History Lesson with Poppa Pockets


Perspective is served up in many ways in life and usually comes right when you need it.  It's easy to get sucked down the vortex of adulting- the I need a pat on the back, the being so busy having to bring your kids or yourself somewhere, so many sports, so many events, so many meetings and still someone has to make those damn school lunches.
But then someone tells you some stories and all of a sudden your crazy doesn't seem so crazy anymore.
And that someone is your 90 year old Grandpa, spending some time with you and kids out on his homestead- the home and the land he grew up on.

Yesterday we took a day off of school and did a field trip to my mom's ancestral land just north of Blaine Lake.  We saw the home that my Great Great Grandparents built in the late 1800s and we learned of life in the olden days.

The first home on the homestead- circa late 1800s. 6 people lived in this home.
 The added bonus was the tour guide, my Grandpa or Poppa Pockets as we refer to him (because when we were younger, he always wore these button up shirts with buttons on the pockets which were fun to pop open).  My mom had done some prep too and came with pictures and print outs about our family's place in Saskatchewan history.

The best part of the day was the learning curve for the kids.  Earlier this week I presented them with the opportunity for the unique learning experience and they jumped right in.  I prepped them some research to do before hand so that they could have a framework and some direction for their learning.  Okay, I kinda miss being a teacher some days.   Willis was focusing more on learning about the Depression/Dust Bowl and how it affected Saskatchewan Farmers as well as about the Riel Rebellion.  Lucia was learning more about life of a child in the early 1900s and the roles of animals.

Grandpa's childhood home- 12 kids were raised in here and it had a grand veranda around it and a kitchen on the back (collapsed).  In the winters they would host dance parties for the neighbours.
Grandpa spoke about taking a horse and caboose to school and picking up people along the way.  He told tales of the chores he'd have to accomplish when he got home. He explained how much money he could earn hunting jackrabbits, skunks and muskrats.  Using the pictures mom had brought, he talked about the wolf hounds that the had and what their roles were for hunting and how winters would be so bad some years that they wouldn't get out for months.

We tailgated with a picnic and enjoyed the fresh air while the kids peppered Grandpa with questions and soaked in all the knowledge.  They even eagerly came home to finish their assignments and write down all their learnings. 

 We added a stop to the Dagenais homestead, not far from my Grandpa's home- where my Grandma grew up and few cemetery stops to put flowers on my Grandma's grave and to find the graves of the original homesteaders, my Great Great Grandparents.   We read about William Diehl being one of the scouts that found Louis Riel and reported him to be captured during the rebellion.

If you followed along on my instastories yesterday then you saw that I also was taking pieces of the homestead home so that I can incorporate it into our new home somehow.  Can't wait to figure that out!

I think for me the biggest lesson served was the perspective.  Sure it was simpler times but it was far from uncomplicated but so much value was placed on the relationships and people around you.  Grandpa spoke about how you needed your neighbours and you'd help each other out, especially in the long winters.   I think we forget that sometimes and get stuck in our little bubble of life.
There is so much good that happens when you shut off all the noise and just listen to what's around you.

The original homestead

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