whatever is on my mind….

Life in the 21st century….


I am an HGTV and Pinterest addict.  I love DIY projects for the house and garden.  Taking old, worn out, rusted stuff and making something useable or just nice to look at.  So I find lots of ideas and inspiration in these two venues.

However, the more I see the more I am convinced that the younger generation will be devastated if they ever do have to eat it up, wear it out, or make it do.  They all want to be ‘GREEN’ you know, yet they don’t want to give up any convenience or high-end amenity to make them look wealthier than they are.  HGTV’s show Property Virgins usually has a young couple (many of them are not married) looking for their first house to purchase.  They all want granite countertops, stainless steel, top of the line appliances, open floor plans, with at least 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a large fenced in yard and a garage.  Nothing wrong with aspiring to own a home but as I watch how ‘picky’ they are I wonder what they would do if they had to start the way my husband and I started.

Owning a home is at the top of the list of the ‘American Dream’ and I am sure we all want our Dream Home.  Today in this economy and the current political climate not just in America but world-wide, this dream is not only fading but soon may become unattainable for the majority of people.  The younger generations of Americans have grown up with a mentality of entitlement.  They look at what their parents have worked a life-time to build and want it all as soon as they get married or finish their education.  They want to walk out of Mom and Dad’s house into one of their own and have all the bell’s a whistles immediately.  I have to wonder if they could survive a great depression as bad or maybe worse than what my grandparents and parents survived.  They are high-minded, hight tech and high maintenance people.  Smart phones, high-speed internet, 60″ flat screen TVs are necessities.

As I watch some of these young folks on their house hunt, it takes me back to a time when we rented a farm.  The farm-house hadn’t been lived in for years and was older than dirt.  It had been taken over by mice, rats, bugs of ALL sorts and a family of raccoons had taken up residence in the attic.  It had a livingroom, two bedrooms, one crude bathroom, kitchen and a mud/utility/storage room.  Old linoleum floors, no insulation, the doors and windows leaked whatever was blowing outside.  There was a beige room, a pepto bismol pick room, baby blue room, navy room and the kitchen was army green.  We walked in and immediately I saw the possibilities, back then we thought we could do anything.  Since we were renting the land to farm, the house was a perk (no monthly rent).  There was no phone line, the road to the house was really a deep sand turning row crossing a neighbor’s farm, there was a television antennae that was about three stories tall and slightly bent, the reception was so bad that we only watched the local news and weather reports.  I gathered my cleaning supplies, vacuüm cleaner and imagination and went to work getting rid of the varmints and their mess.  We painted, caulked, scrubbed, waxed, de-bugged and put out poison under the house and in the attic.  Within a week the windows were shining, the pictures were hung, and the smell of good food cooking in the kitchen filled the house, we and our two little girls were at home, which we affectionately named ‘Coon Hollar’.  I look back now and smile, wishing I still had that much energy!  There is a lot more to this story but it would probably bore the socks off of everyone, so I’ll just save it for another time….

I know, I’m rambling again.  This is supposed to be about life today but I just needed to look back in time for a bit.  My whole point is that we as Americans are just plain spoiled.  Now that my husband and I have reached our ‘golden years’ it is apparent that they will not be golden.

Survival in this century will be a lot more challenging for younger generations in many ways due mainly to government over-reach into everyday life.  You can no longer buy a car that you can keep running yourself.  Gone are the days when you could put on a new set of points and plugs, replace a carburetor or alternator and keep the old jalopy running.  Things that were once necessities like canning equipment, meat grinders, windmills to pump water without electricity,  smoke houses, root cellars, a milk cow and some chickens and a hog or two are novelties, expensive and not readily available or accepted unless you live in a rural area.  People have to take classes on how to grow a garden.  They think ‘organic’ is something new.

