Pluck & Cluck

“Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” —Voltaire

Homesteading isn’t just about growing food or raising chickens, it’s a way of life.  It’s a way to re- connect with yourselves and your neighbors.

As a little girl, I was very fond of the Little House on the Prairie series.  I really think that those books shaped  my life to some degree.  The stories remain etched in my memory to this day.    I remember the hardships, the laughter, the family’s successes and failure; but, most of all, I remember the music.  In my mind’s eye, I can see Pa Ingalls playing his fiddle in the evening for his family.  It really puts some of us to shame  that those who came before us who endured so much hardships and pain and had to work so hard to eek out a living still had time to learn music.  I wonder and think: Aren’t we more cultured today than back ‘in those days’ as we certainly do have more time, living in a now civilized society by comparison, in a sense, to devote to music; but, too often, we take the easy way and just plug ourselves into music made by others.  And that includes me!  Awhile back, sis and I decided that we weren’t going to be so musically impaired and have been practicing on the guitar of and on for many years now.

I found this interesting website which catalogs all the old music mentioned in the LHTP books with lyrics!    This is a real find for me and I thought I would share it with  those of you who may also be interested.

Our weekly socials or “Hoots” (short for Hootenanny) as we call them, have become a part of out homesteading life and is fostering a community (and our NEIGHBORS)  in a very special way.  They got me to wondering about music during the early days of our country’s history and I found this interesting excerpt from


The homesteading period of history usually brings to mind stories of blizzards, prairie fires, and other catastrophic events. Yet tragedy is but one dimension of human life. To dwell on that aspect is to distort reality. In spite of their heavy demands, many homesteaders found time to devote to music, art, literature, and even poetry. A sense of humor was important in shaping their outlook on life.

Sadly, our modern lifestyle does not encourage self-development in this same sense but seems to promote ‘”knowledge acquisition.”  We are only encouraged to “know” but not to “do. ”

Follow our musical forays on Facebook at Urban Homestead Music




  1. Mitzy says:

    Excellent points!

    • Mitzy says:

      Love the music and musicians!

  2. Tom says:

    Thanks Anais,

    That was very well written and I enjoyed the music as well.

    Thank you,


  3. G. says:

    Growing up, there were times when my parents would have a large extended family get together, a “party.” It would always be in the basement where the upright piano resided. It was not unusual for my maternal grandmother, a voice teacher, to take charge of the music. This could include her instructing a group around the piano singing the popular tunes of the time. She also might have been accompanied by a relative who played the banjo or clarinet. When she was tired, there were two relatives who also took turns. One played popular music, but the other played classical music (who, when young, played for the silent movies). For me, they were very good memories.

    Over time, records replaced the piano. It wasn’t the same. I learned to play an instrument as an adult.

    Musical instruments for the masses have allowed “Vitamin M,” also known as “music” to enrich our lives. In Jane Austin’s time it was part of the culture to get a husband. For the US, in the 1920’s, most homes had a piano. A gathering most certainly would have someone sitting down at the piano. It is to our hurt that we rely on “canned” music instead of the real thing.

    I wanted to continue that legacy for my children. They were all given instrument lessons and they still play as adults. Some play more than one. At family get gatherings, I started having sing alongs, with each person requesting their favorite hymn or seasonal song. They were, and are a big hit and everyone is more than willing to participate. It makes the start of the gathering even better with a good dose of vitamin M!

  4. G. says:

    Sadly, our modern lifestyle does not encourage self-development in this same sense but seems to promote ‘”knowledge acquisition.” We are only encouraged to “know” but not to “do. ”

    Well said. In our family, skills are just as important, if not more so, than “education” as now defined.

  5. Bethany says:

    Love the music and love the video! Looks like so much fun!

  6. Ani says:

    What great music, felt I was there. Loved it!

  7. Heather MacIvor says:

    I wish I had your lifestyle. Very im
    pressive how you maintain it all and keep it going.You have a better life than most .

  8. Amy says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. I also think learning for many of us – especially those of us who are starting this way of living as adults – will come in stages. I started a full-time homesteader’s life in 2008, without actually having ANY homesteading skills! A self-motivated learner, I took classes, found circles of like-minded people in my community, and have been gardening and finding my way with a vengeance ever since. But it took time to learn skills the original homesteaders would have known since they were young children. And as I learn and allow certain things to become second nature, I make way to learn more skills. Having mastered well enough the gardening and the kitchen work, I am now learning the ukelele. So far, I can play you quite a few nursery rhymes! Perhaps in a couple of years I can begin learning some fiber arts, but I must tell myself that it’s okay to not have all of these skills at once. I love your community music project and find it very inspiring!

  9. JimK says:

    Just found out about your project because my wife adopted a couple of khaki campbell ducks. Your Homestead came up in a search about them. We’ve been homesteading about a year with a small orchard, a couple of Nigie Dwarf goats and some chickens. Your website is a real inspiration and we’re hoping to jam with you at your next Hoot! Great video and we wish you all the best in your lives!

    Jim and Jewel

  10. Girl Money says:

    One place we find indie or long forgotten blues and folk tunes for our potluck neighborhood jams: on sidebar, go to Music, Themed Playlists, Music For… choose any list, this opens their massive searchable databases.

    And please give Lorin Hart a hug from another flame-fanning, money saving girl the next time she visits… truly enjoyed “Fan the Flame.”


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