North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Families get a taste of pioneer life


Local kids got a taste of pioneer life as they helped milk cows and grind wheat at the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Association's annual Pioneer Days on Sept. 19.

Exhibits at this year's Pioneer Days included teaching kids how to use a hand pump, how to spin wool, how to saw logs for firewood and how to churn butter.

Part of the idea of the event is to show how things used to be harder to do, said Myrtle Rausch, president of the Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Association.

"To show the kids how things used to be done, like milking a cow by hand, churning butter by hand. You don't just go to the store and buy it, you actually had to make it. Even the shake shingles of the roof so they could put a roof on their house," she said.

Electronic devices have made things simpler than ever before and many young people won't know what life before those innovations was like, she said.

"We have a washing machine so we put the clothes in turn, the knob and let it go," she said.

"Way too many easy things in the world now. Still got to know how to do things the hard way," said volunteer Dave Walter.

Volunteer Marty Rausch, son of Myrtle Rausch, added that many of the skills learned during the Pioneer Days will be useful if the power goes out and someone needs to chop wood.

He also said that it's a different experience for many of today's kids. "It's hands-on for kids. Very few things these days are hands-on instead of video games," he said.

Kids also learned about the old toys that were used in the pioneer days and were given a chance to play on the old-fashioned scooter and other items.

"They're learning how they entertained themselves without batteries or electricity," said Myrtle Rausch.

Parent Michelle Rowley said that her kids have a chance to see "how things were" when they come to Pioneer Days.

"I think it's a great opportunity to show the kids what life was like before we had all these electronic gadgets," she said.

She also appreciated having a unique local event.

"It's small, it's close to home, and I don't have to go south to Seattle to do all these cool things," she said.

Myrtle Rausch said she enjoys the event for the historical value and helping the kids.

"It's fun just to watch the kids, especially milking the cow [model]. They love milking the cow," she said.


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