Living a Frontier Life

Yawn. The cans for all our recessed lights are all officially installed in the hangar loft. We wrapped up that project pretty fast the other morning, despite feeling completely wiped out.

The rest of the week has been slow, stead, and awesome. Thank goodness for the weekend; we’re exhausted!

These days, we’re pretty much head-to-pillow. Boom. Asleep.

But not always. I’m reading (and loving) two books right now:

The first is “Evelyn Cameron: Montana’s Frontier Photographer“. I am completely obsessed with Evelyn Cameron’s photography, so when Martin gave me this book for Valentine’s Day, I was pretty much beside myself.

Evelyn was an intense journaler, documenting stories and details down to how long it took her to produce a pound of butter. You know I love a good journaler!

Evelyn Cameron’s story and all of her works have only recently been discovered in a basement. All of a sudden, America has a beautiful photographic and journal record of this rare place and time in the badlands of Eastern Montana.

It also means my family has records we never knew before. Some of Evelyn Cameron’s photography includes my family!

Put my dad and me together for five minutes, and we’re bound to start yacking about Evelyn and our family story with elevated voices, arm gestures, and a great dash of hyperactivity. Martin expects it. So does my mom. And for some crazy reason, they patiently listen to us over and over.

This shot shows my great grandma and her students in 1907:

The second book I’m reading is one that’s got me kind of excited about applying more frontier living into our days (albeit it’s the more romantic, easily doable stuff compared to what true frontier women were doing. And I probably can’t get a pet wolf like one girl Evelyn photographed!).

Plus those of you who aren’t interested in the wild west photography will get even more excited about this one. It’s  “The New American Homestead” by John H. Tullock. Wiley books gave it to me to review.

It’s the most comprehensive, organized book I’ve ever seen on how to live like a frontier gal without being in the frontier. (It offers plenty of tips for how to live sustainably in the city, too.)

I like to live simply; I live in rural America. I should probably know some of this stuff.

So I’m reading…

A guy down the road has goats. Another person has bees. One neighbor gave us hundreds of tomatoes last summer. But I don’t know anything about this stuff. How can I go around saying “howdy” while being entirely clueless about how to can jam? (We won’t even begin to discuss how black my green thumb is.)

I think this book is going to help me talk the talk. Then I’ll start the whole walking/applying. I can’t believe the scope of topics covered. (I’m pretty concerned about the noxious weeds that are taking over the landscape, so I started with the section on native plants first.)

Plus I checked: the book’s printed in the United States.

So there you have it! A dash of my pioneer and sustainability obsession. Do you have any secret DIY desires? Want to make  yogurt with me when the hangar remodel is done? Raise your own chickens? Spend hours talking about Evelyn Cameron and the frontier life?! I could pull out the documentary…