The ability to provide life’s basic necessities (food and shelter) has been systematically taken away from individuals to choose.  There are limitations on everything via safety regulations, etc., which on the surface may have served a purpose but I fear unintended consequences are beginning to play out.  Without the knowledge or ability to self sustain people are left to turn to government to provide what they neither have the knowledge for or are prevented from doing because it has been outlawed by government regulation.  Inventiveness and ingenuity have been discouraged and replaced by an ever-present nanny state.

Maybe I am just an old codger looking back through rose-colored glasses to a time that today’s youth think is pure fantasy.  It is a fantasy today and it makes me sad.  When the individual no longer has the ability or freedom to determine their own destiny, need can no longer be the mother of invention and mankind will stagnate in their own cesspool of government provided equal misery for all.

The freedom of the individual is how America became the land of opportunity and prosperity, providing people with the ability to invent, imagine and improve life for all.  Today we are faced with generations who believe they need protection from too much freedom.  That is a sad commentary of a population who have only the freedom of the individual to thank for all the amazing things they now feel entitled to.  They prefer limited freedom via government for even themselves in order to feel secure from their neighbors, employers, parents, etc.

I often wonder if the pioneering spirit of America is a thing of the past…..I may be crazy but I would love to go back to ‘Coon Hollar’ and to a time that my only limitation was my own ability and imagination!




  1. It ain’t just you. A friend asked at her blog if we considered ourselves rich. I told her I did not just from the POV of my family and friends, but also because I HAD PLUMBING IN MY HOUSE!! She laughed, but I was serious. Growing up in PR we had no running water, slop was carried out on bamboo “pipes” cut in half length-wise, the outhouse was downriver, and yes, we had a concrete area to scrub our clothes clean.

    No A/C, windows that didn’t close, dirt road to the house that love built. Looking back, my mom was happy to work on her house the way SHE wanted to. The day we got plumbing she cried, and has never stopped thanking the Good Lord for her fortune.

    I have a nice house, and nice car, and A/C and plumbing. I could care less about my appliances as long as they work. Heck, they don’t all match! My parents worked hard to bring us here to the US, but they also made dang sure we all remember what they paid in blood, sweat and tears to do so. My kids hear the stories, and they wonder how we came sofar, and some others don’t.

  2. I agree very much with you but you have so much here that I need some time to think about all of it and my response. I’ve often noted the desire when starting out, to have what your parents have at the end of their lives, or at least when well-established already. But no, I’m not going to get started. I have some work to do, so I’ll come back a bit later, sit down and write my answering tome. 🙂

    • God Bless your parents and you as well for teaching those good lessons. I too am rich by the standards of the times my grandparents and parents grew up and lived through but I never heard any of them say they were poor. I live in a hundred+ year old house that we have added on to and modified but it still has massive termite damage and there is a lot more that we would ‘like’ to do but then again we are comfortable, warm, out of the elements and quiet happy as we are. If I were on assistance and HUD came to do an inspection on this house it would not only fail, they would probably have it condemned! LOL! Can’t believe I won the giveaway! Tell ‘little one’, farmerswife says hello!

  3. With the prevalence of high-tech, so many things are either not things ordinary people can fix or things that have to be thrown away when they break (either because they cost more to fix than to replace or because they’re become obsolete already) or both. That means that if the grid goes down at some point, for whatever reason, a large portion of what we use daily is inoperable. Before our phone/internet/cable was all from one company, our old rotary phone still worked if the electricity went out. Now, nothing works. In the house we’ll be trying to sell so we can be back together, we have a wood-burning stove inserted into our fireplace and a large supply of scrounged wood, so at least if the furnace doesn’t work, we could have some heat and even heat water. We have a gas stove, which means we can still cook without electricity, but many people can’t.

    My m-i-l always canned as did many people from that era. I tend to freeze things more than can, but I have a lot of canning jars and accoutrements, and would like to get into canning a bit more. At least that way, there’s always something to eat, at least for at time. It just seems to me that the further we get away from the basic ways of doing things–or the basic ways become high-tech/high-maintenance, the more difficult if will be if there’s every a nation/world-wide problem. So few people know how to do things with their hands anymore and as with the car, many times they can’t know.

