Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ma Ingalls: Special Projects

We all have days that require us to put our normal lives on hold so that we can tackle a special project.  Ma Ingalls was no different. In fact, she was exceptional because she had to be super prepared for these special days, which sometimes popped up without warning, so that she could meet the daily needs of her family while stopping everything so that she could take care of the immediate situation at hand.

Hats- When the harvest came in and the heads were cut off the stalks, Charles would bring home about three bundles of stalks and Caroline would drop everything she was doing because she had a special project to work on. She would separate the stalks by width size and then soak them untill they were pliable. She then braided the straw together until it made a long rope which she would then shape and stitched into hats for her family. This project had to be completed within a few days' time so everything else had to be put on hold.

Sugaring- Sugaring was the process of taking the sap from the maple trees and turning it into syrup. It was a process that had to be taken care of immediately. All of the family living in the surrounding area would go to one of the homes where the work would be done. The women would work on preparing and making food for everyone for their meals and also for the big party that would come at the end of the day. 

Town- For us, jumping in the car and going "into town" to pick up a couple of things is not something we even think about. In fact, have you ever thought about how many times we run into town per week? When the Ingalls family went into town, it was a once a year deal and many preparations were made. Food was packed, their best clothes were worn, the girls' hair was curled, and a list was made of all of the supplies the family would need to purchase at the general store to last for at least half the year. The family left their house before the sun came up and tried to make it home before the sun went down.

A few things in their day stayed the same- the family had to eat and there were no freezer meals to pop into the slow cooker or TV dinners to throw in the microwave. The farm animals had to be cared for. Farmers never have a day off.  However, all other jobs came to a halt. 

What can I learn from this? There are times when a special project comes my way- complete house purge, garage sale, freezer cooking day- and I have to be able to say, "I can't treat this like a normal day." My constants are my devotions, feeding my family, reading to the kids at naptime, and bedtime devotions with the kids. I have to be okay if a load of laundry doesn't get done on a special day. 

Another thing that stands out to me about the Ingalls' special days was that they were few and far between. Special days were seasonal and could be planned ahead to some degree.

Special days were special because of their infrequency. I need to think about the frequency of the special days planned in our home because it is when there are too many special days that we begin to feel stress. And stress is a feeling that I don't think Caroline Ingalls ever felt.

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