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Gwen Tuinman

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pioneers

Winter Pastimes for Pioneers

Early settlers in Upper Canada, particularly those living in rural areas, sought ways to break the isolation and monotony of long winters and heavy snows. Dog sleds and snow shoes that we regard as entertainment today were common 1800s instruments of travel over frozen lakes and rivers. So what did pioneers do for fun?

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Women of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House”

Among my favourite girlhood books was the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Late 1800s pioneer life captivated me. Kathryn Adam, a scholar in midwestern women’s history and literature, regards Wilder’s female characters as historical resources that reveal “role expectations and feelings of western women”.

In her essay, Laura, Ma, Mary, Carrie, and Grace: Western Women as Portrayed by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Adam says that Wilder shows us “women engaged in the rigors of homesteading, women building community and culture on the frontier, women working to preserve the family in the face of bitter adversity (…) in a series of vividly realized frontier landscapes.”

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Harvesting Hay by Hand

A large part of writing life is spent researching information that, when woven into a story, creates a believable world that readers will enjoy spending time in. This process is immensely enjoyable to me. Currently, I’m writing about characters who are wintering a horse and a few goats in the early 1900s. The livestock will require hay. Since the people have no access to mowing equipment, I’m learning about how they would have harvested hay by hand. I really enjoyed these videos and I hope you will too.

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