This time of year everyone makes their New Year’s Resolutions; such as, lose weight, workout more, work less and save money. The list is endless and most of the time, ends in failure by the end of January. I NEVER make New Year’s Resolutions. I make New Day Resolutions. Every day, I wake up, I strive to be a better me than I was the day before. I try to forgive the mistakes of the previous day and to be better the current day. By no means am I perfect, even though I am a born perfectionist; but I am always working on improving my mind, body and spirit.
I took a break from posting on “The Buzz” over the holidays, because everyone is usually too busy and not wanting to spend time reading a blog. I do hope in 2022, you will find “The Buzz” and www.remraf.com a place that you look forward to visiting and even sharing with others. Even while taking a break from posting, I know that time is a valuable commodity and I do not like to waste it.
I took the opportunity to do a LOT of research. I was digging into the family roots; so I could share lost stories and find ways to relate them to today. This is an important part of what REMRAF does. When we work with any person or business, we like to find out their history and the history of the business. It gives it life and meaning, to help bring awareness of what they are trying to promote. It all comes back to “We are all farmers with seeds that we want to plant and see grow.”
Part of our research involves footwork. Shane and I have often pay our respects at old cemeteries, especially the historic military cemeteries. Often these resting places are forgotten, uncared for or worse, they are destroyed by vandalism. One of our goals is to find a way to get them repaired. As we walk through the rows of of wood and stone, I always wonder about the stories. I see the graves, both marked and unmarked, and wonder about their families or their own final thoughts as they took their last breath.
Now you may think that you are not interested, because it isn’t your family. What if it is? What if your family was connected to ours? Or theirs? Some find it uncomfortable or gruesome to walk through a cemetery. Even though what is buried is just bones and not a spirit; they still need to be honored and respected. One thing that I have observed is that many of the names that I see in my research are the same as I see and hear daily. It is as if our families and friends continue to find each other every generation. And, if this does not spark your interest, what if I told you that the roots that I have been digging are historic? They are of people that stood up and made a difference.
I have always liked biographies; real stories about real people. I know that what is written is from the writer’s perspective, but most try for a sense of accuracy. Perhaps, as I share stories from our family tree, it will spark your interest to dig into your own roots. One of the services that we will be adding in 2022, is historical research. It is so very important to hold on to the history. Both good and bad events are learning experiences. If we bury the bad events, we risk repeating them. As we know, some of those bad events resulted in massacres of innocent people. Many of the pages that I have read are roadmaps directly to today; the ending depends on us.
Digging through the books, papers, digital files, photographs, stories and news articles is very intriguing. I love puzzles and Shane’s side alone has close to 1000 pieces, so far! Currently, I am concentrating on what is now U.S. soil, because it is slightly easier to follow a paper trail. Sure, I may have some data that is not correct; perhaps an additional person that does not belong, but they will remain a guest until I know for sure. Even they have family and stories that need to be heard. They may even still be family, just in the wrong home. I want this tree to be as accurate as possible, not an educated guess based on DNA. By researching the roots, I hope to honor those that came before us. I want it to be a record of the past and provide a gift of knowledge to the future generations. It may take time and funding that we are currently trying to locate, but it is important to pursue.
The thing that I find most intriguing is how individuals, families and communities have changed through time. There is one line in particular that I am working on that goes back to the 1600’s and The Great Migration of the Pilgrims and Quakers. I will be exploring and sharing my observations and opinions about these differences more in-depth later. For those interested in reading and learning more, I will let you know how and where. It truly is an adventure that is worth sharing. Shane and I may not have traveled this year, but I feel that I have been all over America. His family fought in every war on this land. His roots run deep with soldiers, patriots, politicians and preachers; doctors, lawyers, explorers, artists and artisans. And yes, MANY farmers; not just Farmers.
Long ago, families were large and relationships were often based on arrangements and necessity. They were formal and disconnected. In some ways, I think the family bond has started to come full circle; through to societal and economic distancing. I remember the time when the kitchen table was not only a place to eat together, it was the center of activity. We shared about each other’s day. We would plan the days ahead and simply listened.
The kitchen seems to be growing less important. Not only has it lost its status of the “gathering place” for family and friends; it is no longer the place that we eat. We now tend to eat on the run, in our cars or at a restaurant. Often eating includes a cell phone in one hand. When did the cell phone become a utensil? When did taking with one another go out of style? When did typing replace conversation?
