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Them pioneers worked hard

April 20, 2009 - Kevin Sweeney
There are times when I really appreciate the pioneers who moved out west into uncharted, undeveloped territory, carrying their belongings in covered wagons as they plodded across the prairie.

One time was several years ago when my kids were young and the whole family drove out West to see mountains. We were heading back across Nebraska, zipping along at 75 miles per hour on Interstate 80. For miles, there was little to see but rolling grasslands. We pulled over in a wayside rest area, and there was a historic marker, which told how the pioneers passed through Nebraska on their way west along the same route we were driving. The marker mentioned that the pioneers, their wagons pulled by oxen, averaged 6 to 8 miles per day on their route.

I figured out I was covering as much territory in 10 minutes as they did in a day. If I was bored by the scenery, it’s a wonder they didn’t go crazy.

This past weekend I was out in the back yard, digging out small volunteer trees that grew up in the fence line. Over the years I would prune them back, but they kept growing and getting thicker around the trunk. The only way to really eliminate them is to dig around them, chop out the roots and yank them out. After three hours tackling little tree stumps a couple of inches across, I was exhausted.

I thought about the pioneers who cleared acres of wood land, cutting down mature trees and digging out stumps two or three feet across to clear a field big enough to plant something. They didn’t even have chain saws.

It really made me appreciate how the pioneers must have struggled. And it made me glad I’m not one of them.


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