Friday, November 21, 2014

Growing up in the 60s

When I was 13 my foster parents bought a cottage on 120 acres up North. Dad cleared about 5 acres around the cottage and left the rest in trees. We used it as a weekend retreat year round. 
   The deer would come right up to the house because my dad had left a few apple trees in the back yard. 
   I had heard of sightings of black bears and wolves, but I never saw any. The threat of them made some interesting trips to the outhouse in the dark though. I'd go out with a flashlight and imagine every set of eyes belonged to a bear or wolf.
   My teenage years were an interesting mix of the conveniences of city life during the week and a rustic lifestyle on weekends. Eventually we had electricity, a furnace, and running water in the cottage, but at least I can say that I know what life is like without them.
   I have many happy memories of my weekends up North. At the time, it seemed like a lot of work and inconvenience but now I realize that the family was working together toward common goals. 
   Together, we added vegetable and flower gardens, a furnace, kitchen cupboards and sink, a well, running water, a toilet in the basement, and electricity. The apples, blackberries, asparagus, and strawberries that already grew there added to what we produced. During the growing season, we really did live off the land with enough left over to can or freeze.
   My dad taught me how to shoot a rifle, (a skill I haven't used since) how to recognize poison ivy, and how to read animal tracks.          Unfortunately, he didn't teach me how to recognize poison ivy before I got a bad case of it and actually had to be hospitalized for it.
   My mom and I went to flea markets and rummage sales to furnish the place, so I learned frugality and how to decorate on a limited budget. Those lessons still come in handy.
   As you would suppose, my dad loved deer hunting. I still like venison sausage but I'm not a big fan of venison otherwise. 
   Before we got the cottage, we pitched a tent in the summer a few weekends. I liked the cottage much better and so did my mom.


  1. Great story. Our tales may be twenty years apart, but we seem to have a lot in common.

    1. Yes, we both learned how to work for what we had.

  2. Great memories, but I could do without a picture of our outhouse, and shoveling snow to get to it.