. We may not have money to go do all the luxury things but we have the security of owning our home and that has made and continues to make this all worth it. And the friends who have helped us alone the way…have forever etched themselves on our hearts because of their love and generosity and are angels on earth.
June 24, 2011 Posted by danLrene ©2011 | Angels, Dreams for the future, friends, Home, moving, Rocky Mountains, Uncategorized | Angels, buying a home, Colorado, Dream for the future, following your dream, friends, Heirloom seeds, Mountain, moving, Owning a home, pioneers, Rocky Mountains, wagon trains, Walsenburg | Leave a Comment
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Those that know me know that this red sparkly headband is symbolic. When they see the headband on me, they know I am fighting hard physically. It is my symbolic Samson’s hair. It is getting my mojo on and geared up for robo mom to once more fight a battle. And the headband is on now and will be on for a long time. I live with my son who is my caretaker and I am so blessed.
Me with mojo on.
And when things are toughest, I will resort to my dreams to keep me going.
I am 63 and will soon be 64. Life has been a journey of health issues since I was 32 and got sprayed by a crop duster. I have warrior attitude. Being a warrior does not mean you always win. It means you never quit trying. Life is what you make it and I choose to make mine as happy as possible no matter where I am in life.
I spend a lot of time on this hospital bed due to constant pain but I am just thankful I have the hospital bed to lay on. I am disabled but I don’t let that stop me from living life and enjoying it. Life is what we make it and I choose to make mine happy.
Meet Daisy..that we call Miss Daisy. Thanks to Jill, a very special friend who is also has a Rescue for pets called Three Sisters and a Brother in NC, Daisy was transported to us and what a delight she is. About ten pounds and full of energy and love and kisses.
Son and Daisy
My world from my hospital bed-it is filled with warmth and love from so many.
I still dream of going back to Italy, of us having one of those mini buses with a lift for my chair that son can convert into a travel home for us to make it easier when I have to go to Denver for surgeries and stuff. I still dream of learning how to tap dance…yes even on these crutches just so I can say I did. All I need are a pair of size 11 tap shoes.
image from facebookemoticons123.blogspot.com
I draw, I paint, I write, I do photography…my latest love is the clouds for I see faces in the clouds all the time and have a blog at the top of the page entitled “Faces in the Clouds” I sit on a stool and help son cook…yes, often with him leaning over me to help me pour or stir but I get to do it. My philosophy is if you can’t do it one way…then create a new way. Son says I am the only person he knows that used their all terrain power chair like a back hoe…using a grain shovel and rake to move dirt or mulch in the garden. I would hold the handle between my legs and rake up the stuff on the two foot wide shovel and then go backwards dragging the shovel to where I wanted to dump it.
Ever since I was a little girl, I was told I was a dreamer. I can remember report cards with “day dreams” written on it. I think dreams are what keep us going. Without dreams…we have no hope.
Follow Your Dreams, The Siren Called Out To Me
As I closed my eyes and fell deep into lovely sleep.
The dream siren called me with a promise to keep
I closed my eyes and looked deep in my soul
I could feel the wind blowing…it was so very cold
My dreams I had carried through year after year
They will never come true was my biggest fear
Wandering up one lane and down another
Remembering my dream since I became a mother
Land, open land and a place to be free
A small house to live in with a big evergreen tree
We mounted the buckboard with all we owned inside
And started over the mountain on this crazy dream ride
We felt like pioneers racing to the finish line for land
And the whole time we knew -The Lord had our hand
So don’t be afraid to dream your dreams and try
Life is too short…open your wings up and fly
Dream I say and work the dream hard as you can
For it will be the best race that you ever ran.
© danLrene 2012
We all have dreams of what we want out of life. I remember Laverne on Laverne and Laverne saying her dream was to have a purple cashmere sweater. Well, our dream is to own land in the country and have a simple life style unencumbered by so much of what is in the world today.
I love to write and have written for years. And hopefully will continue to write for many more years. My real name is Deb.
This blog is about our journey to get there, our life after we reached the promised land and different middle of the night ramblings. Dreams are like cooking…we might get our grandparents old recipes, but we tend to alter them to suit ourselves. But, dream we must…for as long as we have hope in life…we have dreams. And even plain ole everyday people get dreams that come true.
I hope you enjoy and will subscribe and share my journey. Come join us at the foothills of the mountains where we have found a life of simplicity and serenity, in spite of all the health trials of one disabled woman and the courage of a son that chose to take care of her.
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