    I chuckled when I read about your house. When I was living and working in Steamboat Springs in the 70’s, a friend and I rented a place that not only wasn’t that lovely, it had a coal stove. What an operation that was and dirty, too!

    When so many people have come to depend on the government to give them things and then in many cases, not even require them to work for those things, initiative is removed. Dependance is often the result. The longer one’s dependent, the easier it becomes to stay that way. The first generation to experience welfare didn’t like it, didn’t want to stay on it. Subsequent generations have all too often expected it. Good grief! In NYC now (Nanny Yoke Central, I like to call it), you can’t even chose the size of your pop/soda anymore. The government has done that for you. However, you can buy two smaller one, generating more taxes for said government.

    OK, I’m done for now. It does worry me in so many ways and encourage me to take more steps towards independence myself, such as doing more canning, etc. As for what young people expect at the beginning of theirs lives instead of after work or in the middle/end, you said it well. One of the reasons I so enjoy going to Wyoming each summer is that chance to be a bit closer to nature and a bit more self-reliant, although we’re not really roughing it out there.

    • It is very frustrating to say the least. When I was little I helped my grandmother by cranking the hand churn to make butter, yum it was so good. So many things we have never done but thankfully we live in a rural area on our farm. I think it might be easier out here than in the city. Of course government wants to heard everyone into large urban cities. Don’t know what they think people will eat and wear when there are no more farmers. The average age of a farmer in this area is almost 70. Not many young people can afford to even get started farming. Out SIL is 38 and he is one of the youngest. Farming is a way of life that not too many people understand anymore. Now I’m rambling again…

      Whatever happens we still have our faith that God is in charge and His will, will be done.

  4. You said a mouthful. I’ve watched it before (along with some of the others) and like you I always notice how picky they are. Wondering what they are comparing it to? I cold go on about the subject. Sometimes they are looking for a fixer uper untill you find out their idea of fixing up.(paint) But then I see there still are many people who go to garage sales. But I’m sure not those people.

    • Yeah, it always amazes me when they say something like a kitchen needed gutted and I would think I was in high cotton…oh well, to each his own I suppose.

  5. FOH,
    Very good article and something I’ve been pondering also.
    It is questionable if we will have the American dream left since the obama took over and now we are a dictatorship with someone who decides winners and losers. I hope he is not elected because the “dream” will be gone. Then those who want things will get whatever crumbs the government has to offer. And that won’t be much.

    • At this point I am not too optimistic about the American Dream and it really ticks me off to think my grandchildren might not get the opportunity…

  6. You make an important point. My husband and I are products of the automatic, throw-it-out-don’t-fix-it, and buy it all premade culture, and we bemoan that fact. We talk often of wanting our own garden, and learning how to do simple things like canning veg/fruit and butchering our own meat. In our post-military life, perhaps we can finally settle down and learn how to do things for ourselves. If we’re not too tired, lol. And if folks like you will teach us.

    Excellent post. cheers

    • It seems like everything we buy has a pre-determined expiration date. We have an old 1956 pickup with original motor that still runs. Can you imagine any of today’s cars and trucks still being on the road fifty-six years from now. I can’t and that is why we must begin to learn the old lesson of “Eat it up, wear it out and make it do”. Growing up I had two pair of shoes at any given time, one for play and one for Sunday. In the summer I went barefoot, the soles of my feet were like leather, no stickers could penetrate, LOL! We had fresh milk, eggs, vegetables and meat. The pantry was filled with canned stuff that would last all winter. Unfortunately I didn’t pay enough attention to the ‘How To” and am re-learning much of it today. I will have a birthday this month, 63rd, too bad that I am such a good example of how progress has made Americans lazy, impatient, unappreciative, negligent and self centered. Hopefully I can do better now that I have gray hair and wrinkles and make better use of the time I have left on this planet.

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