Around our homestead, I like to draw my inspiration from two of my favorite TV series – either “The Waltons” or “Little House on the Prairie”. We don’t typically get much time to watch a lot of TV around here, in fact we don’t keep our TV set out.
On occasion, we will drag it out and watch an older wholesome family movie or older TV series on DVD. I’m an old soul and mostly prefer a classic series over today’s programs – The Waltons and Little House are my favorites.
So many great life lessons on frugality, self-sufficiency and homesteading can be found while watching these series. I put together this list of some of the inspiration that I’ve drawn from them while running our homestead.
I hope that others are inspired by them as well because they are some good, old, decent family shows.
God comes first.
Faith and love are what help these families get through the tough times, the crosses, the battles, illnesses and hardships of life. No matter what they faced, God is always there to see them through. Sunday is a day of rest and family time.
A day to spend at church, followed by small recreations and relaxing the rest of the day. Only the necessary work is completed. Shops were closed on Sundays – this is still common in many small towns today.
Family comes next.
After turning to God, the Ingalls and Walton families had each other for comfort. They were each other’s confidants and best friends. The siblings had each other for play mates and examples.
They were taught morals, manners and decency.
The bonds of family know no bounds. Every day the family enjoyed dinner, together. And the family meal was important. There was appreciation by all for a good home cooked meal.
Followed by hard work.
If you’re familiar with these shows, how many of the episodes show either John Walton or Pa Ingalls working hard to provide for their families? Even the entire family chipped in – in one way or another.
Everyone contributed towards the family meal, cleaning, running the household and providing for the family in various ways. These were just daily duties; chores were also completed by each member of the family.
When everyone helped each other, they not only bonded, but they respected each other. They appreciated working hard towards a goal or saving for a purchase and valuing it so much more.
These parents taught their children to take pride in their hard work and instilled a great work ethic in their children.
Back in these eras, recreation was crafted with creativity. Play time outside and use of imagination is how the children spent their free time. There weren’t cell phones, iPads, laptops, video games or TV to distract these families.
In the evenings, they listened to young Jason Walton play the piano or Pa Ingalls play the violin. Creativity was necessary and is slowly becoming a thing of the past.
How many still enjoy reading a book and imagine the characters or story as it takes place? These were common practices back then and are becoming somewhat of a lost art nowadays.
How many have heard the saying, “Use what you have, make do, or do without”? These families lived this to the fullest. Gone were the days of instant gratification.
Instead they lived frugally, they appreciated working hard for something or going without when the money was scarce. Sometimes this meant forgoing shoes and going barefoot until school started. Treats, such as sweets and candy were a rare thing.
Gifts were small and when they were given, they were a necessary item, such as, hand sewn clothing or knit socks. Luxuries were far in between and small purchases were appreciated.
In the Christmas episode on “Little House”, Laura traded her beloved horse, Bunny for a wood stove as a gift for her mother. In one of the early seasons, the Walton children looked forward to going to the circus; they saved up their pennies to go.
This was until grandma broke her glasses and they sacrificed their money to help chip in for a new pair. These things were all done out of love and because they knew true priorities and self-sacrifice. Clothing was mended, before buying new.
Meals were home cooked; all parts of the animal were used in cooking, including using bones to make bone broth. If it wasn’t a true necessity, it wasn’t purchased.
Both the Ingalls and Walton families were no strangers to tough times. Pioneer life and the Great Depression made for a difficult way of life.
Starting out debt free or reducing it as soon as possible is something that was important for these families. Watching through many episodes, you’ll hear Pa Ingalls say, “cash on the barrel” or Olivia and John Walton express how much they dislike taking out loans.
Sometimes it was necessary for them to take a loan, but they worked extra hard to get it paid off as soon as possible.
Grow your own.
The first grocery store was open around the late 1850’s and then it only had limited items like teas, coffee and flour. By 1916, grocers started providing more items such as canned goods and dry grocery items and this evolved slowly over time.
The Pioneers had to hunt for meat and grow their own vegetables. They lived off of the land and if they were close enough to town, they could purchase basic items such as coffee, teas, spices, flour and sugar. During the Great Depression era, a lot of families survived by growing their own food.
We are no strangers to the fact that history repeats itself. We don’t know what the future holds, but another depression is bound to happen eventually.
Why not be prepared by learning these valuable skills and life lessons? Although, we want to be prepared as best as we can for whatever life brings our way, we are thankful for the life we are able to live.
My husband and I were just discussing how hard it would be to live the life of a pioneer or even during the Great Depression. We take our inspiration from these shows, but we also live with many modern conveniences and we are thankful for that!
We are modern day homesteaders.