Whenever we are working towards a roof for a building before the rainy season, which we have done 5 of the last 6 years, I think of the old-time homesteaders, who arrived with their whole families, and needed to get shelter established before our wet, wet, dank winters, and still had to feed themselves with their own labors, while also raising their kids. I think of this when I am struggling with our garden gophers, watching a crop failure of my storage beans, and broccoli, trying to get a house built, and to parent only one child. How did they do it? Were they miserable? Did they have tons of help?
Living here in the 1860's, the journey to town for supplies you couldn't produce took two days on horseback. People might only do it twice a year. Our less than two hour car trip is nothing compared to this. It's just kind of interesting how low the stakes are for someone like me to "try" to grow my own wheat. Granted, I've never done it, and we are learning, but it would be unacceptable in that era to make the mistakes I made. My family would go hungry.
Back to our roof...it's no wonder the old, old-timers started out with small, one-room cabins with available materials, and their whole families suffered through the crowding together because there was no other way. Having a large house would be unthinkable, without the luxury of temporary housing that we have available, everything from trailers to yurts. And don't even get me started on sheet materials. I count ourselves lucky, given what we have available a short distance away.