Although I have lived in Ontario my whole life. It was in our second year in the "north" close to where Catherine lived that I discovered this amazing woman. I was far removed from any Walmarts, Jiffy Lubes and Jack Astor's. It is the norm to know how to kill and gut your own deer in the north.
I just happened to find her book in the local library that was reprinted back in the 1960's. I had a difficult time trying to locate my own copy as it has been out of print for so long but find it I did!
As a child, I must have read the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder 100 times. I always dreamed of living in those simpler times. Catherine is like the Canadian version of Laura Ingalls Wilder but with instructions. Her book is a plethora of information on how to make things the old fashioned way.
In today's age of consumption we have lost, as women and as a nation, how to make things from scratch. This intrigues and fascinates me. I always get the question "is there anything you can't do?". Well Catherine Parr Traill is about to prove that I can't do a lot of things. This challenge is going to be more difficult than I am anticipating. For instance, how do I even find a hand mill to grind my own flour? I might have to hit up some antique stores.
Catherine also had no access to books. At this time in Ontario history, there were no public libraries, not even in Toronto or Kingston in 1839. There was only one privately owned book store in Toronto. I would have withered away and died without books! No wonder Catherine wrote and painted as she came from a privileged life back in England. I am so glad she did because now I can write and photograph her life all over again 160 years into her future.
She relied on what she had around her in the wilderness. Perhaps we feel we don't come close to what Catherine had to go through. Although we may not be isolated from people, many of us tend to be removed from close relationships within our communities. The majority of Canadians have lost their connection to the land and we take our food and where it comes from for granted.
I do believe that we can learn many lessons from her and our forefathers. There are many blog posts of mine that remind me of her journey. I have fun trying to duplicate the household chores that were common place for Catherine. I have a feeling that epic fails are in store for me continually!