Friday, January 04, 2008

See You in a Hundred Years: Four Seasons in Forgotten America

My reading list selection for January was Logan Ward's book, See You in a Hundred Years.

In this book, Ward tells how he, his wife, Heather, and his two-year-old son, Luther, moved from Manhattan to Swoope, Virginia in 2000 to live for one year as though it were 1900. They were inspired by several things: a feeling that they were missing something of value in their busy modern lives; a desire to grow closer together; an article about a PBS show in which an English family lived a 1900 life in a 1900-era house; books by Wendell Berry. Their rules were simple: if it didn't exist or had not been invented by 1900, they wouldn't use it.

So they bought their small farm and farmhouse and cooked and heated the house with a woodstove. They built an outhouse, and bathed in the livestock tank. They planted and grew their own food, had chickens for eggs, and two goats for milk. They ate food fresh from the garden through the summer, then canned and dried and cellared the produce of their garden for the winter and following spring. It sounds idyllic, until Mr. Ward details the everyday workload for them (and tells about the snakes and the mice). Basically they worked from before dawn until dusk through the spring, summer, and fall, then had lots of down-time in the winter.

They managed to have guests (and their guests enjoyed helping them work) and discovered a sense of community and learned to accept and offer hospitality. They grew closer together as a family, too. At the end of their year in 1900, they were pleased with the results - what they had learned, how they had lived.

This was a funny, honest, very enjoyable book!

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Blogger Sherry said...

So did they choose to keep on living the same way after the year was over? I don't think I could do even a year of 1900-style living.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Sounds like a good one. I'll see if the library has it.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Sounds great!

12:04 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

No, Sherry, after the year was up they returned to the 21st century - had the power restored to the house, got indoor plumbing, chased the mice out of their car and repaired the damage done to it by mice and woodchucks, etc.

I couldn't do it either. It was serious agrarian living, and I am very content to be living where and when God placed me!

11:04 AM  
Blogger Framed said...

I enjoyed your review. I'll have to read about this lifestyle because I will surely never live it.

7:59 PM  
Blogger Wool Winder said...

I won't even go camping unless it's in a fully equipped travel trailer. Don't think I would have lasted a whole year.

7:44 AM  

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