Thursday, January 31, 2013

Just A Memory

After reading a link sent to me by my cousin tonight, about a family in the outskirts of Russia (Siberia), I started to let my mind wander to days gone by. My cousin said he almost envied them their challenging yet simple existence.

I think that anyone who wants to feel satisfied with their lives, needs to spend some time without the creature comforts. I know that for a good deal of my life, I have lived in what most Americans would call remote areas.

 Although I have lived in what in America are called remote and isolated areas (Elk River, Idaho and the Adirondacks of Upstate NY), at least by car I was not so isolated as those in Siberia. Elk River was 20 miles of dirt road in from the nearest small town of Boville, Idaho. It was 50 miles from medical and groceries. During the winter we went out for groceries once a month. I made my own bread with the kids every Sunday. Darrel hunted and our huge chest freezer was supplied with grouse, deer, elk, bear and fish that he had caught. The kids and I helped with the fishing.
Elk Reservoir was where we fished, which was a couple of miles from town. Everyone swam there, fished and frogged there and then we drank the water. There were tons of fruit trees and berries free for the picking and I made all my own jam, jellies and wine...not to mention apple pies and apple butter. I even tried my hand at tanning a deer hide and bear hide.
I really miss all the elderberry bushes because I made the best pancake syrup and wine from them! During blackberry season, we would go camping on the Lochsa River on the Idaho Montana border and pick tons of them. The bushes followed the river for a good 30 miles!

Oddly enough, I miss those days. I was young and every day was an adventure! I would take the boys hiking on the cemetery road and pick Thimble berries for jam or just hike it on a cold winter day with Sandor trudging along and Trevor in a back carrier. We lived there for 5 years. They were hard years but I really felt alive. Tiffany and Chris were conceived there.

We were always losing our power and had kerosene lamps, candles and our portable camp stove for backup. One winter, right before Christmas, we lost our power for a week. We all slept in our bedroom, which had a queen boxspring and matress on the floor, and were warm and toasty with piles of covers and sleeping bags. That winter the snow got all the way up to the second floor of the apartments we were in. We had a bottom apartment and I had to shovel out the kitchen window and boys bedroom window to have sunlight and a fire exit. We got so much snow in one night, I had to start the shoveling from inside with a dustpan. The first snow went into the sink until I could get a place to crawl out the window and stand. Darrel got a bear that winter and stood on the snow and hung the paws on the utility pole at the back of the apartments. Once the snow melted, it could not be reached and the birds picked it clean for years! It was a good 25 ft off the ground or more.
Ah yes, the good old days when we moved a doublewide onto our property and the boys would invite their friends up for snail races. How fun is that! I would send the kids out to find their snails. The woods just beyond the house was full of land snails. I would slick down our clay soil in the back yard with a little water and then it was, "on your mark, get set, go!" After the race, snails would be returned to their original spots and refresments would be served. To those with school aged kids, I became known as the Snail Lady!

Yes, I am satisfied with my life and it's challenges, the adventures and every twist and turn because that is how I've become "ME".