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Canning Day Quilt

A Little Earth Day Wisdom from our Grandmothers

My Grandmother Maxine Morgan

“Making it do” and being earth-friendly go together like jam and bread…

This Earth Day I am looking back and hoping to learn a “green” trick or two from my Grandmother, Maxine Morgan.  (That’s her above… and I think she is just lovely.  I really love her smile.)  Our grandmothers certainly knew how to Reuse, Reduce and Recycle.

In the 1930′s, on the ranch my Grandmother’s family would “reuse” their old Sears Roebuck Catalogs by turning them into toilet paper.  (I don’t think I’ll be trying that one!)  And instead of buying store bought food in packaging, they canned all the bounty of their gardens and fruit trees.  They carefully kept their used bottles year after year.

My grandmother “reduced” by mending all their clothing and darning all their socks.  They only had one pair of shoes each.  Every Saturday they would polish their shoes for Sunday.  My grandmother also loved a spotless clean house.  When the walls needed a fresh coat of white paint, she reduced by only painting the bottom half.  The top half didn’t get worn out and she didn’t have the money to paint the whole wall.

My Great-Grandmother Irene and her daughters would “recycle” by stitching their used feed sacks into dresses, aprons and quilts. And they never wasted food.  What wasn’t eaten by the family, went to the pigs or compost.

I grew up in a world where everything was disposable.  And no matter how much we wasted, everything was in limitless supply…  Of course, we now know, that just isn’t true.  And we can’t keep going on like before.  The time has come for us to be more like our Grandmothers.  It’s time for us to be more resourceful, careful, and creative with what we have.  Luckily for us, we are their granddaughters… and I for one, think that is a good thing.

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4 Responses to “A Little Earth Day Wisdom from our Grandmothers”

  • Your grandmother was beautiful. Isn’t it amazing what our grandmothers did back in the day. They came from a different era. Thanks for sharing.

  • Dianne Cahill:

    Oh for a simpler life. We had no sewerage or septic when we were growing up and I remember using the tissue paper that apples came wrapped in for toilet paper. Not soft tissues like we have today but crunchy slippery tissue – ouch. Our grandmothers might have been in different parts of the world, but they sound very similar in their make do ways.

  • [...] been thinking about Earth Day over the past few days, and in doing so, I went back to the post I wrote last year on Earth Day.  I was about my grandmother Maxine Morgan, really all our grandmothers, and how they practiced a [...]

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