Recyle repurpose reuse survival skills of our ancestors, Stories from my mom a depression era child, Cloth sacks sawdust feathers manure animal fat, Nothing wasted
Granny says: “Waste not want not.”
I have many stories that I remember from my childhood passed down to me from my mother who was born in 1925 as well as my dad who was born in 1923 of the old ways and life in rural NC during the Great Depression.
My mom is still living and lucid so yesterday I confirmed my memories and guesses.
In rural America at that time nothing was wasted.
They were recycling, repurposing and reusing for survival not fashion.
Here are some of their survival activities.
- Cloth sacks, flour feed, were made into clothing. I had to remind myself that the clever sack manufacturers produced sacks with attractive prints.
- Sawdust. My grandfather built a “refrigerator” composed of a metal box insulated with sawdust. This was located in the cellar.
- Feathers were used to stuff pillows and matresses.
- Aside from nothing about a butchered anaimal being wasted, not even the “squeal”, one prominent use of animal parts was lard, which was used for cooking and baking.
- Of course manure was used for fertilizer. Organic farming.
Our earlier ancestors used beeswax for candles and wood ashes to make lye soap (granny on the Beverly Hillbillies did too).
I use wood ashes (akaline) to counteract acidity in some of my composting.
Here is an article about making soap from ashes.