Eating out has not only had an effect on our bonding as a family, it has caused a significant increase in health issues. Most of the food that people eat today makes its way though factories, before we consume it. They even have factory farms today. Some of the ingredients have addictive qualities that make people tend to overindulge. Serving sizes at restaurants are plenty enough for 2 people, and gobbled up by one; then appetizers, drinks and desserts are added. Enough calories for a week are consumed in a matter of a couple of hours.
Our ancestors more often suffered from malnutrition.They were hunter-gatherers and sometimes they went days without eating for days. What they ate may not have done more than settle the ache from the emptiness in their stomachs. An example of this is Hard Tack made of flour and water having no nutritional value and caused issues in the gut; but it was the staying power of those in battle and migrating. If they found hunting grounds, they did not waste anything in a hunt. They used every part of an animal for food, clothing, shelter and tools. They utilized the complete plant including the oils, seeds, roots and the leaves to eat, drink, consume as medicinal and dyes. Even with all of this, religion and location often directed their harvests. Today, we have become a disposable society and our dumps are killing us.
As our ancestors learned about the medicinal offerings of the land, they began treating their ailments and helping others do the same. What we now call “alternative” medicine, has been called “snake oil” by the traveling gypsies. People were even accused of “witchcraft” and burned at the stake, accused of hocus-pouch. Looking back at some of the recipes they truly had healing properties and were punished.
Due to some discoveries in regards to our own health and wellness, I will be sharing some things that Shane and I have been doing that have made some positive differences. We have gone back to basics in our foods, as well as, our personal and household products. Shane and I eat from the land, food provided by local farmers and what is in season. We cook at home. We clean with our own homemade mixes. Even our insect repellent for home and body is safe for people and pets. These changes make a huge impact on our health and our shopping expenses.
As the families from the Great Migration settled on to their homesteads, they learned about farming from the natives. The idea of diet and nutrition was far from it was today; so mistakes were made. Starvation and disease occurred from not having the right nutritional combinations and the lack of cleanliness. Planting at the incorrect times, without natural fertilizer, such as fish; or lack of rain are among the reasons for crop failures and starvation.
While digging into the earliest of records of our ancestors, I was shocked over the lack of hygiene. Native American accounts of the Pilgrims were not rosy. They had to convince the Pilgrims to start washing themselves. Today, most people bathe/shower once a day and wash their hands frequently. Bedding and clothing is washed weekly. Homes are cleaned as they get dirty. Sanitation and refuse has a place separate from our food supplies. Ancestors, including royalty, took baths 1-3 times a year. Bathing occurred in ponds and lakes, horse troughs or a tubs where the water was used by more than one person.
The 1600s-1800s are usually romanticized on the screen (television and movie theaters). I used to dream of being on a wagon train going west, because it always looked so exciting. I loved reading books by Laura Ingalls Wilder when I was young; and then watching “Little House on the Prairie” to see her stories brought to life. As I got older, I read “The Wagons West” series by Noel Bertram Gerson, under the pseudonym of Dana Fuller Ross. Although romance novels, they gave a somewhat accurate way of sharing life of those searching for a better life. Then reality hits and I remember that there is no clean water for drinking or bathing; and no private restrooms, only the wild or an outhouse. We are so lucky these days. Yet, we never can have enough. We often take things for granted.
Currency allows us to get whatever we need or want. It has also gone from barter and beads to plastic and digital. And there is an endless amount of goods and services flashed in our faces screaming for us to purchase whether we need it or can afford it or not! We live in time where instant gratification and quantity is more important than anything else. The artisans and farmers have become less important and non-existent to some. Others, such as ourselves, believe less is more. Less is healthier, has more quality and lasts longer. It also helps our local economies.
We have so much to learn from our past. It was not always picture perfect, but we worked hard to get want we needed. We may not have always been close, but there was a time that we found a sense of family that is lacking today. Let’s bring that time of respect, family and kindness back. Let’s bring patriotism and honor back.
If I were to make a New Year’s Resolution in 2022, it would be to find a way to bring people together, have peace, love and joy in our lives. It would to keep things REAL!