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Prairie and primitive looks Which works for you?

C'est Le Vie

Let’s start off with a wander down the Prairie Look trail, and in your mind’s eye, you can take your choice: either walk along that dusty trail on foot or try sitting up high on horseback or in a wagon. Imagine your family’s wagon, lumbering along in the ruts made by the hundreds of wagons and campers (prairie schooners) groaning under the weight of cargo, which, in the 1800s might have included wooden wedding chests filled with linens, clothing, and memorabilia from life before the trek across the plains and prairies.

An old journal entry, from an account of life on the prairie that I read, said that many schooners started out from east of the Mississippi, loaded with family heirlooms (many of which are considered antique treasures now) that were ditched along the trail to lighten the loads for safety and mobility. What can I say, if you would rather not pretend to be a prairie person, wearing the clothes, walking the walk or riding in a rig, let’s move on.

But first, before we get off the wagon train, here’s some local towns with that vintage prairie twang. Ruff, Wilson Creek and Winchester. My favorite is Ruff. What’s yours? And here are two quick prairie look sightings in the town of Coulee Dam: an elderly fellow crossing a street wearing fire engine red suspenders instead of a belt, blue denim jeans, high-water, carpenter style, heavy work boots and a long-sleeved plaid shirt. Missing was a wide brimmed felt, hat but that style of headgear has been replaced by baseball caps for the most part. He was wearing a spiffy cap, sporting a logo. This older gent got into a sedan, so I guess he left his buckboard at home. And on Columbia Avenue, I saw a nicely kept yard with two corner sections of possibly hand hewed fencing. Imagine fencing your property with rough cut logs before the days when barbed wire fencing was the norm. And, back in the days when prairie lands were frequently homesteaded, families resorted to using what resources were at hand, such as bricks made of sod for a cabin or even buffalo chips if nothing else was available.

So, the new fangled Prairie Look had humble beginnings; we just need to think simplicity and use our modern ingenuity to do some creative styling with ideas and items from around us.

When you hit the roads on your next yard sale outing, take a gander at the stuff nobody else wants to buy and in the cardboard box or pile of stuff marked free. Space is limited this time so it’s time for me to hit the trail. One last comment: this prairie look is kin to the primitive look, simple and practical.


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